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Relatives Of Arrested Mothers Dispersed By Iranian Police

A human rights group says police in Iran made two arrests and violently disrupted a demonstration in Tehran by relatives of a group of arrested mothers whose children are missing, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman at the U.S.-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, told Radio Farda that the police actions took place one day after the authorities arrested about 30 "mournful mothers" and their supporters.

The "mournful mothers" are a group of women whose children have disappeared or been killed in protests held since Iran's controversial presidential election in June.

The group is demanding that the government be held accountable for the fate of their children.

Ghaemi said the relatives of the mothers arrived at the detention center to try to find out the women's whereabouts.

They grew increasingly upset as they received no response from the authorities. Ghaemi says the relatives began to demonstrate and chant.

The police responded by "aggressively" dispersing the crowd.

Ghaemi added that authorities also arrested two passersby who were reportedly taking pictures of the scene. He said the whereabouts of the mothers is still unknown.

The "mournful mothers" had held weekly protests until January 9, when their demonstration was broken up and at least 30 of them were taken into custody.

Ghaemi criticized the authorities, saying that "attacking middle-aged, mourning mothers is not acceptable in any culture. And this behavior shows government forces don't have any respect for basic human rights."

Ghaemi said the mothers had every right to demand accountability for their children's fate, and he complained that Iranian courts are not seeking justice for them.

The incident highlights the frequent practice by Iranian authorities of arresting demonstrators and refusing to provide details about their location.