The protests started at the end of 2017, as economic pressures and civil unrest mounted against the #Iranian regime. As protesters began to call for regime change, the Iranian regime responded by increasing repressive measures, including arbitrary arrests.
Protesters are on the receiving end of this backlash. For example, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi said a protester was arrested and handed over to the Judiciary in relation to the girls of Enghelab Street protests. These protests against the mandatory wearing of the veil started when a woman by the name of Vida Movahed took off her scarf and waved it on a stick in Enghelab Street. Other women have since followed suit and posted pictures of their protests on social media.
When Doulatabadi was asked what the Judiciary would do if these protests continued, he said, “The Judiciary will act upon its duties.” In the greater Tehran district, police officers were able to arrest 29 people affiliated with the Stealthy Freedom Campaign in Tehran. According to the police, these people were “introduced to the Judiciary.”
These women are standing up for their personal freedom of choice, and the result of their protests is that their freedom is being taken away by the regime.
Students have also taken to the streets to #protest against the regime. Two Hamedan students who were arrested about a month ago are still being detained. According to sources, although the bail was set for these students and the families were able to raise the bail money, the two students have not been released. “The judge handling their case has told their family that they were ordered to keep students who have not been released until their cases were seen to,” said a source close to the situation.
Many of those arrested are left in a state of limbo, where they are not taken to trial, but left in the prison system indefinitely. For the regime, this method allows them to keep potential protest leaders and supporters off the streets, and they believe that this will help to curtail the protests. Instead, this course of action seems to be egging on the #Iranian people to continue protesting.
Those who try to get the word out about the situation of civil unrest in Iran also face punishment and retaliation from the regime. Azad Taghizadeh and Gholamali Mosavar, who were arrested during #Kermanshah’s demonstrations, were transferred to Dizel Abad Prison without trial. In Ilam, the fate of Jawad Khaybar and Laleh Aghaei, who were arrested in this city, is still not known.
Javad Khayeb is a #journalist who was arrested on January 3 in Ilam. He was told in that time that he was deliberately covering the news of the demonstrations. At the same time in Orumieh, security forces arrested Omid Ejlal and took him to an unknown location. There has been no information on his whereabouts since. According to other reports, Matin Khaledi, Ibrahim
Mohammadpour, and Amin Zendehdel, who were arrested in Orumieh, were transferred to the Youth Section in Darya Prison.
Recently, a memo by Alireza Rahimi, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in the Majlis, gave a report on protest detainees. According to that memo, the total number of prisoners in January was 4,972, and 73.94% of the detainees are male. Additionally, at least 50% of the detainees were between 19 to 25 years old and 27% were between 25 to 32 years old. Currently, 438 of the original number of those arrested are still being detained. There are 55 detainees who are being held in detention centers run by the Ministry of Intelligence.
However, protesters are not the only targets of the regime. Activists have also been arrested by security forces in what appears to be a coordinated effort. Those who have been arrested are being transferred to unknown locations, separating them from their families and support systems.
Others are being followed on social media and then arrested by the cyber police for what they have posted on their various #social media outlets. Some social media sites are being actively blocked because they were used by protests to organize the latest round of protests. Even newspapers are being found guilty in the #Iranian courts, primarily because they are not willing to put out the stories that the #regime wants made public.
These arrests and cases are just a small sample of the efforts the regime is willing to put out to keep the Iranian people from standing up to this fundamentalist dictatorship.