Iran: targeting family members of WHRDs to silence feminist voices

30.10.19

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is dismayed by reports of the recent arrest of Ali Alinejad, who is the brother of prominent human rights defender Masih Alinejad, who is the focal point for an ongoing campaign against forced hijab, the #whitewednesdays campaign

Masih Alinejad is an Iranian women human rights defender, is well- known Iranian American journalist, author, and activist. The prominent journalist and women’s rights activist who actively campaigns against Iran’s compulsory hijab laws, has founded the “My Stealthy Freedom” and “White Wednesdays” campaigns which challenge Iran’s veiling laws. Alinejad currently works as a presenter/producer at VOA Persian Service, a correspondent for Radio Farda, a frequent contributor to Manoto television, and a contributing editor to IranWire. She reported on twitter on 27 September, 2019 that her brother was arrested by the Islamic Republic's Intelligence Ministry on 23 September following a raid at his house in Tehran. The detaining authorities have also confiscated his computer and cellphone. 

His arrest comes as a result of sharing a video where he described harassment that he and his family have been facing from the security forces, in an effort to make them publicly denounce Masih Alinejad’s activities. 

According to his sister’s reports, he has yet to be released and is currently being detained in solitary confinement and denied access to a lawyer. 

GCHR stands in solidarity with all the WHRDs in Iran, and calls on the Iranian authorities to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ali Alinejad, and any relative of Alinejad family who were arrested due to Masih Alinejad activism;
  2. Refrain from using official security forces to harass the Alinejad family or any other relatives;
  3. Stop arbitrarily arresting of the family members of human rights defenders and using them as bait in an effort to silence them, restrict their peaceful human rights activities, and end the feminist movement in the country.

For more information about the human rights situation in Iran, please visit: https://www.gc4hr.org/country/index/country/12