Iranian security forces have detained hundreds of people as protesters in the country’s southeast marked the first anniversary of the killing of scores of demonstrators in the region, according to a human rights group.
Haalvsh, a group that monitors rights violations in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province, said on October 2 that at least 216 people, including minors, had been arrested across the region since September 30.
At least 104 people were killed when security forces gunned down protesters in the provincial capital, Zahedan, on September 30 last year, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights organization.
It was single deadliest day of the monthslong antiestablishment protests that rocked Iran last year. The violence in Sistan-Baluchistan, which is home to Iran’s Baluch ethnic minority, has been referred to as “Bloody Friday.”
Scattered protests have been held in cities and towns across the province in recent days, including in Zahedan, Chabahar, Khash, and Mirjaveh, according to Haalvsh.
The rights group said it has identified 121 of those detained, including 38 minors. Haalvsh said the condition and whereabouts of those detained were unclear.
Iranian officials have not commented on the reported detentions in Sistan-Baluchistan, a restive and impoverished province that borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Members of the Baluch minority, many of whom are Sunni Muslims in Shi’a-majority Iran, have long faced disproportionate discrimination and violence at the hands of the authorities.
Sources in Sistan-Baluchistan told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that several of the wards in Zahedan Prison were emptied ahead of the anniversary of the bloody crackdown. One of those detained in Zahedan Prison told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that the detention facility was now overflowing with detainees.
Among those detained in recent days were employees of the Darul Uloom madrasah, or Islamic seminary, and the Makki Mosque in Zahedan.
The associates and relatives of Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s top Sunni cleric, have also been arrested in recent months.
Abdolhamid, the outspoken Friday Prayer’s leader in Zahedan, has publicly criticized the authorities for alleged human rights abuses and repression of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities.
Abdolhamid said senior officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were responsible for the bloodshed in Zahedan last year, saying security forces shot “indiscriminately” at people after raiding the central mosque in the city and the nearby Great Mosalla, a religious site.
Sources in Sistan-Baluchistan told Radio Farda that Abdolhamid, whose popularity has soared, has been the subject of “intimidation and threats” from the authorities.
Source » rferl