International and Iranian organizations express concerns over the arrest of several labor rights activists in Iran including two journalists who were arrested on May day 2019 during a protest organized in Tehran. No news has been released about possible charges or the conditions that these political prisoners are being held at.
From the dozens arrested in May Day demonstration in Tehran, eight labor rights activists and journalists still remain in custody. Among them are Marzieh Amiri, a journalist with Shargh Daily and Keyvan Samimi, the chief editor at Iran Farda monthly magazine.
On Wednesday, May 22, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) and the International Federation of Journalists’ affiliate, issued a statement and demanded the immediate release of Amiri and Samimi.
According to ISNA, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, a speaker for Iranian judiciary said on Tuesday that Amiri is accused of “criminal conduct” related to “national security”.
The other six prisoners of May Day demonstration are Nahid Khodajoo, Nasrin Javadi, Farhad Sheikhi, Atefeh Rangriz, Hassan Saeedi, and Neda Naji.
There is no information released about these prisoners, the possible charges brought against them or the conditions that they are being held at in prison.
The families of the prisoners have been constantly protesting in front of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, only to meet with silence and intimidation.
“The officer in front of the Evin’s public prosecutor’s office said: ‘You’re here again. Do you enjoy gathering around each other here?’ Yes, we like that, we like that we don’t get frightened and desperate, we like that we bother your peace,” tweeted Samira Amiri, herself arrested on May Day, demonstrating and released on bail on May 5th.
Following the arrests on May 1, many users in social media raised concerns about the unknown conditions of the prisoners under the hashtag “No news is torture” (#بیخبری_شکنجه_است).
Several activists have initiated a petition to protest the continued detainment of labor rights activists who were arrested on May Day. The signatories demanded an “unconditional and immediate release” of the prisoners. This petition will be sent to international labor and human rights institutions.
Other Imprisoned Activists and Journalists
Apart from Samimi and Amiri, there are at least five other journalists in Iranian prisons: Afarin Chitsaz, Hengameh Shahidi, Kiromars Marzban, Masoud Kazemi and Pouya Khoshhal.
Masoud Kazemi, the former chief-editor at Seda-ye-Farsi monthly magazine, faced new accusations during his bail hearing on May 22, tweeted his lawyer. According to Ali Mojtahedzadeh, the new charges were not read against the accused beforehand, and therefore are not legally binding.
Criticizing the judge’s “shocking behavior”, Mojtahedzadeh wrote that Judge Mohammad Moghiseh cursed the accused several times in the court.
Among other activists in Iran’s prisons are: Esmail Bakhshi, one of workers’ representatives in Haft Tappeh Independent Labor Union; Sepideh Gholian, a 23-year female labor rights activist and citizen journalist; and Sanaz Allahyari, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, and Amir Amirgholi, the editorial team of an online left-wing magazine called “Gaam”. The exact nature of the charges against them are not yet known.