Civil rights activists Mahmoud Masoumi, Nader Afshari, Saeed Eghbali, Saeed Seifi Jahan, Mozhgan La’li, Behnam Mousivand, Shima Babaei, Dariush Zand and a woman named Shaghayegh who were detained on February 1 and were temporarily released on bail, were summoned to court.
These nine activists were summoned to the 6th Branch of Evin Court (Moghaddasi) on Sunday, April 22 to present their last defense to court. Almost all the defendants rejected their charges, namely gathering and conspiring against the government.
According to an informed source, they were put under severe pressure and even physically abused during their detention to the extent that the signs of the abuse could still be seen in their physical and mental health.
Similarly, in another case, lawyer and human rights activist Mohammad Najafi was summoned to the Robat Karim Prosecutor’s Office. The lawyer was arrested after disclosing the reason behind the death of a protester who passed away in prison and was released from Arak Prison after 93 days on April 17.
Iranian regime started to arrest of renowned human rights defenders since February 1st, 2018, as another episode in a long crackdown on any form of peaceful activism in the country.
Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand were arrested on the same day.
In a 2 February 2018 statement, Amnesty International urged Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the human rights defenders. AI said, “These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.The coordinated nature of these arrests confirms our grave concerns about the grim reality for those defending human rights in Iran today, where peaceful activism is repressed and criminalized by the authorities. These people are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully defending human rights.”