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IRAN PROTESTS : Feminists & WHRDs Detained

Monday 3 October 2022, by siawi3


S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 2

Feminists & WHRDs Detained

Report 1

Since the start of mass protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by “Morality” police for improper hijab, scores of ordinary citizens and rights defenders have been arrested.



These protests are significant because this is the first time the nation has protested to demand rights for women and accountability on the death in custody of a woman.
Those protesting Mahsa’s death have expressed several demands, including
accountability by the police for her death in custody, the dismantling of the
“morality” police and an end to mandatory hijab laws.

As the protests have grown, others with different demands and grievances have
also joined, including those with economic demands, citizens fed up with corruption and state violence and those demanding democracy and political change.

However, the large number of women present in these protests and the main slogan of protesters, “Woman, Life, Liberty,” reflect their feminist nature.

Following protests, an unprecedented number of human rights defenders,
journalists, and political, civic and community activists have been arrested as a
preemptive effort to control the spread and continuation of national protests.

Because the demands of the protesters are feminist and woman centered in nature, feminist activists and women human rights defenders (WHRDs), have been especially targeted and arrested during the last few days. Among them are also student activists who have held protests in university settings. The continued arrest of WHRDs and this mass crackdown is especially alarming given the high number of women human rights defenders already in prison serving long prison terms or awaiting the implementation of prison sentences..

In this report, FEMENA has compiled an initial list of detained WHRDs based on
credible reports, including news reports or social media posts from trusted
individuals, family members and colleagues. We recognize that already the numbers are much higher than what is documented in this report, but
reporting and documentations processes are slow, especially for those WHRDs
who are lesser known. We also anticipate that these numbers will grow.

It is especially important to compile lists early on as a way of highlighting the
arrest of lesser known WHRDs. In this way international human rights organizations can be aware of arrests and remain committed to following up on
their cases in the weeks and months to come.

FEMENA will update the list to the extent possible to include names of additional WHRDs arrested and info on any WHRDs released.

We ask international human rights organizations and UN mechanisms to commit to following up on the cases of these defenders and pressing the Iranian authorities to release rights defenders as well as ordinary citizens arrested as a result of protests.

According to reports, 5 WHRDs, Faranak Rafiee, Bahar Zangiband, Azadeh
Jama’ati, Mahroo Hedayati, Baran Sae’di, all members of Jivano Women’s
Organization were arrested on September 19, 2022, after being summoned by security forces in the city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province.
Jivano Women’s Organization is an independent initiativefocused on promoting
gender equality in Kurdistan province.

Arrest of Five WHRDs from Jivano NGO

This independent group has been implementing activities since 2020 with
a focus on prevention and elimination of violence against women and promotion of equality. Over the last two years the members of this NGO have organized feminist gatherings, study groups on feminism and gender equality, and conducted awareness raising activities on a range of issues, especially violence against women and femicide.
Photos: Faranak Rafiee, Bahar Zangiband, Azadeh Jama’ati, Mahroo Hedayati, Baran Sae’di

Evin Rasti, women’s rights activist in Marivan was arrested on September 19, 2022 and taken to an unknown location.
Security forces confiscated the mobile phones of all her family members at the time of Evin’s arrest.
Kurdish WHRDs have especially been targeted in the crackdowns following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was Kurdish. Protests first broke
out in the city of Saqqez, Mahsa Amini’s home town, quickly spreading to other Kurdish cities and then going nationwide.

Targeting of Kurdish WHRDs

Protests following the death of Mahsa Amini have spread to even smaller and conservative cities, some with little history of engaging in protests.
WHRDs participating in protests are vulnerable because they are regularly surveilled. But those in small cities face greater risks.

Leila Abbasi a WHRD in city of Bijar in Kurdistan province, was arrested on the 20th of September at her home. She was arrested following her participation in a protest.

WHRDs Surveiled and Vulnerable

Mansoureh Mousavi, university professor, sociologist and WHRD was arrested on September 20, 2022, in her home city of Mashhad, after security forces stormed her home and confiscated her laptop and writings. It is unclear where she is being held. Mansoureh Mousavi’s research was focused on the sociology of the body, covering issues such as sexuality of adolescents, teenage mothers, sexual relations, menstruation, repression of sexualdesires, etc.

On September 21, 2022 prominent Kurdish Iranian WHRD, Zhina Modares
was arrested in the city of Sanandaj by the IRGC.
In a call to her family on September 25, Zhina explained that she and ten others
were being held in a youth detention center in Sanandaj, with abhorrent
conditions In objection to ill and violent treatment and poor prison conditions
she announced that she plans to go on hunger strike.

