In Iran, being an activist involves calling attention to the regime’s actions and holding them accountable. The consequences of standing up to the regime can be as simple as being tracked and bugged or as intense as being arrested, tortured, tried, and even executed. As the number of protests and demonstrations increases throughout Iran, the regime is reaching into its toolbox in an effort to repress these activists from gaining more support from the people.
The primary tactic is prosecution for obscure charges and then imprisonments. Five environmental activists who were arrested five months ago were charged with corruption on earth, a vague charge frequently used by the regime to address activities they deem as subversive. The five individuals were arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and had previously been charged with spying.
A number of activists were arrested on January 24 by the IRGC, with a number of them being environmentalists. Dr. Kavous Seyyed Emami died just two weeks after his arrest. He was a university professor and former director of the Wildlife Agency. The regime claimed he committed suicide, despite evidence of torture.
Multiple detainees have died under torture, but the official cause of death is typically suicide or drug-related.
“The arrest of a number of environmental activists…is suspicious and the death of Dr. Seyyed Emami in the prison is unfortunate and increases the ambiguity regarding the charges against the detainees,” said Mohammad Reza Tabesh, the head of the Parliamentary Environmental Faction.
The Iranian resistance calls for an international delegation to investigate the conditions inside the prisons, as well as the suspected murders of activists arrested for speaking out against the regime.
Other activists abducted and families fear for their survival
However, other activists are also being targeted and instead of facing arrest, they simply vanish. Their families are left to wonder if they are still alive. At the same time, families receive the message not to go against the regime, for fear it will happen to others.
The Iranian resistance also calls for condemnation of these actions by the international community and that teachers around the world support the protests and demands of the Iranian teachers.
Teachers continue protests despite arrests
Last week, the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association had members arrested as part of the nationwide teachers strike taking place earlier this month. Another union leader also went missing, according to his wife. Hashem Khastar, the missing union leader, has previously spent time in prison for his work to improve the working conditions of teachers in Iran. Her husband was later found in a mental hospital, where authorities were limiting access to him.
Clearly, the regime is using its power to attempt to squash any voices speaking out or calling for change. However, the Iranian people are not deterred and the fight for freedom and justice in Iran continues.