On Saturday, October 2, Tehran’s Security Police of NAJA arrested eight street booksellers for allegedly selling illegal books.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IBNA, the police confiscated some of the books.
One of the members of the Workgroup for Protecting the Rights of Publishers and Booksellers called these detained booksellers “distributors of illegal and smuggled books”.
The member claimed that part of these confiscated books is the works of the supporters of the restoration of the monarchy in Iran as well as illegal books and unpermitted hard copies of bestselling books.
On Monday, September 27, Salar Salehi, who is from Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province, was arrested by security forces.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Mr. Salehi is said to have been transferred to a security detention center for questioning following his arrest.
As of this writing, the exact whereabouts and the charges against Mr. Salehi are not known.
On Wednesday, September 15, lawyers Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian were transferred from solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison to the general ward of the prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, these citizens announced their transfer to the public ward of Evin Prison during a telephone call with their families.
Despite the issuance of indictment and designation of a court branch, the detainees were still kept in solitary confinement in Ward 241 of Evin Prison under the supervision of the intelligence service section of the judiciary for an entire month. Mostafa Nili has only been allowed to make phone calls twice since his arrest.
On August 14, several lawyers and civil activists, including Mostafa Nili, Arash Kaykhosravi, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafraz, and Leila Heydari, were arrested during a meeting at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.
Leila Heydari and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb were released on bail a day after their arrest, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi and Maryam Afrafaraz were released on bail on August 29, but Nili, Kaykhrosravi, and Mahmoudian had remained in detention.
Apart from being allowed to contact their families on the first day of their detention, these citizens have been largely denied the right to make telephone calls.
On Sunday, September 5, Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Ayub Pour Rezazadeh, and Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari were arrested by security forces in Rasht and taken to an unknown location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Mr. Sarparast and Mr. Pour Rezazadeh were detained in a house church. Security forces raided the homes of these citizens and confiscated some of their belongings, including cell phones, books, and pamphlets related to Christianity. According to an informed source, the agents behaved violently and insultingly and refused to show arrest or search warrants.
Relatives of these citizens are said to have been threatened by IRGC intelligence agents for providing information about the condition of their loved ones. Also, one of their relatives along with several other members of the house church were summoned to the Rasht IRGC Intelligence Office and interrogated.
According to a source close to the families of these citizens, after their families went to Branch 4 of the Rasht Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office to follow up on the case, they were not given any answer and were told, “Do not follow up. They will not be released any time soon. They do not deserve freedom and must stay.”
25-year-old Ahmad (Yohanna) Sarparast, 28-year-old Ayub (Farzin) Pour Rezazadeh, and 38-year-old Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari are residents of Rasht.
Even though Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with activists in this field.
The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.
As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest, the charges against them, and the whereabouts of these citizens are unknown.
Maleki, the commander of the Gilan police force, recently announced the arrest of 79 citizens in one of the province’s forests.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, the citizens were arrested for what Maleki called “promoting emerging mysticism”.
“79 members of a tourist tour, including 27 women and 52 men, were arrested on charges of promoting false mysticism by holding superstitious rituals in the unsafe environment of a remote forest area,” he said.
Intrusion into citizens’ privacy and interference in their personal affairs are among the criticisms leveled at Iran’s judicial and disciplinary system.
“After receiving news about individuals who use cyberspace trying to propagate and promote emerging false mysticism through fraud,” Maleki continued, “receiving money, and setting up illegal tourist tours by holding superstitious rituals, the investigation of the issue was put on the agenda of the police.”
On Monday, September 6, two citizens were arrested by security forces in Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the citizens were taken to an unknown location following their arrest.
The report has identified the detainees as Behrouz Azizi and Rasoul Azizian, both from the village of Mehrab in the Sanandaj area. The reasons for their detention and whereabouts are still unknown.
On Sunday, August 29, two citizens from Oshnavieh were detained by security forces and taken to an unknown location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the identities of these citizens are Heydar Alizadeh from the village of Qazanabad, and Shirzad Mamandi a native of Narziveh village in Oshnavieh.
The report states that the arrests were made without a court order, and that security forces searched the homes of detainees, confiscated some of their belongings, including their cell phones.
As of this writing, no information is available on the reasons for the arrests, the charges against them, or the whereabouts of these citizens.
On Saturday, August 14 Arash Kaykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kasb, and Leila Heidari, Mehdi Mahmoudian, and Maryam Afrafaraz were arrested by security forces in Tehran and taken to an unknown location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, The citizens’ personal belongings were confiscated at the time of arrest by security forces.
Arash Kaykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kasb, and Leila Heidari are lawyers, Mehdi Mahmoudian is a journalist and member of the Central Council of the Etihad Mellat party, and Maryam Afrafaraz is a civil activist and a member of the Imam Ali Charity Association.
Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb and Leila Heydari were released hours after their arrest. Five others are still in detention.
The reasons behind the citizens’ arrests and their whereabouts are not known as of this writing, and the number of detainees is likely to be higher.
Two citizens were recently detained by security forces in Bukan in West Azerbaijan Province and transferred to an unknown location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, on Monday, August 9, Bukan native Rashid Rahimi was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location. During the arrest, security forces searched the house and confiscated some of Mr. Rahimi’s personal belongings.
Also, according to the Center of Democracy and Human Rights in Kurdistan, on Wednesday, August 4, Bukan resident Ali Aziz-Zadeh, was detained by security forces without a warrant. According to the report, Mr. Aziz-Zadeh was beaten at the time of arrest.
As of this writing, no information is available on the detainees whereabouts or the charges against them.
Hamshahri newspaper, which is owned by Tehran Municipality, published a report yesterday stating that at least 300 have been arrested during the recent protests in the city of Susangerd alone.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the report acknowledges that at least 12,000 people were present at a protest rally in Susangerd–a noteworthy distinction amid denials of unrest from many official sources.
According to the report, the day after the first day of the protests, July 15, Khuzestan Governor Qassem Soleimani Dashtaki denied everything about the protest, saying, “Some seek to provoke the people and publish fake images of the protests in cyberspace.” He claimed, “There were no protests in the cities of Khorramshahr and Susangerd.”
Subsequent events showed that the governor’s words were wrong. The Hamshahri newspaper also reported that the protests were peaceful until the fourth day in Susangerd and surrounding cities but escalated into violence with the arrival of troops and special forces.
Until that day, no provincial or government officials were willing to speak to the people. Finally, on the fourth day, with the arrival of the non-native special police unit in the Susangerd area, the atmosphere changed. The police were aimed at stopping protests by any means necessary. Citizens wondered why the special unit had been summoned to the city, given the peaceful nature of their protests.
According to the Hamshahri report, 2018 statistics showed that Khuzestan was the highest ranked province in number of protests, with about 300 union and non-union gatherings and sit-ins in that year alone. Given the high capabilities and abundance of resources within the province, it should be one of the wealthiest regions, but decades of mismanagement and exploitation have left Khuzestan with abysmal rates of unemployment and poverty. Regarding the water issue, citizens have been protesting, in various ways, for more than 20 years, but nothing has been done.