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Iran’s regime arrests MEK family members on the anniversary of November protests

Iran protests (November 2019)
Iran protests (November 2019)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 18, 2020—As Iran’s regime continues to ratchet up repressive measures on the anniversary of the nationwide November 2019 uprising, security forces are arresting former political prisoners to prevent potential protests. Meanwhile, the regime’s judiciary is summoning people with family ties to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and warning them to avoid engaging in activities on the anniversary of the uprising.

On November 11, 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 Evin prison in Tehran.

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 and was under chemotherapy at the time of his arrest. His incarceration at a time where coronavirus is wildly spreading in Iran’s prisons is especially life threatening for him.

In Tehran, security agents arrested Sina Zahiri and Hamid Sharif 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.

Meanwhile, regime authorities are increasing pressure on political prisoners in different prisons. One alarming case is that of Fatemeh Mosana in Evin prison, who is suffering from intestine complications but is being denied access to hospital care. Mosana, who has been in Evin prison for six years, also suffers from liver complications and severe colitis and her health is severely threatened.

Earlier, in October, security forces in Semnan arrested Alireza Salar and Seyyed Reza Zargar, family members of MEK martyrs, and took them to Semnan prison. Zargar is a former political prisoner who spent six years in Evin and Semnan prisons during the 1980s. His brother Davood was among the 30,000 political prisoners executed in the summer of 1988. Ali Akbar Salar, the brother of Alireza Salar, was executed by the regime in 1983.

In a statement on Tuesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) warned against the new wave of arrests and called on international bodies to intervene and ensure the safety and rights of political prisoners.

“The Iranian Resistance again urges the United Nations Secretary General, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteurs, and all human rights organizations to take urgent action to secure the release of political prisoners at least until the end of the Coronavirus pandemic in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” the NCRI wrote. “It also calls for the formation of an international fact-finding commission to visit Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners, especially political prisoners.”

These developments are taking place against the backdrop of increased repressive measures by the regime on the anniversary of the November uprising. The regime is extremely afraid of Iran’s increasingly restive population, and has resorted to intimidation campaigns, mass arrests, executions, and the establishment of various military garrisons to keep the explosive state of the society in check.