Pro-Rouhani Activist Arrested on Heels as Iranian President’s Trip to New York for the UNGA
Update: Siavash Hatam was released on bail on September 27, 2017, 10 days after he was detained.
Siavash Hatam, who has served time as a political prisoner for engaging in peaceful student activism, was arrested on September 17, 2017, at his home in Tehran and taken to Evin Prison, a source close to the activist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The unidentified security forces, which searched his home for five hours and seized some of his personal belongings, did not state the reason for the arrest, but presented a warrant issued by the Culture and Media Court.
“The arrest took place on the same day [President] Hassan Rouhani left for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly session,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Siavash has not committed any crime to be arrested for,” added the source. “This is a setup. He is being sacrificed mainly to undermine Rouhani’s trip.”
As a member of the reformist Islamic Union Party of Iran, Hatam campaigned for Rouhani during the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections.
He has been accused of “acts against national security and membership in illegal Telegram network channels,” one of Hatam’s relatives, Hojat Sharifi, told Ensaf News on September 17.
Hatam was first arrested on June 15, 2009 when he was the secretary of the Islamic Student Society at Buali Sina University in Hamadan, western Iran, for peacefully protesting against the widely disputed outcome of that year’s presidential election. His second arrest took place in Tehran in December 2009 by agents of the intelligence ministry.
Hatam spent 16 months in prison until August 2013 for two convictions by the Revolutionary Court based on the charge of “propaganda against the state.” The first conviction occurred in 2009, for which he was issued a four-month prison sentence, and the second took place in 2010, for which he was issued a one-year prison sentence.
*This article was updated on September 29, 2017 to reflect that Siavash Hatam was released on bail.