Peaceful participants arrested at annual commemoration for popular poet Ahmad Shamlu
The state security forces arrested at least five participants of a gathering marking the 18th anniversary of popular poet Ahmad Shamlu’s death.
The commemoration ceremony took place at Imamzadeh Taher Cemetery in Karaj, 33.5 miles west of Tehran.
Rouzbeh Souhanaki and Ali Kakavandi, members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA), and Gholam Nemati Moallem are identified as three of the arrestees. All of them have been transferred to Rajaei Shahr Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran.
The intelligence agents reportedly confiscated the mobile phones and cameras from witnesses who filmed the scene.
According to sources, the state security forces locked the cemetery gates and prevented people from entering.
In the past years the cemetery gates have been locked on the anniversary and crowds have been forced to disperse.
According to Article 27 of Iran’s Constitution, people can gather in groups freely “provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”
Article 46 of the Charter on Citizens’ Rights, signed by President Hassan Rouhani in Decembers 2016 without a path to implementation, states: “Citizens have the right to assembly and make demonstrations and to participate therein, freely and in compliance with the law, and to enjoy impartiality of the responsible bodies and protection and security for the assembly.”
A member of PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, IWA is Iran’s largest organization representing writers, editors, translators and publishers. Many of its members have been persecuted for their secular and critical views of state policies.
Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, two prominent IWA members, were killed by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry agents in 1998 in a series of assassinations that came to be known as the “chain murders.”