Iranian security forces have arrested a woman after a photo of her and another woman eating at a restaurant in Tehran without their headscarves was widely shared online, her family said on Friday. The photo emerged on Wednesday showing the two women having breakfast at a cafe which, like most cafes in Iran, is traditionally frequented by men.
One of the women in the photo, Donya Rad, was arrested shortly after the photo was posted online. CNN spoke to her sister who said security agencies contacted Donya and summoned her to explain her actions.
“After visiting the designated place where she was arrested, after a few hours without news, Donya told me on a brief call that she had been transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison,” said her sister at CNN. Tehran’s Evin Prison is a notoriously brutal facility where the regime incarcerates political dissidents and is exclusively for prisoners managed by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.
CNN has contacted Iranian authorities about the alleged arrests.
In recent days, security forces have reportedly arrested several influential Iranians, including writer and poet Mona Borzouei, Iranian footballer Hossein Mahini and the daughter of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Faezeh Rafsanjani.
Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour was also arrested this week after posting a harrowing song based on tweets shared by Iranians expressing feelings about why people are protesting, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights..
Hajipour’s song “For…” has gone viral online, receiving millions of views and being widely shared among Iranians inside and outside the country.
On the cover of the daily Hamshahri, the official newspaper, on Thursday, the headline was “Celebrities of the Disruption” with a photo of former footballer Ali Karimi alongside notable Iranian actors and actresses who have supported the protests. The article says they “are one of the main reasons for recent popular protests”.
“We are not the ones causing the trouble. We are a drop of the people,” Iranian actor Ehsan Karamy said in an Instagram post addressing the authorities’ claims. “Don’t fool people. Go after the diehards who provided the firewood for this fire piece by piece.
The government crackdown continued after nearly two weeks of protests, with dozens killed in clashes between security forces. Iran Human Rights estimates that at least 83 people, including children, were killed in protests following the death of Mahsa Amini.
More than a thousand people linked to the protests were arrested last weekend, according to the official IRNA news agency. At least 28 journalists have been arrested as of Thursday, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Iranian women talk about hijab law and morality police
Amnesty International said on Thursday it was “investigating authorities carrying out mass arrests of protesters and bystanders, as well as journalists, political activists, lawyers and human rights defenders, including human rights activists. women and people from oppressed ethnic minority groups”.
Despite the rising death toll and a fierce crackdown by authorities, videos circulating on social media show protesters calling for the fall of the clerical establishment in the cities of Qom, Rasht and Mashhad.
CNN cannot independently verify claims of arrest or detention. A precise number of protesters arrested or detained is impossible to confirm for those outside the Iranian government. Figures vary among opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists.