Tweets Against Iran’s Compulsory Hijab Law Land Male Activist in Prison
Political activist Siavash Rezaeian has been told to report to a prison in central Iran for criticizing former Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani, criticizing Iran’s compulsory hijab law, and condemning the state’s suppression of street protests.
“Branch 28 of the Appeals Court in Mazandaran Province upheld a sentence of three months and one day in prison against me for the charges of ‘propaganda against the state,’” Rezaeian, a former student activist, tweeted on April 27, 2019. “Soon I have to report to prison in Amol.”
“After all my years of university activism, I have always been cautious and shied away from trouble!” he added. “The Revolutionary Court has found me guilty for my writings.”
During his preliminary trial at the Revolutionary Court in Amol on December 24, 2018, Rezaeian told the judge, “I did not ‘propagate’ anything. I expressed my opinion but did not cross any red lines.”
In one of his tweets (later removed) that was noted in his indictment, the activist suggested that Larijani had prevented the prosecution of one of his relatives, Habibollah Ardeshir, for hoarding construction material, a source with knowledge about Rezaeian’s case told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on April 30.
A conservative state-funded media outlet had reported on the alleged hoarding in August 2018 without revealing Ardeshir’s name or family ties.
Costs of the materials have sharply risen in Iran due to sanctions and hyperinflation.
Another tweet by Rezaeian that was singled out by the prosecution was about the “Girls of Revolution Street,” a group of female activists who have peacefully opposed Iran’s compulsory hijab law since December 2017, the source told CHRI on condition of anonymity.
“How could you not support the historic movement by the Girls of Revolution Street? I hope all civilized Iranians on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook support this peaceful campaign,” he tweeted on January 29, 2018.
On February 4, 2018, Rezaeian had also tweeted about the December 2017/January 2018 street protests against Iran’s struggling economy and condemned the state’s violent crackdown on Sufi Muslims of the Gonabadi Order.