Some 300 civil rights activists based in Lorestan province have called for the immediate release of Sepideh Rashnu, a 28-year-old artist and editor held by the authorities over forced hijab.
Rashnu was arrested in mid-July after getting into an argument with a conservative woman over her choice of clothing on a Tehran bus. The other woman filmed the exchange and said she would be sending it to the IRGC.
Two weeks later on Saturday, July 30, Rashnu appeared in a short video that aired on Iranian state TV, swathed in a veil and visibly ashen.
In the film she “confessed” to having contacted Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, who is regarded as an adversary by the Islamic Republic. Pointing to apparent bruising around her eyes, observers said her face bore “the marks of torture”.
Then on August 5 it emerged that a full week before the tape aired, Rashnu had been admitted to Taleghani Hospital with internal bleeding due to beatings by security agents. Eyewitnesses described her as lethargic, with high blood pressure and showing signs of difficulty moving.
In the statement published via Radio Farda on Wednesday, the 300 activists from Rashnu’s home province described themselves as “Men and women from Lorestan, of different walks of life”.
All described the content of the tape shown by the IRIB as “ludicrous” and castigated the show’s producers. They also petitioned judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei to “deal with the criminality of promoters of legalized violence, torture and the broadcasting of forced confessions”.