Responding to reports that at least six young human rights defenders, including Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Faraji, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand have been detained in coordinated arrests across Iran on 1 February, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said:
“These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
“The coordinated nature of these arrests confirms our grave concerns about the grim reality for those defending human rights in Iran today, where peaceful activism is repressed and criminalized by the authorities. These people are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully defending human rights.
“These arrests are only the latest episode in a long crackdown on any form of human rights work in Iran, intended to wipe out the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in the country. We urge the Iranian authorities to stop this attack on human rights defenders and allow them to work in a safe environment without fear of reprisals.”