Since the start of mass protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by “Morality” police for improper hijab, scores of ordinary citizens and rights defenders have been arrested.
These protests are significant because this is the first time the nation has protested to demand rights for women and accountability on the death in custody of a woman. Those protesting Mahsa’s death have expressed several demands, including accountability by the police for her death in custody, the dismantling of the “morality” police and an end to mandatory hijab laws.
As the protests have grown, others with different demands and grievances have also joined, including those with economic demands, citizens fed up with corruption and state violence and those demanding democracy and political change.
However, the large number of women present in these protests and the main slogan of protesters, “Woman, Life, Liberty,” reflect their feminist nature.
Following protests, an unprecedented number of human rights defenders, journalists, and political, civic and community activists have been arrested as a preemptive effort to control the spread and continuation of national protests. Because the demands of the protesters are feminist and woman centered in nature, feminist activists and women human rights defenders (WHRDs), have been especially targeted and arrested during the last few days. Among them are also student activists who have held protests in university settings. The continued arrest of WHRDs and this mass crackdown is especially alarming given the high number of women human rights defenders already in prison serving long prison terms or awaiting the implementation of prison sentences….
In this report, FEMENA has compiled an initial list of detained WHRDs based on credible reports, including news reports or social media posts from trusted individuals, family members and colleagues. We recognize that already the numbers are much higher than what is documented in this report, but reporting and documentations processes are slow, especially for those WHRDs who are lesser known. We also anticipate that these numbers will grow.
It is especially important to compile lists early on as a way of highlighting the arrest of lesser known WHRDs. In this way international human rights organizations can be aware of arrests and remain committed to following up on their cases in the weeks and months to come.
Femena will update the list to the extent possible to include names of additional WHRDs arrested and info on any WHRDs released.
We ask international human rights organizations and UN mechanisms to commit to following up on the cases of these defenders and pressing the Iranian authorities to release rights defenders as well as ordinary citizens arrested as a result of protests.