The Regime is holding (or held) the relatives because they are unable to locate the activists and hope that the activists will turn themselves in to free their relatives, but this is a gross violation of Iranian and international law.
Iranian attorney Mohammad Moghimi said: “One of the main principles of modern law is that… everyone is responsible for their own actions. Ethics, fairness and justice dictate that no one should be punished for another person’s crimes. This principle has been in [Iran’s] Islamic Penal Code for 1,400 years. If we disregard it, we will slip back into ancient times when suspects’ relatives were punished for unrelated crimes.”
Let’s look at those activists whose relatives were arrested in their place.
Kurdish journalist Arsalan Yarahmadi does not cover politics, only human rights in Kurdistan. Still, agents of the Iranian Regime went to his house on the second day of protests in Kermanshah Province (December 30) and arrested his father.
Yarahmadi said: “This is not the first time my family has been harassed. But this time they kept my father in detention for three days and told him that I had insulted and disrespected the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic. This is not true at all.”
He continued: “My activities have nothing to do with my father. How can they detain and harass him? This is completely inhumane. I will follow up with human rights organizations.”
His father was released on 50 million tomans (approximately $13,600) bail.
Omid Aghdami, a senior member of the Society for the Defense of Children’s Rights in Tabriz, who has been living in exile since November 2017, reported that his mother had been summoned by the Regime to appear at the Intelligence Ministry’s office in Tabriz, on January 21, where she was interrogated for six hours.
He said: “They asked her questions about my exact location since I escaped Iran and about the people who have visited our house. They accused my mother of helping me escape and threatened to prosecute her… She has been banned from leaving the city.”
Aydin Mohsennejad, art student and editor-in-chief of Jame’eh (Society) magazine, a student publication, was wanted by the Iranian Regime in early January. Agents raided his house without a warrant on January 5 and confiscated some of his belongings, but after failing to locate Aydin, they took his father to the Central Prison in Khoy, West Azerbaijan Province, instead.
This is a clear tactic of intimidation by the Iranian Regime, who are trying to crush the protests in Iran.