Iran: Free seven human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the latest crackdown

05/09/2018
Press release
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Paris-Geneva, September 5, 2018 - The Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release the human rights defenders arbitrarily detained over the past few weeks and cease all acts of harassment against them, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), urged today.

Since August 18, 2018, at least seven human rights defenders have been arrested by Iranian authorities. Mr. Reza Khandan, human rights defender and husband of imprisoned human rights lawyer Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested at his home in Tehran on September 4. He has been consistently raising concerns about human rights violations in Iran, including the imprisonment of human rights defenders and the prosecution of women who have campaigned against the imposition of compulsory hijab.

On September 1, 2018, Ms. Hoda Amid, human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender, and Ms. Najmeh Vahedi, another women’s rights defender, were also arrested at their homes in Tehran. The authorities did not provide the reasons for their arrests. The two are known for jointly organising educational workshops about marriage and the legal status of women in Iran and have been involved in various campaigns in defense of women’s rights in the country in the past.

On August 31, 2018, Messrs. Payam Derafshan and Farrokh Forouzan-Kermani, two human rights lawyers, were arrested in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, while visiting the family of fellow human rights lawyer Arash Kaykhosravi, who was arrested in front of the Iranian Parliament on August 18, 2018 together with another human rights lawyer, Mr. Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi. Mr Derafshan is Mr. Kaykhosravi’s lawyer and is part of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s defense team. The authorities did not provide the reasons for their arrests.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about this ongoing wave of arrests against human rights defenders, which appears to be aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities, and urges the Iranian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Iran and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance.

For further information, please contact:
· FIDH: Maryna Chebat Tel: +33 6 48 05 91 57 / Email: mchebat@fidh.org / Samuel Hanryon: +33 6 72 28 42 94/ Email: shanryon@fidh.org
· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39 / Email: dr@omct.org

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

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