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Iranian Activist Rezaei Still In Custody Despite Being Granted Bail

Iranian student activist Ronak Rezaei (file photo)

Ronak Rezaei, an Iranian student and labor activist arrested in May during protests over the deadly collapse of a building, remains in prison despite being granted bail by a court.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on August 14 that a court had set bail for Rezaei, but Iranian "security and judicial institutions" had obstructed her release and the situation remains unresolved because the judge involved in the case is on a pilgrimage to the hajj.

Rezaei was arrested in a raid on her home after the collapse of the partially finished 10-story Metropol building on May 23, in the southwestern city of Abadan, which killed 43 people. Accusations that the accident was caused by government negligence and endemic corruption sparked protests.

Rezaei spent about a month in the detention center of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) before being transferred to Sepidar prison in Ahvaz on July 2.

Farzane Zilabi, Rezaei's lawyer, has called the proceedings against her client "propaganda."

According to Zilabi, the judicial authorities did not allow her to be with her client during the court proceedings.

Rezaei is a master's student in cultural studies at Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran. She was in Abadan to do research on her thesis.

The collapse of a large section of the Metropol building, which was under construction, was one of Iran's deadliest such disasters in years.

Authorities have blamed the accident on isolated corruption and lax safety standards. So far, 13 people are reported to have been arrested for construction violations.

In recent years there have been several cases of buildings collapsing in Iran. Experts largely attribute the incidents to a disregard for safety standards and corruption in urban management.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda