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This Iranian-Canadian’s cousin was arrested suddenly in Iran. He wants you to know her name to protect her

This Iranian-Canadian’s cousin was arrested suddenly in Iran. He wants you to know her name to protect her

On Monday, a bunch of eight safety police confirmed up at Semiramis Babaei’s residence in Tehran with a clean warrant, then used her brother’s telephone to ship a textual content urging her to return residence, in line with her household in Canada.

Nobody has heard from the award-winning writer and playwright since.

Her cousin, who lives in Vancouver, realized the information when he awoke at 4:30 a.m. PT and checked Instagram. He noticed a message from household in Iran concerning the arrest.

“I used to be horrified,” mentioned Amir Bajehkian, 38, who lives close to False Creek in Olympic Village.

He’s one in every of many Iranian-Canadians who stay with a sickening worry for relations again in Iran, as they watch ongoing uprisings finish in violence and mass arrests — and now, a minimum of one execution. 

Bajehkian needs the world to know his cousin’s title to maintain a highlight on her state of affairs. He believes that may assist shield her.

‘Change-makers’ a goal

Iran has been rocked by a nationwide rebellion towards the Islamic regime, touched off by the demise of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini whereas within the custody of Iran’s infamous morality police on Sept. 16, 2022.

There have been a number of reviews of demonstrators disappearing after they’re tracked and arrested by safety forces.

Bajehkian says household who noticed the arrest warrant say it didn’t state his cousin’s title, and that the fees she could face had been unclear.

“I really feel powerless on this state of affairs,” Bajehkian mentioned.

He says he’s been fearful for household again in Iran, particularly his flame-haired cousin, whose performs and writings are rebellious. He says Babaei produced award-winning theatre and translated Western classics into Farsi.

“She was this very sassy, humorous character,” he mentioned.

Individuals maintain up a photograph of Iranian girl Mahsa Amini as they take part in a protest towards Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi outdoors of the United Nations on Sept. 21 in New York Metropolis. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Pictures)

“They’re going after those that are change-makers — lights within the darkness,” mentioned Bajehkian.

Safety forces have cracked down — killing lots of and injuring hundreds, in line with Amnesty Worldwide.

WATCH | Iran executes protester:

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Iran executes 23-year-old man over anti-government protests

Iran has executed a 23-year-old protester, the primary recognized execution of an individual associated to current mass anti-government protests. Because the regime cracks down, there are fears for others who’ve obtained demise sentences.

On Dec. 3, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed Iran’s Islamic Republic for shielding rights and freedoms, defending the ruling system as justified in cracking down on anti-government protests, which have price greater than 300 lives, in line with Reuters.

However worldwide human rights teams say that demise estimate is low, and that Canada must push again.

The Canadian authorities imposed new sanctions on Friday, one day after the execution of protester Mohsen Shekari.

Shekari, 23, was accused of blocking a road on Sept. 25 and wounding a member of the pro-regime Basij militia in early protests triggered by Amini’s demise.

Iranian-Canadian human rights advocate Nazanin Afshin-Jam condemns the execution calling Shekari’s trial a “sham.”

She says Iran hanged him after he was discovered responsible of “waging warfare towards God.”

“The second his mom came upon there’s video of her on the road wailing on the prime of her lungs. It’s completely heartbreaking,” mentioned Afshin-Jam, who based the volunteer group Cease Youngster Executions, from an interview in Nova Scotia.

“That is fully a political execution in an effort to ship a message to peaceable protesters to halt their rebellion,” she mentioned.

“If the worldwide neighborhood doesn’t act with a powerful response, it offers licence to hold out additional executions. At the least 10 others are at imminent danger of execution, together with a doctor and his spouse who had been aiding a wounded protester.”

Numbers are unclear

Arrest and demise counts associated to the Iranian rebellion stay extremely contentious.

Amnesty Worldwide UK says a leaked audio file obtained by BBC Persian estimated there have been round 15,000 arrests with many “subjected to enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention, torture and different in poor health therapy, and unfair trials.”

