Iran arrests six lawyers for intention to sue officials mismanaging pandemic

Iran’s security forces arrested five lawyers and a civil rights activist Saturday evening. Some sources claim that the group was detained during a meeting on taking legal action against authorities for mismanagement of the pandemic and delay in mass vaccination. Apparently Judicial and security officials wanted to prevent them from filing a lawsuit.

Some activists in recent days have said that the delay in vaccination in Iran has caused the unlawful deaths of thousands of Iranians and called for the prosecution of those responsible. Iran hit another record high in Covid-19 deaths from Saturday to Sunday with 620 casualties in the fifth wave of the pandemic, the health ministry announced on Sunday. In recent days health and hospital officials have been warning of a total breakdown in the healthcare system.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is being held responsible for the current crisis. In January, Khamenei banned US and UK-made vaccines, the only internationally approved vaccines at the time and claimed the pandemic is not a serious issue. Khamenei this month took back what he had said regarding the pandemic and vaccines without acknowledging his poor decisions making has caused thousands of Iranians to die senselessly.

One of the other officials blamed for the situation is Mohammad Mokhber, director a state entity that has developed the only homegrown vaccine approved for emergency use in Iran. Critics say by promising to make millions of vaccines, which have not been delivered, he has caused huge delays in the procurement of foreign vaccines and the vaccination program.

Security forces arrested lawyers Arash Keykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, Mohammad-Reza Faghihi, and activists Mehdi Mahmoudian, Maryam Afra-Afraz, and Leila Heydari while holding a meeting and took them to an unknown location without offering a reason or citing charges, Human Rights News Agency (HRANA), the news website of a group of human rights activists in Iran, and other lawyers reported Sunday.

In Twitter posts Sunday, lawyers Saeed Dehghan and Ali Mojtahedzadeh suggested a possible connection between the arrests and the detainees’ intention to file a lawsuit against the authorities for what Dehghan called the “Covid disaster”. “Arrests before filing a lawsuit is an indication of an increasing fear of [people’s] demand for justice,” he wrote.

Vahid Herovabadi, a pro-Ahmadinejad cleric and activist, also suggested in a Twitter post that the arrests could be in connection with filing a lawsuit against Khamenei and the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce over their alleged responsibility for the delay in mass vaccination of Iranians.

Source: Iran International
Also read: More Than 500 Women Human Rights Defenders Unjustly Imprisoned In Iran

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