Mother of Detained Labor Rights Activist Calls for Daughter’s Freedom: “I Ask You All to Be Our Voice”
On May 9, 2022, Anisha Asadollahi and her husband, Keyvan Mohtadi, both labor rights activists, were arrested by security forces in Tehran after serving as translators for two French nationals who were arrested a few days later.
Teachers in Iran had been waging large protests throughout the country demanding better pay and the release of their imprisoned colleagues for years, yet Iranian authorities accused the two French nationals, who had entered the country legally, of fomenting unrest.
In a video message published by Radio Zamaneh, Asadollahi’s mother, who is unnamed in the video, has implored media outlets to speak out for her daughter and son-in-law.
“Doesn’t Iran consider itself a proud member of the International Labor Organization, the ILO?” she said in the video dated June 27, 2022. “Why do you arrest the country’s brightest to compensate for your own ineptitude and incompetence?”
For its detainment and imprisonment of teachers’ rights advocates and violent repression of peaceful labor rights activism, 2,000 signatories from Iran and around the world have called on the International Labor Organization to revoke Iran’s membership.
Following is a translation by the Center for Human Rights in Iran of Asadollahi mother’s plea.
I’m Anisha Asadollahi’s mother. On May 9, the security forces raided Anisha’s home and arrested her along with her husband Keyvan Mohtadi.
My daughter has a degree in electrical engineering… and she works as a teacher and translator. Everyone who knows Anisha knows her as a learned, kind, committed person with strong principles and morals. It has been 48 days since my daughter’s arrest, 33 of which she spent in solitary confinement. Her husband Keyvan has had a similar fate. Why? For being translators for two French nationals invited into the country by the Islamic Republic, and engaging in labor affairs?
Doesn’t Iran consider itself a proud member of the International Labor Organization, the ILO? Haven’t you got a heart? Don’t you have children? If they locked up your child in a room for two days you would turn the world upside down.
Why do you arrest the country’s brightest to compensate for your own ineptitude and incompetence? I appeal to all who feel a sense of responsibility, and have a media outlet, to join me in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of my daughter Anisha Asadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi. Prison is not where translators and writers belong. Our children’s only crimes are humanism and patriotism. I ask you all to be our voice. Thank you.