IRGC launch night raids on homes of Iran activists, journalists, and lawyers as anti-government protests continue

IRGC launch night raids on homes of Iran activists, journalists, and lawyers as anti-government protests continue
Iranian security forces raided activists and journalists in the middle of the night, spreading fear across Iran as protests continued on the streets and inside the universities.
3 min read
28 September, 2022
Since the outbreak of protests across Iran, the security apparatus has ramped up efforts to curtail popular dissent [Getty Images-file photo]

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian intelligence have continued night raids on the homes of activists, journalists, and lawyers across Iran as anti-government protests continue.

Tehran's crackdown on dissidents entered a new phase last week, when four lawyers - who have defended student, political, and human rights activists - were held by security forces.

The arrests came amid nationwide protests against the country's theocratic rulers following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was being held in custody by Iran's Gasht-e Ershad, better known as the morality police.

"Since last Thursday, at least 14 [Iranian] journalists have been arrested"

Local media reported on Monday that four lawyers - Saeed Jalilian, Milad Panahipour, Mahsa Gholm Alizadeh, and Babak Paknia - were detained by security forces during the night raids.

Sharif University of Technology Islamic Association of Students also announced four of its members - Mohammad Reza Lotfalizadeh, Mohammad Hossein Nourian, Nima Azar, and Javad Shaker - were arrested on the same day in Tehran.

During the past days, at least 38 student activists from Tehran University and 13 from Beheshti University were also arrested.

Iran's student movement has been at the forefront of demands for political change in Iran since the 1960s and has been harshly suppressed by authorities both before and after the 1979 revolution.

Media workers have also been victims in the latest round of arrests with at least 14 journalists detained by security forces and several others summoned for questioning.

Niloofar Hamedi, a journalist for Shargh Daily who had been reporting on those affected by the Gasht-e Ershad's activities since June, was among the first journalists targeted by security forces this week. 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) confirmed the arrest of 14 journalists on Monday and urged authorities to release the media workers immediately.

In a voice message from inside detention, Yalda Moaiery, a photojournalist arrested on 20 September while covering the protests, explained the harrowing conditions inside custody.

"The situation is extremely bad… our life is in danger here," she said in the message, adding that over 100 detainees at the centre were sharing just two toilets.

Several well-known political figures were also detained including Majid Tavakloi, a prominent activist who had already spent seven years in prison. He was arrested again at his home on 22 September.

"At about 1:30 am, the security forces attacked my brother's home, caused fear, and took him away," Majid Tavakoli's brother wrote on Twitter.

"I don't know what you call the scaring of the two-year-old daughter of my brother in the middle of the night."

Activists Hossein Ronaghi, Fatemeh Sepehri, Asgar Akbarzadeh, Saeed Sadeghifar, Mohammadreza Jaleipour, Alireza Khoshbakht, Rouhollah Nakhaei Leila Mir Ghafari, Mehdi Hamidi, and Majid Tavakoli have also been held.

At least 76 protesters have been killed by security forces since unrest erupted over Mahsa Amini's alleged killing by morality police just under two weeks ago, activists say.

Amini's family and witnesses say she was beaten in detention leading to her death after spending several days in a coma.

She had allegedly been held due to her hair not being fully covered and her death sparked protests across the country against Iran's morality police.

The author's name has been withdrawn to protect his identity.