Iranian officials said they have identified the “International Iran agent” arrested on Thursday as Elham Afkari, the sister of the famous Iranian fighter. Christmas Afkariwho was executed two years ago, according to the state news agency IRNA.
London-based news channel Iran International has become one of the go-to sources for many Iranians looking for news about the country Ongoing protests in the country.
The opposition TV station, which the Iranian intelligence minister on Tuesday called a “terrorist” organization, has denied any association with Elham.
In a statement sent to CNN, the London-based broadcaster said that Elham “is not an employee of Iran International, nor is she an associate or agent of the company.”
His brother, Navid Afkari, was convicted of killing Hassan Torkman, a water company security employee, during a protest in Shiraz in 2018.
Afkari initially confessed to the crime, but in court he retracted those words, arguing that he had been tortured into making a false confession.
“It should be noted that she [Elham Afkari] she is the sister of Navid Afkari, the murderer of the martyr Torkman, an employee of the regional water company of Fars province,” IRNA reported.
“Intelligence operatives have been monitoring Elham Afkari’s activities for the past few years,” IRNA said, adding that “she was one of the main leaders in organizing recent riots.”
State media shared images purportedly showing Elham’s arrest. The footage shows a woman sitting in the back seat of a vehicle with barred windows, a black blindfold over her face.
Saeed Afkari, Elham and Navid’s brother, confirmed his sister’s arrest on Twitter Thursday and said Elham’s three-year-old daughter was also missing.
He later said that Elham had been taken to a department of Iran’s intelligence ministry and that his sister’s wife and daughter had been released.
“Elham has been taken to the 100th intelligence department of the ministry,” he tweeted.
Since Navid Afkari was executed, his family has faced many legal proceedings for their involvement in the 2018 demonstrations.
Vahid Afkari, one of his brothers, remains in solitary confinement, according to the human rights group Iran Human Rights.
Founded in 2017, Iran International has been at the forefront of coverage of the recent demonstrations following the death in custody of mahsa amini – a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman detained by morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.
However, the 24-hour news channel’s coverage of the demonstrations has brought it under the scrutiny of the Iranian government.
This week, Iran International said that two of its British-Iranian journalists working in the UK had been tipped off by police of a “credible” plot by Iran To kill them.
In a statement on Monday, the Farsi-language broadcaster said it was “shocked and deeply concerned” by the alleged lethal threats, while accusing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of being part of a ” significant and dangerous escalation” of the Tehran “campaign”. to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad.”
“Two of our British-Iranian journalists have been notified, in recent days, of increased threats against them,” Iran International said in the statement.
“The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and the lives of their families.”
Iran International did not name the journalists for security reasons.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said that, as of Monday, at least 61 journalists have been arrested in Iran for reasons including covering the protests, reporting on the death of protesters and taking photos of the demonstrations, according to a report by the organization.
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