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Arrest of Saeed Shirzad, a children’s rights activist, while aiding earthquake victims in East Azerbaijan

(23 August 2012) – According to reports obtained by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), Saeed Shirzad, an ethnic Kurd and children’s rights activist was arrested in the earthquake-stricken town of Varzaghan in East Azerbaijan province by security agents from the town of Ahar. Agents purportedly arrested Shirzad as he administered aid to earthquake victims in the afternoon of Tuesday, August 21, 2012. Following his arrest, Shirzad was transferred to Ahar prison.

A source close to the events noted that two days following the deadly earthquake that struck some parts of East Azerbaijan in Iran on Saturday, August 11, 2012, Shirzad, along with some other civil activists, gathered in Tehran to coordinate efforts to dispatch aid to the earthquake-stricken region.

This same source indicated that in addition to Shirzad, two of Shirzad’s friends were also arrested. While those two individuals were released that same day, as of the time of this report Shirzad is still in Ahar prison. Based on recent reports from inside the prison, Shirzad is now on hunger strike.

The attached audio file is part of an interview with Saeed Shirzad in which he discusses his activities in support of children’s rights. This interview was recorded prior to Shirzad’s arrest and submitted to IHRDC’s documentation archive several months ago.

According to reports in Farsi-language media, Shirzad is just one of several activists who have been arrested by Iranian authorities while administering aid to East Azerbaijan’s earthquake affected areas. Some activists reportedly arrested after midnight in the early morning of Wednesday, August 22, 2012 in Haris town in East Azerbaijan province include: Vahid Rohani, Vahed Kholoosi, Shayan Vahdati, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, Houman Taheri, Misagh Afshar, and Navid Khanjani.

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Tagged as:

Child Rights, Kurds, Imprisonment