Mourning Mothers Arrested in Laleh Park, Tehran

Monday 11 January 2010

Change for Equality: On Saturday afternoon (9th January) a number of the Mourning Mothers and their supporters were once again arrested in Laleh Park in Tehran. According to one of the Mourning Mothers, around thirty women were arrested. “A number of us fled. They stopped the cars of those who had cars and who had gone towards them. The families of those arrested went to the Vozara Detention Centre in order to inquire about their condition. One mother commented that “they read the names out at Vozara. Tomorrow at 9 a.m. all the families and friends are due to meet at Vozara and the judge who is supervising the case will also come.”

The Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has demanded the release of the Mourning Mothers in a statement, in the following words:

“Today at sunset thirty of the Mourning Mothers and their supporters were arrested in Laleh Park and its environs after an assault by over one hundred members of the security forces and plain clothes officers, after which they were transferred to the Vozara Detention Centre.

Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said:

‘In no culture is it acceptable to deal with mothers in such a way, let alone when those who claim to be the defenders of morality are dealing with mothers who have seen their children become victims of injustice. The Islamic Republic of Iran must recognize that the Mourning Mothers and their supporters will be not be satisfied except by an appropriate response to their demands.’ ”

An eyewitness described the arrests of the Mourning Mothers and their supporters to the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in the following manner: “Today at around 4 p.m. I was in Laleh Park. More than a hundred members of the security forces and plain clothes officers had taken up position in the park and its environs. They didn’t allow anyone to sit on the benches, and they prevented the mothers from gathering. Every Saturday the Mourning Mothers and their supporters gather in the park between 5 and 6 p.m. About seventy of the mothers and their supporters were in the park when the security forces began to pursue them and move them out of the park. A number ran away, but they arrested around thirty of them and forced them into police vans. As the mothers were getting into the vans they were treated harshly and roughly. They took one of the mothers, who is seventy-five years old, to hospital.”

The Mourning Mothers was formed in June 2009 after the deaths of Neda Agha-Soltan and Sohrab Arabi, by a number of mothers who had either lost their children or whose children had gone missing. Many civil society activists, women’s rights activists, and especially mothers who have in past years seen their children executed or whose children have disappeared, as well as those whose children are being detained unjustly, have joined the Mourning Mothers. The principal demand of the Mourning Mothers is that the authorities give a proper account of what happened to those who have been killed, to those who have disappeared, and to those of their children who have been unjustly detained.

The Mourning Mothers and their supporters decided in June that from then onwards they would meet every Saturday at a specific time, dressed in black and in silence, until their demands were considered. Their gatherings have consistently been broken up by assaults by security forces, however, and many of them have been arrested.

Concerning the state of those detained in Laleh Park and its environs, the eyewitness told the Campaign that “after the detention of the Mourning Mothers and their supporters, their families and the rest of the mothers went to the Vozara Detention Centre and forced officials to release the names of those arrested. The officials released the names of thirty people. Tomorrow morning all of the mothers and the families of the detainees will go to the Vozara Detention Centre in order to request the release of their friends.”

The Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, stressing the need to satisfy immediately the demands of the Mourning Mothers, called for the immediate and unconditional release of the detainees and requested that the authorities disclose the identities of and prosecute those responsible for the assault on and arrest of the Mourning Mothers.

On Monday 11th January the detained Mourning Mothers were taken by bus from the Vozara Detention Centre to the Revolutionary Court at four p.m.

Their families had likewise gone to the Revolutionary Court. After an hour and a half’s wait outside in the cold and dark, the detainees were transferred to the custody of the security police.

After half an hour two of the mothers, Akram Neghabi and Taj-ol-Moluk Izadi, who are both at least seventy years old and physically frail, were released. As Ms. Izadi, who is seventy-six , was getting into the police van, she was subjected to rough treatment and was lifted off the ground by her hair. The doctor who treated the two mothers emphasized that it was not right to have arrested them.

At between nine and a quarter to ten, a number of the remaining Mothers were freed having shown their identity cards to the security police. Their names are: Fahimeh Nojavani; Fatemeh Farahani; Mohtaram Karamad-Kermani; Manizheh Taheri; Fereshteh Hadeli; Hakimeh Shokri; Sedigheh Shokri; Zahra Attar; and Mansoureh Attar.

Fourteen of the mothers were transferred to Evin Prison.


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