News published on websites and in social media indicate that a group of environmental activists have been under severe interrogation in prison for more than 60 days. Five of them are allegedly in solitary confinement and have no access to a lawyer.
Reports from someone close to these civil rights activists (their name has not been revealed) has said that they have been insulted and threatened. They are also blindfolded and made to face the wall. He added that they have been put under pressure to “make a commitment in exchange for their freedom”.
It is said that on 16th July six environmental activists were arrested by Shiraz Intelligence agents. They are named as Yekta Fahandaj Sa’adi, Nushin Zenhari, Behnam Azizpoor, Saeid Hasani, Ramin Shirvani and Esmaeil Roosta. At the time of arrest they were at a house belonging to a friend and were discussing environmental issues. During the holidays they had attempted to clean up natural areas around Shiraz.
After the arrest, they were taken to the Shiraz Intelligence Detention Center known as No. 100. The following day, two Baha’i citizens named Nabil Tahzib and Naeim Ghaned Sharafi were arrested in connection with the same case.
On 18th July, Naeim Ghaned Sharafi was released. On 13th and 21st August, Nooshin Zenhari and Ramin Shirvani were also released on bails of 200 million Tomans.
It is unclear what the situation is for the other detainees other than that they remain in solitary confinement. No detailed information is available about their cases or the charges they face. One possibility is that some of the detainees were arrested for being Baha’i.
One of the activists, Yekta Fahandaj Sa’adi, a Baha’i citizen, was arrested and interrogated twice before – in January 2012 and February 2014. She was released on a bail of 200 million Tomans. A week before her third arrest, she was sentenced to five years in prison for acting against national security and propaganda against the system.
After the arrests, intelligence agents went to their homes and inspected and confiscated the activists’ belongings including their hard disks, tablets, cell phones and even their vehicles. During the raids their families were insulted and disrespected.
Those arrested have not been allowed to call or see their families. They have also been denied the chance to meet with a lawyer or to sign a power of attorney. On top of this, the families have been threatened by the Shiraz Intelligence Office regarding reporting on the status of their children and have been asked not to reveal any information in this regard.