December 31, 2018
The whereabouts of at least two individuals arrested in recent weeks in Iran are unknown, while others have been reportedly subject to torture or mistreatment. On October 29, 2018, a woman was arrested at Tehran’s Enqelab (Revolution) Square as she stood in the middle of the square without wearing the compulsory hijab. Videos posted on social media showed that she was arrested by the police. The Iranian authorities did not release her name, and no report has been published regarding her identity, whereabouts or condition. On December 18, 2018, a man dressed in a shroud staged a protest at Kish Island’s Sahel Square. He had sprayed “Long Live the Shah” on the monument at Sahel Square, and he had also written anti-government slogans on his shroud. The videos taken at the scene showed the man voice support for imprisoned labor activists. Police arrested him, and the Iranian authorities have not yet released any details regarding his identity or whereabouts. Some on social media identified the man as Mohammad Reza Azarakhsh, but this cannot be independently verified. The recent custodial death of Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, who had gone on hunger strike to protest his unfair trial and the conditions of his detention, and reports about the torture of Esmail Bakhshi, a labor activist, raise serious concerns about the safety of the detained protesters.
Iranian authorities have also disregarded the pleas of Negin Qedamian for dental treatment. Qedamian, a Bahá’í prisoner held in Evin Prison in Tehran, is suffering from substantial tooth and gum decay. Qedamian has been told that she must receive treatment in prison, but concerns about the sanitation and cost of dental treatment inside Evin Prison has caused her to request a medical leave. The authorities have refused the leave, and they have cited the prison infirmary’s opposition to Qedamian receiving treatment outside the prison as the reason for refusing to grant her request. According to a source familiar with the case, other female prisoners have also been denied medical leaves in recent weeks.