NCRI Staff

NCRI - Amnesty International’s recent report Caught in a web of repression shows a detailed overview of the repression facing human rights activists in Iran.

Under international law, enforced disappearances are crimes. International human rights bodies have recognized that an enforced disappearance may cause such severe mental distress for family members, who have the right not to be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment.

Among several of the human rights defenders whose cases were featured, is one who was previously been targeted by the authorities for her peaceful activism. Regarding recently arrested human rights defender, Raheleh Rahemipour, demands have been issued to Iranian authorities for her immediate and unconditional release, according to Amnesty International.

Rahemipour’s brother and baby niece were forcibly disappeared while in custody during the early 1980s. She spent years trying to uncover the truth about what happened to them, and because of her efforts, she was sentenced to a year in prison earlier this year, and has been awaiting the outcome of her appeal.

She was sentenced to one year in prison in February 2017, for “spreading propaganda against the system” by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, who cited her media interviews about the forcible disappearance of her family members and her participation in peaceful gatherings where she held a placard reading “You killed my brother. What did you do with his child? As evidence.

Rahemipour’s niece, Golrou, was born in Evin prison in April, 1984, but was taken from her mother when she was just 15 days old. The family was told she was undergoing medical tests, but were subsequently told that she had died. However, no death certificate, or information about the circumstances of her death or burial, have been provided.

For his affiliation with an opposition political group, the baby’s father, Hossein, was arrested in August, 1983 along with his pregnant wife. After a year, his family received a phone call from Evin prison telling them to pick up his personal effects. They understood to mean he had been executed, but, like his daughter, his body was not returned to the family, nor any death certificate issued.

Earlier this week, officials arrived at Raheleh Rahemipour’s home in Tehran and presented an arrest warrant from the Office of the Prosecutor in Evin prison. The officials are believed to be from the Ministry of Intelligence, although they did not identify themselves. No reason was given for her arrest — the officials simply said she was being taken into custody for questioning.

She has not been allowed contact with her lawyer since then.

The UN has previously called for the Iranian authorities to stop their harassment of Raheleh Rahemipour.

Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, Magdalena Mughrabi, stated, “Raheleh Rahemipour has already been forced to endure the anguish and distress of having her loved ones forcibly disappeared and faces an unjust prison sentence for her efforts to learn their fate. Her arrest provides further evidence of the Iranian authorities’ ruthless determination to intimidate her into silence and prolong her suffering.” She added, “Instead of lashing out against aggrieved families searching for their loved ones, the Iranian authorities must meet their legitimate demands for truth and justice.”

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