Daneshjoonews – While officials have made no arrests of the assailants who committed the recent acid attacks, their intense focus has been detaining those who spoke up against the attacks.
Mahdieh Golru who previously spent 30 months of her youth behind bars for her activism in support of the right to an education, is again in prison since her October 26 arrest by IRGC forces. Authorities have not disclosed the reason for her arrest but it is clear that it is not unrelated to Golru’s presence among crowds demanding that the government apprehend the perpetrators of the acid attacks.
The student activist who was banned from continuing her education at Allameh University is now also deprived of her freedom. We spoke to her friend, journalist Saba Sherdoust about the most recent updates on the condition of Mahdieh Golru.
According to Mrs. Sherdoust, her friend Mrs. Golru was arrested without notice as she was leaving her home on October 26th. She had taken part in a peaceful gathering outside the Tehran parliament building in protest of the recent acid attacks on women in Isfahan.
Mrs. Sherdoust, when and how did Mahdieh Golru get arrested?
Mahdieh was arrested on Sunday October 26th as she was leaving her home to go to work. It appears as though after seizing her, the officials took her back into her home and confiscated her personal items such as her cell phone and laptop computer.
What is the reason for her arrest and which government entity arrested her?
Before her arrest on Sunday, we had gathered across the parliament building on Baharestan Street alongside other women in protest of the acid attacks that had taken place against women in Isfahan. The next day Mrs. Golru got in touch with me and said that several unknown numbers, which she had not been able to answer because she was in her exercise class, had contacted her.
Considering her recent activities, I can say with certainty that Mrs. Golru was arrested for taking part in the rallies against acid attacks on women.
In addition as far as I know, Mrs. Golru’s activities were not political and were strictly geared towards social issues and women’s issues.
Were the security agencies sensitive to the issue of acid attacks or were they concerned about civil society becoming active again?
Both. When the outrage of the people triggered gatherings and turned into civil dissent, opposition to the acid attacks turned into what was deemed as a security issue. Others who were covering the protests were also arrested, among them an ISNA photographer and 2 other members of the press who had reported on the attacks.
On the other hand, the ruling establishment has intensified its pressure on civil activists in general. These events demonstrate that they will not tolerate activists taking any part in the civil arena. The rulers don’t wish see civil rights activists taking part in social issues, cooperating with NGO’s or taking part in non-violent rallies.
The fear of an increase in civil participation has resulted in heightened threats, summons and arrests, causing growing pressures on activists. Of course these conditions also existed during the presidency of Mr. Khatami. Foreign policy in the country moved forward as the internal pressures persisted. This goes on because being active and civil participation could pave the way towards democracy.
Has Mahdieh had any contact with the outside since her arrest and where is she kept?
She has made brief phone contacts about every 5 days to say how she is doing.
Considering she was arrested by the IRGC, she is being kept in the detention units under their control. To date she has not seen her attorney. But her family continues to follow-up on her situation with those in charge and at the prosecutor’s office.