October 1, 2019
Immediately before security forces stormed his house and arrested him, the brother of an exiled Iranian anti-hijab activist managed to send her a video message lamenting about being under heavy pressure.
The New York-based Masih Alinejad has circulated the video sent by her brother, complaining about the pressure on her family living in northern Iran.
Intelligence agents stormed Ali Alinejad’s house last Tuesday, September 23, ransacked the place, confiscated his laptop and cellphone, handcuffed and blindfolded him before taking him away.
“We have no information about my brother’s whereabouts. My mother and the family members of my brother’s wife are distraught,” Masih Alinejad lamented late Wednesday, asserting, “They have been threatened to remain silent, or else.”
In the videotape immediately recorded before his arrest, Alinejad’s brother disclosed that the whole family was under pressure to testify against Masih and her activities, on Iran’s monopolized state-run television network.
“After talking to the intelligence agents, our mother started crying and saying desperately that the family might relent to pressures and testify against Masih to prevent further arrests,” Ali Alinejad says in the videotape.
In a tweet, Masih Alinejad has divulged that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps intelligence agents had already contacted her parents to force them to appear in front of cameras and denounce her.
Masih Alinejad, 43, is an Iranian-American journalist, author, and an activist. She currently works as a presenter/producer at VOA Persian Service, and a contributor to other foreign-based Persian networks.
Furthermore, she is the founder of the anti-compulsory-hijab “My Stealthy Freedom”, and “White Wednesdays” online campaigns.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has accused Iranian authorities of a “blatant” attempt to intimidate a women’s rights activist by arresting some of her relatives.
Amnesty said in a statement dated September 25 that three members of Masih Alinejad’s family were arrested at their homes in Tehran and in the northern city of Babol.
“These arrests are a blatant attempt by the Iranian authorities to punish Masih Alinejad for her peaceful work defending women’s rights,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Arresting the relatives of an activist in an attempt to intimidate her into silence is a despicable and cowardly move,” he added.