Iran Human Rights (IHR); August 15, 2021: Seven lawyers and civil activists were arrested by security forces yesterday when they went to file a complaint against the National Task Force Against Coronavirus and the Supreme Leader at the Tehran Citizen’s Rights Protection Association. Two of the arrestees were released hours later but five remain in custody.
Iran Human Rights strongly condemns their arrests and calls for their immediate and unconditional release. IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “Instead of suppressing their critics, the Islamic Republic authorities should be held accountable for their incompetence, mismanagement and especially the Supreme Leader’s role in the daily death of hundreds of people due to COVID-19.”
Lawyers Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi, Mohammadreza Faghihi, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian and Leila Heydari, and civil activists Mehdi Mahmoudian and Maryam Afrafaraz were arrested by security forces at the office of the National Task Force Against Coronavirus yesterday afternoon.
Mohammad Hadi Erfanian and Leila Heydari were released hours later. Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi, Mohammadreza Faghihi, Mehdi Mahmoudian and Maryam Afrafaraz remain in custody.
Lawyer and human rights activist, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi told IHR: “The lawyers and civil activists wanted to file a complaint against the leadership to the Government Employees Court for the mismanagement of the Coronovirus crisis.”
Another source who spoke to IHR on the condition of anonymity said: “15 people suddenly entered the meeting at the Tehran Citizen’s Rights Protection Association’s offices along with two judicial interrogators and arrested them.”
Their personal belongings including mobile phones, were seized during their arrest.
Following their arrest, the Human Rights Commission of the Central Bar Association issued a statement calling for the immediate release of all detainees and for those responsible to be held accountable.
A part of the statement reads: “A number of colleagues; lawyers who were preparing to take legal action according to Article 34 of the Constitution against the authorities for negligence in governing and controlling the Coronavirus epidemy, were threatened with dismissal prior to taking action by individuals who identified themselves as officers and judicial agents. They have subsequently been arrested without committing any crime and without adhering to the International Bar Association’s guidelines set for breaches committed by lawyers.”