Zhina wrote a moving piece about the death of Mahsa Amini and declared that she would protest this unjust killing and continue to amplify the demands of women.
She was arrested shortly after.

Following the killing of Mahsa Amini Zhina had been threatened by security
forces on multiple occasions, who contacted her by phone and showed up
at her place of work. They had warned her not to continue her activism, and not
to participate in protests otherwise she would face arrest.

Zhina is a long time activist and her work has focused on prevention of violence
against women. Zhina runs a bookstore in her city and was an active member of the One Million Signatures Campaign inSanandaj.

WHRDs Face Regular Threats & Pressure

Mozhgan Kavusi, a Kurdish researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker was arrested on September 22, 2022 in her home city of city of Nowshahr in
Mazandaran province.

Mozhgan Kavusi was arrested during protests in November 2019 as well. She
was charged with propaganda against the state, disrupting the public order,
and membership in anti-state groups, and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Mozhgan has published two books and has directed a documentary called

Leila Saqezi (also known as Leila Pahsai), a WHRD from Kurdistan, was arrested on Friday, September 22, 2022 at Azadi Square in Sanandaj. It is not clear where she is being held. Leila has a Master’s degree in sociology and works on women’s rights and women’s civic activism.

WHRDs Targeted for Arrest at Protests

Niloufar Hamedi, Iranian WHRD and a prominent journalist at Sharq daily, was arrested at her home in Tehran on Thursday, September 22, 2022.
In recent years, Niloufar has written important reports on the violation of
women’s rights. Her reports have been critical in shedding light on the
challenges faced by women in Iran.

Niloufar was the first journalist to report on Mahsa Amini’s situation from Kasra hospital when she was in a coma and posted the first pictures of Mahsa and her family on social media.

In her reporting Niloufar has covered topics such as banning women from entering the stadiums, femicide, the bill on the rejuvenation of the population, women’s bodily autonomy, and mandatory hijab.
Niloufar also reported on the violent encounter of the “morality” police with a woman and her family as they were taking a morning walk in Pardisan park in Tehran. Following this confrontation, the morality police fired ten bullets and injured the husband.

Nioufar’s report on the incident triggered a public outcry on the issue of mandatory hijab and violent tactics used by the “morality” police.

Journalist Breaking Mahsa’s Story Arrested

The above picture depicts Mahsa Amini’s parents embracing in an empty hospital corridor following news of her death. The picture was published on social media accounts of Niloufar Hamedi who broke the story about Mahsa’s death. Niloufar has since been detained.

The death of Mahsa Amini in sparked widespread anger resulting in mass
protests across the country, partly because so many women have had similar experiences of arrest, humiliation and violence at the hands of the “morality” police who treat citizens violently and even kill them with impunity.

The coverage of Mahsa’s story by news media inside Iran helped spread the word. Despite facing threats, her family, spoke to news media inside and
outside the country and consistently denied claims by officials that Mahsa
died as a result pre-existing health problems causing her to have a heart
attack. The Amini family has consistently called for police accountability.

Demanding Police Accountability

In response to people’s anger, the police has been using violence to quash protests, injuring and even killing protesters. As such, we anticipate that the issue of police accountability for excessive use of violence and the killing of protesters will remain an important demand, which must be amplified by rights
defenders and their organizations inside the country and internationally.



Report 2

Rizan Ahmadi a woman’s rights activist, poet and translator was arrested on September 20, 2022 after IRGC security forces stormed her workplace in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province. It is unclear where she is
being held.

Photojournalist Yalda Moayeri was arrested on September 20, on Hijab
Street in Tehran shortly after the protests erupted following the death in
custody of Mahsa Amini.
Yalda announced on her instagram account that she was taken into custody
by security forces and was being transferred to an unknown location.
Yalda is a talented photographer who has highlighted discriminations against
Iranian women through her art.

Fatemeh Rajabi, a women’s rights activist and journalist, was arrested in
Tehran on September 22, 2022 after security forces stormed her home at
Fatemeh’s reporting is focused on social and economic developments in Iran. She works at “Seven in the Morning” newspaper and “Bursa News Agency.” It
is not clear where she is being held.

Narges Hosseini a WHRD and one of the Girls of Revolution Street was
arrested on September 22, 2022, in front of her home in the city of Kashan.
In 2018, along with a number of other women, who were referred to as the
“Girls of Revolution Street,” she stood on a platform and removed her scarf,
placing it on a stick. She was arrested a few minutes after she took off her hijab
in public and was sentenced to three months in prison on charges of
“encouraging prostitution” and “non-observance of hijab”.

