The activists from West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam – all in Western Iran – include Ejlal Ghavami, the spokesman for the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, and Kurdish civil rights activist Dana Seyed-Abbasi, as well as dozens of others.
Three sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they feared reprisals from the Iranian Regime, provided information about those arrested and what they have been charged with.
One source said: “Ghavami was summoned to the FATA office in Sanandaj [capital of Kurdistan Province] to answer questions about the protests in early January 2018 and anti-state posts on Telegram channels.”
On March 25, Ghavami was charged with having ties to and working with forces opposed to the Regime, as well as decimating false and illegal material, based on a complaint from Basij-e Rasaneh, the media arm of Iran’s Basij militia.
The source continued: “[This is] despite the fact that he and Dana Seyed-Abbasi work in the open and publish their criticisms and objections under their own name and have no ties to the alleged channels of Telegram.”
Others who have been summoned include Sabah Hassani, Hashem Hesami, Hiva Yousefi, Soleiman Abdi, Mohammad Abedi, Ali Hosseini, Mozaffar Ebrahimpour, Hassan Mahmoudi, Ata Rahmanzadeh, Loghman Ghoreishi, Hajir Sharifi, Jiar Vahidi, Yaser Ahmadi, Mahmoud Jabbari, Hamdollah Karsaz, Amin Jedari and Habib Majidi.
The source continued: “Some of them were accused of having ties with opposition channels. Others were summoned to the Intelligence Ministry offices and greatly pressured to avoid any activities and plans during Nowruz [Persian New Year] holidays [in March 2018]. Every year, civil rights workers hold Nowruz ceremonies in various cities but none of them were allowed to do it this year. The authorities designated their own places for holding ceremonies approved by the state. We’ve never had this problem before. This was the first time. It’s an unlawful precedent.
hey even banned us from organizing Nowruz events in the villages.”
One civil rights activist who was summoned by the Intelligence Ministry in Ilam, said he was even told that Nowruz events were un-Islamic and that the Regime would “take strong action against” those celebrating.
While a civil rights activist who was summoned by FATA in Kermanshah has denied any ties to anti-state social media networks.
He said: “I have never had any connection with Kurdish or non-Kurdish Telegram channels opposed to the state but the authorities paid no attention to my explanations and said they would file a case against me after the New Year [March 20].”