Supporters of Detained Workers’ Rights Activists Arrested Outside Courthouse
The family of labor activist Roham Yeganeh has not heard from him since he was arrested in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on August 3, 2019, his mother, Atieh Nouri, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 6.
Yeganeh and several others were trying to attend the trial of six workers’ rights activists and journalists who are being prosecuted under national security charges for peacefully attending or covering protests at the Haft Tappeh sugar mill near the city of Shush, in Khuzestan Province.
At least two others—Hirad Pirbodaghi and Farid Lotfabadi—were also detained in front of the courthouse, according to the Haft Tappeh workers’ Telegram app channel.
All three were taken to court the following day and charged with “disturbing public order.”
“On August 5, I went to Evin Prison to ask about my son’s situation and when I asked to see Mr. Khodabakhshi, the assistant prosecutor of Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison, he unfortunately refused and said the detainees were going to pay a heavy price because news of their arrest has been all over social media,” Nouri said.
“If news about my son’s arrest has filled social media, why is that his fault? He’s in prison,” she said. “Even when I post something, it’s only because I’m worried about him. I’m a mother. I’m worried about my child. What has that got to do with his case?”
On August 3, indictments were read at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court against labor activists Esmail Bakhshi, Ali Nejati, and Sepideh Qoliyan (also known as Gholian), along with journalists Amirhossein Mohammadifar, his wife Sanaz Allahyari, Ali (Amir) Amirgholi, and Asal Mohammadi.
Roham Yeganeh, 24, works as an animator and film editor. His mother told CHRI that she ultimately confirmed that he was being held at the Vozara Detention Center, where he is being denied visitors.
“I’m asking the judicial authorities to allow me to be informed about my son’s situation and to let me see him,” she told CHRI. “I also want to know why he has been charged. He didn’t chant slogans. He didn’t cause any commotion. I’m just worried about him as any mother would be.”
The Haft Tappeh Telegram channel reported on August 5 that Farzaneh Zilabi, the lawyer representing Bakhshi’s and Nejati, had also been summoned to court.
On August 3 and 4, Zilabi was by Bakhshi’s side when he was questioned by presiding Judge Mohammad Moghiseh.
“Bakhshi and his lawyer [Farzaneh Zilabi] objected to Judge Moghiseh’s unlawful approach when he caused a commotion with his insults from the start,” said a posting by the channel.
“In reaction, Judge Moghiseh, who did not observe even the most basic court procedures, hurled more abusive words,” it added.