Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 23, 2020—In reaction to growing tensions across the society, Iranian authorities continue to arrest people with political backgrounds and family ties to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In recent days, after declaring the shutdown of 150 cities and counties across the country, the regime has continued to arrest families and supporters of the MEK. The regime is using the coronavirus situation as a pretext to further increase repressive measures and to tend to its main worry, which is the resurgence of nationwide protests.
Among the arrested is Pouria Vahidian, 27, a relative of Saeed Moghimi, MEK martyr executed by the regime in 1988. Vahidian, who lives in Tehran, had been previously arrested and imprisoned between 2018 and 2020. He was released in May 2020 after finishing his sentence.
The arrests come against the backdrop of increased repressive measures by the regime on the anniversary of the November 2019 uprisings, including the arrest of several MEK family members. Earlier this month, security agents arrested Sina Zahiri and Hamid Sharif in Tehran and transferred them to Evin prison. Zahiri was previously sentenced to five years in prison on charges of supporting the MEK. He also served two years in prison for supporting the MEK. Sharif is a former political prisoner.
Also November, intelligence agents raided the homes of several former political prisoners in Songhor county, Kermanshah province. In these raids, Saeid Asghari, 51, Saeid Samimi, 24, and Kasra Bani Amerian, 24, were arrested and taken to prison. All three had been arrested in February 2018 and had been released on bail after going through two months of interrogation in Evin’s Ward 209, notoriously renowned as the political prisoners’ ward. These prisoners were later sentenced to five years in prison on charges of supporting the MEK. Bani Amerian suffers from blood cancer suffers from blood cancer and is under severe pressure.
In a statement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged the United Nations and other human rights organizations to “take immediate action to secure the release of political prisoners to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.”
“The Iranian resistance reiterates the need to establish an international commission of inquiry to visit Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners, especially political prisoners,” the statement reads.
These arrests come at a time where the situation in Iran’s prisons is abysmal, coronavirus is spreading among prisoners, and authorities are torturing inmates by depriving them of their most basic needs. In tandem with the arrest of political activists, the regime is resorting to other threat and intimidation methods to prevent further protests. These measures include public humiliation of youth, murder of youths in the streets, and the establishment of military garrisons in cities to deal with protesters.