Iranian security forces briefly detain Mahsa Amini’s father

A woman takes part in a protest against the Islamic regime in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in Istanbul, Turkey on December 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dilara Sinkaya // Archive photo Obtaining licensing rights

September 16 (Reuters) – Mahsa Amini’s father was briefly detained on Saturday amid a heavy security force presence on the first anniversary of his daughter’s death in Iranian police custody, sparking months of anti-government protests, human rights groups said.

The Kurdistan Network for Human Rights said that Amjad Amini was warned not to commemorate his daughter’s death before his release. The official IRNA news agency denied the arrest of Amjad Amini, but did not say whether he had been briefly detained or warned.

Earlier, social media and human rights groups reported that security forces had taken up positions around Amini’s home in Saqez, western Iran.

The death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman while in the custody of morality police last year for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code sparked months of protests that represented the biggest show of dissent to the authorities in years.

Many called for an end to more than four decades of rule by Shiite clerics.

According to social media posts, Amini’s parents said in a statement earlier this week that despite government warnings, they would hold a “traditional and religious memorial ceremony” at their 22-year-old daughter’s grave in Saqqez.

Large-scale security forces were deployed in Kurdish-majority areas of Iran on Saturday in anticipation of unrest, according to human rights groups.

Large-scale strikes were also reported in multiple cities in the Iranian Kurdistan region.

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But the Islamic Republic News Agency said that the town of Saqqez, Amini’s hometown, was “completely calm” and that calls for a strike in the Kurdish regions had failed due to “people’s vigilance and the presence of security forces and the army.”

It quoted an official in the Kurdistan region as saying: “A number of agents affiliated with anti-revolutionary groups who planned to cause chaos and prepare media material were arrested in the early hours of this morning.”

Human rights groups said that in the protests that followed Amini’s death, more than 500 people were killed, including 71 minors, hundreds were injured and thousands were arrested. Iran carried out seven executions linked to the unrest.

Amnesty International said in a report last month that Iranian authorities “subject families of victims to arbitrary arrest and detention, impose harsh restrictions on peaceful gatherings at grave sites, and destroy tombstones of victims.”

Many journalists, lawyers, activists, students, academics, artists, public figures and members of ethnic minorities accused of links to the protest wave, as well as relatives of protesters killed in the unrest, were arrested, summoned, threatened or expelled. In the past few weeks, according to Iranian and Western human rights groups.

Iranian daily newspaper Etemad reported in August that Amini’s family lawyer was also facing charges of “propaganda against the regime.” If convicted, Saleh Nakbakht faces a prison sentence of between one and three years.

Editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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