Mass arrests during prayer service for activists in Iran

Amnesty International
23 October 2009

The Iranian authorities must immediately release dozens of people arrested on Thursday during a prayer service in support of activists detained following protests after June’s presidential election, Amnesty International has said.

The prayer service was organized by the family of Shahaboddin Tabatabaei, a prominent supporter of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was jailed for five years earlier this week for state security offences relating to the post-election unrest.

According to media reports, up to 68 people were arrested on Thursday and, in most cases, taken to Evin Prison in Tehran. Some have since been released, but most remain in detention. Some are relatives of activists who were jailed over the protests after unfair trials.

“People peacefully gathering to protest unjust prison sentences should not themselves end up in jail,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“They should be released immediately and unconditionally, alongside Shahaboddin Tabatabaei and other political figures detained since the presidential election solely for their peaceful political activities.”

Among those believed to be still detained are Saeed Nour-Mohammadi, a young member of the Islamic Participation Front, a reformist political party, who was previously detained for a few days, and Amin Shirzad, son of another member of the party, Ahmad Shirzad.

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