Call for the release of political prisoners until the end of COVID-19 pandemic
Simultaneous with the anniversary of the November 2019 uprising and fearful of the eruption of popular protests, the regime’s suppressive forces arrested a large number of freed political prisoners and families of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). They also summoned others and warned them against any activities on the anniversary of the uprising.
On November 11, 2020, Intelligence Ministry agents in Sonqor (Kermanshah Province) raided the homes of several former political prisoners, including Saeed Asghari, 51, Saeed Samimi, 24, and Kasra Bani-Ameriyan, 24, and arrested and took them to Evin Prison in Tehran. They had been previously arrested in March 2018 and released two months later after being interrogated at Evin’s Ward 209, when they posted bond. Bani-Ameriyan was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. Imprisoning him, especially after the spread of Coronavirus, puts him at grave risk.
Simultaneously, Alireza Salar and Seyyed Reza Zargar, PMOI family members, were imprisoned in October 2020 in Semnan. Zargar was a political prisoner in the 1980s and was imprisoned for six years in Evin and Semnan prisons. His brother, Davood, was among those executed in Evin during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Salar’s brother, Alireza, was a PMOI member killed in 1983 in Tehran by the regime.
On Saturday, November 14, Sina Zahiri was arrested in Tehran and taken to Evin Prison. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for sympathizing with the PMOI, serving a two-year term. Also in November, former political prisoner, Hamid Sharif, was detained and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.
In another development, political prisoner Fatemeh Mothana has contracted Typhus fever in Evin Prison, but the authorities refuse to take her to hospital. Imprisoned six years ago, she also suffers from liver problems and severe Colitis. Her health is in grave danger.
The Iranian Resistance again urges the United Nations Secretary General, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteurs, and all human rights organizations to take urgent action to secure the release of political prisoners at least until the end of the Coronavirus pandemic in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. It also calls for the formation of an international fact-finding commission to visit Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners, especially political prisoners.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
November 17, 2020