A group of civilians in the city of Abdanan, Ilam province, in western Iran, took to the streets on 1 February to protest against the arrest and issuance of prison sentences for two civilians from the city, Sajjad Moradivandan and Ayat Arefinia.

During the protests, which lasted until midnight, protesters chanted slogans calling for the immediate release of detainees.

In an interview with Iranian state media on 2 February, the Public Prosecutor of Ilam said that at least ten civilians were arrested and five were injured during the protests.

Mohammad Cheraghi and Saman Moradivandan were among the civilians arrested by security forces in Abdanan. They were taken to an undisclosed location, Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned.

Security forces surrounded the family home of political activist Pazhar Maleki, who lives outside Iran, under the pretext that he had published the call for the protests in Abdanan.

The forces fired tear gas and pellet shots at family members of the political activist at home, injuring several members of the family.

Reportedly, since 1 February, internet speeds in Abdanan dropped drastically and tight security measures were taken in the city.

Security agencies also threatened civilians by phone to prevent the protests from continuing, KHRN has learned.

Arefinia, a lawyer and director of the “Abdanan Dar Gozar-e Zaman” Telegram channel, was arrested by security forces in Tehran on 31 October and is currently held in Ilam Prison.

In the past few days, the Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Ilam – presided over by Judge Rajab Mohammadi – sentenced him to six years in prison, three of which is suspended, on charges of “forming groups aimed at disrupting the security of the country” and to seven months and 15 days in prison for alleged “activities and propaganda against the state” through his Telegram channel.

He has also been sentenced to a two-year ban on leaving the country.

Moradivandan, who had left Abdanan in the past few months for fear of arrest, was arrested by security forces in Masjed Soleyman, Khuzestan province, on 31 January and taken to an undisclosed location.