Night raids in Iran target activists, journalists and lawyers

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Iranian security forces attacked activists and journalists in the middle of the night, spreading fear across Iran as protests continued in the streets and inside universities.

Since the outbreak of protests across Iran, the security apparatus has stepped up efforts to curb popular dissent [Getty Images-file photo]

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and intelligence services have continued nightly raids on the homes of activists, journalists and lawyers across Iran as anti-government protests continue.

Tehran’s crackdown on dissidents entered a new phase last week when four lawyers – who have defended students, political and human rights activists – were detained by security forces.

The arrests came amid nationwide protests against the country’s theocratic rulers following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was being held by Iran’s Gasht-e Ershad, better known as morality police.

“Since last Thursday, at least 14 [Iranian] journalists were arrested”

Local media reported on Monday that four lawyers – Saeed Jalilian, Milad Panahipour, Mahsa Gholm Alizadeh and Babak Paknia – were arrested by security forces during the nighttime raids.

Sharif University of Technology Islamic Student Association also announcement four of its members – Mohammad Reza Lotfalizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Nourian, Nima Azar and Javad Shaker – were arrested the same day in Tehran.

Over the past few days, at least 38 student activists from Tehran University and 13 from Beheshti University have also been stopped.

The Iranian student movement has been at the forefront of demands for political change in Iran since the 1960s and was harshly suppressed by authorities before and after the 1979 revolution.

Media workers have also been victims of the latest round of arrests with at least 14 journalists detained by security forces and several others summoned for questioning.

Niloofar Hamedi, journalist for Daily Shargh who has covered those affected by Gasht-e Ershad activities since June, was among the first journalists targeted by security forces this week.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) confirmed the arrest of 14 journalists on Monday and urged the authorities to immediately release the media workers.

In a voicemail from inside the prison, Yalda Moaiery, a photojournalist arrested on September 20 while covering the protests, explained the harsh conditions of detention.

“The situation is extremely bad… our lives are in danger here,” she said in the message, adding that more than 100 inmates at the center only shared two toilets.

Several well-known political figures were also arrested, including Majid Tavakloi, a prominent activist who had already spent seven years in prison. He was again arrested at his home on September 22.

“Around 1:30 a.m., security forces attacked my brother’s home, instilled fear and took him away,” Majid Tavakoli’s brother said. wrote on Twitter.

“I don’t know what you call the fear of my brother’s two-year-old daughter in the middle of the night.”

Activists Hossein Ronaghi, Fatemeh Sepehri, Asgar Akbarzadeh, Saeed Sadeghifar, Mohammadreza Jaleipour, Alireza Khoshbakht, Rouhollah Nakhaei Leila Mir Ghafari, Mehdi Hamidi and Majid Tavakoli were also detained.

At least 76 protesters have been killed by security forces since unrest erupted over the alleged murder of Mahsa Amini by vice squad just under two weeks ago, activists say.

Amini’s family and witnesses say she was beaten in custody, leading to her death after spending several days in a coma.

She was reportedly detained because her hair was not fully covered and her death sparked nationwide protests against Iran’s morality police.

The author’s name has been removed to protect his identity.

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