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Naz Gharai, from Tehran, is roofed in pink paint as protesters name on the United Nations to take motion towards the therapy of girls in Iran throughout an illustration close to UN headquarters in New York Metropolis on Nov. 19. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Pictures)

Oslo-based non-governmental group Iran Human Rights says the nation’s safety forces have killed a minimum of 458 protesters, together with 63 kids.

On Dec. 9, Amnesty Worldwide reported it had confirmed the deaths of a minimum of 44 kids killed by Iran’s safety forces since September.The deaths had been attributed to pictures, steel pellets, beatings — and in a single case, a lady was struck within the head by a tear fuel canister.

Amnesty Worldwide confirms 21 susceptible to demise penalty

An inventory of 21 Iranians susceptible to execution has been confirmed by Amnesty Worldwide.

The listing included six males charged with “enmity towards God” or “corruption on Earth,” of which 5 had been already sentenced and referred to the Revolutionary Court docket in Tehran for a bunch trial.

They embody Mohammad Ghobadlou, Saman Seydi (Yasin), Saeed Shirazi, Mohammad Boroughani, Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou, and Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharagholou.

Three others — Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh, Mahan Sedarat Madani and Manouchehr Mehman-Navaz — face separate trials. In accordance with Amnesty eight of those instances contain “no accusations of intentional killing,” and stem from alleged vandalism, arson, property destruction or disturbing public order.”

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Amnesty Worldwide says a minimum of 44 kids have been killed by safety forces in Iran since uprisings started within the wake of Amini’s demise. (Amnesty Worldwide )

Eleven extra individuals — together with married couple Farzaneh Ghare-Hasanlou and Hamid Ghare-Hasanlou — are accused of “corruption on earth” earlier than a Revolutionary Court docket in Karaj, Alborz province, in line with Amnesty.

And 26-year-old Parham Parvari, who was additionally charged with “enmity towards God” after being arrested as he was returning residence from work throughout protests within the capital Tehran.

Afshin-Jam believes the estimates of what number of have died or are susceptible to the demise penalty are low.

She says 28 individuals are dealing with expenses that might carry the demise penalty, together with two kids and Iranian rapper Saman (Yesin) Seyedi, 24.

She says the Heart for Human Rights in Iran is reporting 475 individuals have been killed and 18,000 arrested since September.

She is urging world nations to chop ties with Iran and freeze the property of regime officers and their households together with 83-year-old Supreme Chief Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.

“This can be a pink line that should not be crossed,” she mentioned.

Iranian-Canadians with household in danger

For Amir Bajehkian, naming and publicizing as many individuals in danger as doable holds energy.

“It is extremely necessary as a result of what the regime needs is for individuals to overlook about who’s behind the partitions of prisons. You need to speak about it,” he mentioned.

However he is aware of there’s worry within the Iranian neighborhood.

Bajehkian has been advocating for human rights in Iran on Canadian streets organizing rallies and protests since 2009 realizing it will put him in danger. He hasn’t returned to Iran in 17 years.

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Babaei is an award profitable author, playwright and translator in Tehran. Nobody has heard from her since she was apprehended. (Semiramis Babaei/Fb)

After vanished, the Iranian Playwrights’ Affiliation issued a press release condemning her arrest, demanding her launch and denouncing “all types of intimidation, violence, and restriction on freedom of speech within the society.”

Bajehkian needs his cousin launched from Evin jail in Tehran, the place he believes she is being held.

He is aware of that’s the place Iran’s regime usually holds political prisoners and the place Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed again in 2003.

So he’s shouting his cousin’s title.

“Silence isn’t the reply,” he mentioned. 

“Positively what’s introduced us to this second was 4 a long time of the world trying the opposite manner.”

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Amir Bajehkian (birthday boy in white striped shirt) celebrates a childhood birthday in Tehran, Iran, with household and his cousin, Babaei (the younger woman in inexperienced on the proper). (Submitted by Amir Bajehkian)