Iranwire – In the early dawn on the morning of December 15, Iranian security forces knocked on apartment doors in Ekbatan and Apadana, two western suburbs of Tehran.
Within two hours, about 40 residents were detained, an informed source tells IranWire.
Saghar Ebrahimi, 41, was among them. Her crime: collecting money to buy medical supplies for people wounded by the security forces during the ongoing nationwide wave of protests.
Demonstrators avoid treatment in the country’s unsafe medical facilities for fear of being detained, tortured, prosecuted or killed.
More than one week after her arrest, it remains unclear what charges Saghar is facing.
“They are very cautious and very scared”
The IranWire source, a person close to the family whom we shall call Aida to protect her safety, says that plainclothes agents stormed the home of Saghar’s parents at around 3 a.m., searched the apartment and questioned her before taking her away without showing any warrant or ID.
The security forces also confiscated Saghar’s laptop, her two mobile phones, some of her books and her personal notebook that contained notes about her everyday tasks, job-related appointments and passwords to her online accounts.
“These are the things that I know they took, and I have no idea if they confiscated other things as well,” says Aida. “Her family don’t want to talk on the phone and no information is exchanged. They are very cautious and very scared. At this moment, all members of Saghar’s family are silent.”
Saghar is one of four sisters in the Ebrahimi family. She has a master’s degree in sociology from Azad University of Rudehen, Tehran Province, according to Aida.
She was married for six years until she divorced, has no children and lives with her parents.
Saghar mostly did office work, usually using her computer at home.
During the protests that erupted more than three months ago, Saghar and other Ekbatan residents formed a group to collect money and buy medical necessities such as bandages for the injured demonstrators.
However, Saghar “never participated in demonstrations.”
“Saghar, who is very cautious, always cared a lot about her family so she never joined protests. A couple of times she was trapped in a crowd. She said, ‘It was such a mayhem that I could not run, and they were beating people so hard that I felt horrible. I can’t run and if I stay in the street among the demonstrators something bad would happen to me.’ So, she never participated in the protests.”
Aida says that the night before Saghar was arrested, “security agents raided the home of a resident of Ekbatan and arrested him.”
“Like Saghar, he was arrested in secret so that nobody would learn about it. By inspecting his mobile phone, the agents got their hands on some names and immediately looked for them.”
“Don’t tell anybody about anything”
The plainclothes agents who arrested Saghar told the family, “Don’t tell anybody about anything and don’t tell the media about her arrest. We take Saghar with us, ask her a few questions, which would last two or three days because it is the weekend.”
They also said that the family were not allowed to hire a lawyer “until we tell you that you can.”
Saghar’s mother believes that the security forces are eavesdropping on her apartment’s landline and refuses to divulge any information on the phone.
The agents did not say anything about where they were taking Saghar, but in a very short telephone call late at night on December 15, she told her parents she was being held at Tehran’s Evin Prison.
“They have given us food and a place to sleep. Don’t worry about me. I am OK,” Aida quoted her as saying.
Hoping that her daughter might call again, Saghar’s mother “has not left home since the day when they took her away.”
Saghar’s elder sister went to Evin Prison to ask whether the family could visit their loved one, but the officials refused to confirm whether she was incarcerated there.
In another very short phone conversation on December 21, Saghar again told her relatives not to worry and that her case might be completed within 10 to 20 days.
“Saghar’s parents have been threatened and terrorized so much that they repeatedly beg everybody not to say anything about her, not to the media and not even to the relatives.”