Iranian Authorities Detain Lawyers and Civil Rights Activists

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A number of lawyers and civil rights activists who had gathered in front of the Iranian Parliament building to protest both the Caspian Sea Agreement and the Guardian Council’s vetting process were arrested last Saturday, August 18th.

Mohammad Nourizad was among a group of detainees that were released a few hours later. Among three lawyers taken into custody, one — Masoud Javadieh — posted bail and was released the following day. Lawyers Ghasem Shole-Saadi and Arash Keykhosravi were transferred to the Great Tehran Penitentiary after being charged at Branch 5 of the Evin prosecutor’s office.

Mr Nourizad, a 66-year-old Iranian director, screenwriter, and journalist, had been taken into custody earlier this year in connection to his visits with the family of political prisoner Ramin Hossein Panahi, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Sanandaj Central Prison. Previously considered a religious radical, Nourizad joined with critics of the Islamic regime in the early 2000s and has continued in recent years to meet with the families of political detainees.

Upon his release on Saturday, Nourizad noted to reporters that Shole-Saadi had been interrogated for sharing a video, and conjectured that officials were building a case against him for that reason. In the video in question, Shole-Saadi can be heard voicing support of the late Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, whose efforts to nationalize Iran’s oil industry were thwarted more than 70 years ago. In the recording, Shole-Saadi vows to appear before the Iranian Parliament building in protest of the Guardian Council’s vetting process.

Notably, Ghasem Shole-Saadi previously served two terms in the Islamic Consultative Assembly and was convicted of “insulting the leadership of the Islamic Republic” via a letter he notoriously published in 2002. He has been imprisoned several times on charges from the Revolutionary Court for “propaganda against the regime”.