Free the Mourning Mothers and Account for their Grievances
(9 January 2010) Security forces attacked and detained 30 members of Mourning Mothers in Laleh Park and surrounding streets in Tehran today at around 4 p.m. local time, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported. Mourning Mothers is a group of mothers whose children have been killed in recent events. More than a hundred police and plain clothes agents attacked today’s gathering and transferred the detainees to the Vozara Detention Center in Tehran.
“No culture permits such violence to be unleashed against mothers. How can this government, which claims to have moral and religious authority, treat mothers who have lost their children in such a way? The Iranian officials should know that the activities of Mourning Mothers will not stop until their legitimate grievances are properly addressed,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
An eyewitness, in an exclusive interview with the Campaign, described today’s event as the following:
“I was in Laleh Park today around 4 p.m. More than a hundred police and plain clothes agents had occupied the park and its perimeter. They would not allow anyone to even sit on the benches or congregate. Every Saturday, the Mourning Mothers and their supporters gather in the Park. Today after about 70 mothers had entered the park, security forces engaged them and started chasing them, grabbing them, and forcing them into police vans. They used a lot of violence and insults in the process. One of the mothers who is 75 years old has been taken to a hospital.”
After the killing of Neda Agha Soltan and Sohrab Aarabi by government forces during the summer protests, Mourning Mothers was formed by women whose children have been killed recently and their supporters. Many civil society activists as well as mothers whose children had been executed in previous years, as well as mothers whose children have been arbitrarily detained or disappeared at the hands of the security and intelligence forces have joined the group. The group’s principle demand is for the authorities to be accountable for the deaths, disappearances, and detentions of their children.
The eyewitness told the Campaign that: “After the detentions of the Mothers, their families and other members of the group went to the Vozara Detention Center and forced the officials there to confirm and provide them the names of the detainees. The officials announced 30 names to them. Tomorrow, family members and their supporters will go back to demand their release from the judge in charge.
The Campaign called on the judicial authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all the detainees and to identify and prosecute all of the agents responsible for the attack and detention of the Mourning Mothers.