Intelligence Agents Raid Nasrin Sotoudeh’s Home, Taking Pins as Evidence
“They’re going to use the pins as criminal evidence, as if they had found bombs”
Iranian security agents raided the homes of detained human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, her sister-in-law, Fatemeh Khandan, and civil rights activist Mohammad Reza Farhadpour on August 18, 2018.
“They came into the house at eight in the morning when the kids were sleeping and turned everything upside down,” Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “They took away some things, like pins that had ‘I’m Against Forced Hijab’ written on them.”
The raid was carried out by three agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry who had a warrant from Branch 7 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison in Tehran.
Sotoudeh has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison since June 13, 2018, and is facing national security charges for serving as the lawyer of detainees held on politically motivated charges, including women who have taken off their headscarves in public as a form of civil disobedience.
On August 22, 60 members of the European Parliament called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to forcefully work for Sotoudeh’s “unconditional release.”
The intelligence agents also raided the home of Khandan’s sister, Fatemeh, on August 18.
“My sister’s family were so terrified that they didn’t even ask the agents to show a search warrant,” Khandan told CHRI. “In the end, the agents didn’t find anything but they took away satellite television receivers like the ones you can find in every home. They just wanted to intimidate an ordinary Iranian family who has never engaged in political activities.”
Satellite TV is banned in Iran but many Iranians use them at their homes.
“They want to silence us by putting pressure on my relatives and neighbors,” he added. “My sister had never encountered armed agents with walkie-talkies.”
“One of the agents wedged his foot in the door and they forced their way inside,” said Khandan. “When my nephew woke up, he saw a burly man with a gun standing over his head. He thought maybe his father had done something and they had come to get him.”
Khandan told CHRI that the Intelligence Ministry agents also confiscated pins with slogans against Iran’s compulsory hijab law when they went to Farhadpour’s home.
“They’re going to use the pins as criminal evidence, as if they had found bombs,” he said. “They’re spending all this time and money going around the city and searching homes for pins.”
Khandan said that Sotoudeh threatened to go on hunger strike after hearing about the raids, “Nasrin said she won’t stay silent and if it happens again, she will go on a hunger strike.”
Seven other human rights lawyers have also been arrested, summoned to court or blocked from taking on clients since February 2018 in a crackdown aimed at disabling defense attorneys from properly defending detainees held on political charges.
*This article was revised on August 27, 2018, to note in the headline that pins, not hairpins, were confiscated as “evidence.”