Iran: Leading feminist lawyer 'arrested'

Tehran, 17 July (AKI) - Campaign group Amnesty International said it fears the wave of arrests of human rights activists in Iran is intensifying after a prominent lawyer and feminist, Shadi Sadr, was violently arrested in Tehran on Friday on her way to Friday prayers.

Sadr, 34, was walking with a group of women’s rights activists along a busy road when unidentified plain clothed men pulled her into a car. She lost her headscarf and coat in the ensuing struggle but managed briefly to escape. She was quickly recaptured and beaten with batons before being taken away in the car to an unknown location, Amnesty said.

At least fifteen people reported to have been arrested in the Iranian capital on Friday during street protests in the centre staged by supporters of defeated opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. He and other members of the opposition want a re-run of the 12 June presidential vote which overwhelmingly re-elected hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and which they claim was rigged.

“This was an illegal, arbitrary and violent arrest in which no attempt was made by the authorities to show identification or provide any explanation for their action,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“This is the latest of a continuing series of high profile arrests of Iranians - students, journalists, intellectuals, political and civil society activists – in the wake of protests over the disputed outcome of the presidential election.”

Amnesty International is calling for Sadr to be immediately and unconditionally released.

Two female student protesters were allegedly stabbed near a student dormitory in Tehran on Friday by members of the pro-Ahmadinejad Basij militia, according to reports posted on several blogs.

The street protests took place after weekly Muslim prayers led by influential cleric and Ahmadinejad foe Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at Tehran University on Friday.

At least 20 people died and hundreds were arrested during protests held in the days that followed the disputed 12 June polls, triggering condemnation from western countries.


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