Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities to release a group of women who were beaten and arrested during a peaceful vigil in Tehran at the weekend.
The 33 women, members of a group known as the 'Mourning Mothers', were seized during their weekly Saturday meeting in Laleh Park, Tehran, according to media reports. All 33 women are now being held in Tehran’s Vozara Detention Centre. Several of the women were beaten and 10 were taken to hospital. Nine of the women are believed to suffer from illnesses, increasing concern for their well-being.
The 'Mourning Mothers' are women whose children have been killed, disappeared or detained in post-election violence in Iran since last June, and their supporters. The group meets in silence for an hour each Saturday near the place and time of the killing of protester Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death was shown in footage circulated around the world in July.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said:
"Women who are grieving for children killed by security personnel should be able to count on support from the state to uncover the truth about what happened and to ensure redress for them, not face arbitrary detention and beatings.
"These women should be released immediately and unconditionally and an investigation launched into their treatment."