Zahra Towhidi, political activist, reporter and a former member of Advar Tahkim Vahdat a national student union, was arrested on Thursday, September 22, 2022. It is unclear where she is being held.
Zahra was among students who had been banned since 2007 from continuing her education because of political activity. She was only able to return to university last year, and was studying for a Ph.D. in sociology.

Sarieh Sharifi, WHRD, was arrested on September 22, 2022 in the city of Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province. It is unclear where she is being held.

Sareieh is an activist who advocates the right to education in mother language for children. While education in ones mother tongue is allowed by the Iranian constitution it remains forbidden in practice and thoseadvocating it are often persecuted.

Mahsa Gholamalizadeh, a lawyer and women’s rights activist, was arrested in Tehran on the September 24, 2022 after security forces raided her home. It is unclear where she is being held.

Security forces have arrested at least four human rights lawyers, including
Mahsa Gholamalizadeh, since the start of protests following the deathof Mahsa Amini.

Vida Rabbani, journalist, and political commentator, was arrested on September 24, 2022 in Tehran.
In June 2022, Vida was sentenced to 5 years in prison, followed by a two year ban from posting on social media, engaging in political activities, and participating in gatherings. In court Vida faced charges of blasphemy for her tweets. Other charges included disrupting public order, inciting violence,
assembly and collusion to act against national security, and “propaganda against the state.

Golrokh is a former political prisoner who has faced judicial harassment since 2014 for insulting the Supreme Leader and spreading propaganda against the state. In June 2019, while she was out on bail, new charges were brought against her for participating in prison protest. She was sentenced to an additional two years. On May 9, 2022, Golrokh was released from prison after her sentences were consolidated.

Shahnaz Akmali, Maryam’s mother, announced her arrest in a tweet shortly
after security forces raided their home. Maryam had been detained earlier this
year and tried on charges of “gathering and collusion against national security.”
She was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Maryam is the sister of Mostafa
Karimbeigy, who was killed during the 2009 protests following the contested
results of elections. Along with her mother, Maryam has demanded
accountability from police for the killing of her brother.

Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a WHRD and writer, was arrested on September 26,
2022 after security forces stormed her home in Tehran.

Maryam Karimbeigi, a WHRD, was arrested at her home in Tehran on Monday, September 26, by security forces.

Shadi Aslani, an environmental rights activists in Sanandaj, was arrested on September 26, 2022, by security forces at her home. It is unclear where she has been held since her arrest.

Elmira Bahmani, a women’s rights activist, was arrested on September 26th, 2022, after security forces stormed her home in the city of Rasht in Gilan province. It is unclear where she is being held.

Faezeh Hashemi a former MP and WHRD, was arrested on September 27, 2022, in Tehran. Fars News Agency, close to the IRGC, reported that Faezeh was arrested for inciting rioters to protest on the streets.

Mehrnoosh Tafian, WHRD and a media activist from Andimeshk, Khuzestan, was arrested on September 28, 2022, in Ahvaz.
Mehrnoosh’s media work has focused on environmental and labor issues. She has also covered women’s issues in underserved areas of Khuzestan province.

Sara Saniei, WHRD, sculptor and artist, was arrested in her home in Tehran on September 27, 2022 after security forces stormed her home, confiscating
her personal belongings. According to Ms. Saniei’s family, they have not heard
from her since she was arrested.

Elaheh is the journalist who covered Mahsa Amini’s burial in Ham-Mihan
newspaper after traveling to Saqqez for her funeral.
Elaheh Mohammadi, WHRD, journalist, and reporter for Ham-Mihan Daily, was arrested on September 29, 2022. Earlier in the morning, Elaheh received a phone call and was summoned for questioning by the Intelligence Ministry. She was arrested on her way to interrogation.
Earlier on September 22, the security forces broke into Elaheh’s home, and after
searching for a few hours, they confiscated her personal devices such as laptop, phone, and her press card.

Mona Borzoui, poet and songwriter, was arrested on September 28 at her home in Tehran. Prior to her arrest, on September 22, Mona Borzoui recited a
poem on her instagram account, which she had written in response to the killing of Mahsa Amini. The poem received a lot of attention on social media.

FEMENA supports Woman Human Rights Defenders, their organizations
and feminist movements through analysis of trends and policy,
documentation, fostering development of regional communities of
practice and advocacy.
FEMENA’s work is pimarily focused on contexts of shrinking or closed
civic space and contexts complicated by growing extremism and conflict.