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Waves of Arrests Follow Iran's Deadly Protests

Iranian opposition supporters during the December 27 antigovernment protest (photo by Sara)

Waves of Arrests Follow Iran's Deadly Protests

On December 28, one day after Iran's bloody unrest on the holy day of Ashura, a number of prominent journalists, politicians, activists and their relatives were arrested.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi told Radio Farda that her sister was arrested. She added, "The Intelligence Ministry had repeatedly summoned my husband, sister and brother, warning them to stop me from doing my activities." Ebadi said that her sister, who is an academic and a dentist, neither participated in Iran's post-vote protests, nor was involved in human rights activities. [read in English / listen in Farsi]

Noted journalist and founder of the Society to Defend Prisoners' Rights, Emadedin Baghi as well as fellow journalist and spokesman of the Committee to Defend Press Freedom Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, were also arrested. Another journalist and activist, Morteza Kazemian told Radio Farda that the establishment seems determined to intensify its crackdown. [listen in Farsi]

Ebrahim Yazdi, the secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, and movement supporter Leila Tavasoli were among those arrested. Freedom Movement member Amir Khoram told Radio Farda that Yazdi's arrest shows that, "they want us to stop our activities." [listen in Farsi]

The son of political activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi told Radio Farda that his father was arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents on December 28, in part because of his interviews with foreign media. Tabarzadi has been repeatedly arrested; his last arrest led to seven years in jail.

Shortly before his arrest, Tabarzadi had told Radio Farda that on the day of Ashura, people took to the streets for a peaceful protest, thinking that the regime, which claims to be religious, would not resort to violence on such a holy day. [listen in Farsi]