Prolonged Detention of Iranian Environmental ActivistsPublished by Tirdad on September 10, 2018
Seven environmentalists, who were arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, in January 2018, remain in detention with extremely limited access to legal counsel while their families have no information about any charges against them and their fate.
The detainees, who are former and current staff members of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation, include: Sam Rajabi, Niloufar Bayani, Morad Tahbaz (also holds American citizenship), Amir-Hossein Khaleghi, Taher Ghadirian, Houman Jowkar and Sepideh Kashani, (PHWF).
These detainees have been accused of spying on Iran’s missile sites, under the pretense of environmental activities, but, here is no evidence to support this allegation.
In this regard, the chief of Iran’s Department of Environment, Isa Kalantari, has told Iranian Official Media that the judiciary has warned him to stop asking about environmentalists who have been detained for the past six months.
In an interview with Jomhori Islami News Agency, Isa Kalantari said: “The judiciary has ordered us not to get involved”, on 13 August, 2018.
He continued: “They told us this is none of our business and we shouldn’t pursue it.”
Kalantari added: “The esteemed intelligence minister has repeatedly said there is no evidence that the detainees had spied and yet the judiciary has still not resolved their situation. Almost all of our NGOs are at a standstill because they don’t know to what extent they can operate without being accused of spying.”