Thursday , 19 September 2019

Second Women’s Charity Group Member Who Assisted Flood Victims Is Arrested

CHRI – Both Women Being Held for Unknown Reasons at Evin Prison

A second senior member of the charity group Voice of Iranian Women (VIW), which has been involved in aid and rescue operations during the recent devastating floods in southwestern Iran, has been arrested for unknown reasons. Nahid Shaghaghi, who has also worked to combat violence against women, was taken away by security agents on May 15, 2018.

“Nahid called us this morning [May 15, 2019] and said there are security agents at her front door,” Shaghaghi’s brother, Kaveh Shaghaghy (who spells his last name differently), wrote on his Instagram page.

“When I got to her house I saw the door had been broken and no one was home. We don’t know where she is or even who arrested her. We went to Evin Prison and her local police station to ask what had happened to her but we didn’t get any information. We are worried,” Kaveh added.

On May 16, VIW’s channel on the Telegram messaging app reported that Shaghaghi was being interrogated in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, which is under the control of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.

Shaghaghi has given presentations on the subject of violence against women at VIW seminars in recent years, most recently on March 8, 2019, marking International Women’s Day.

Her arrest comes nearly three weeks after another senior VIW member, Akram Nasirian, was taken into custody by unidentified security agents in Tehran on April 29.

Nasirian had also worked as a volunteer in flood-impacted areas of the country and had volunteered as a literacy instructor with VIW, which focuses on educating women, child laborers and the children of Afghan refugees in Iran.

She, too, is being held in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, reportedly accused of “promoting non-observance of the hijab” and “disturbing public opinion,” with no access to legal counsel.

VIW describes its mission as working to “reflect the struggles, defeats and achievements of women in Iranian society and strives to empower women in their quest for a better life in spite of hardships and discrimination.”

The organization has helped Afghan refugees obtain state identification documents and has issued statements on social issues, including acid attacks on women accused of wearing “improper” hijab.

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