IRAN: Assyrian woman Bianka Zaia arrested after criticizing the Ayatollahs’ repressive regime

TEHRAN — According to information obtained by the Chicago-based Assyrian Policy Institute (API), the 38-year-old Assyrian woman Bianka Zaia has been detained in Tehran, Iran. Police raided her house on November 26, 2022, and her arrest is likely related to the recent countrywide protests against Iranian authorities. The API reports that Bianka Zaia is held in Section 209 of Evin Prison, where many of Iran’s political prisoners are held. Zaia is allowed limited contact with her family.

Satellite TV channel AGN TV reports the arrest came after Zaia published an Instagram post criticizing the Iranian regime.

Read Also: Bet-Tamraz couple flees Iran after combined 15 years prison sentence for teaching Christianity

Protesters in Iran have taken to the streets for months now after the arrest of Mahsa Amini in September 2022. Amini was arrested by Iran’s notorious morality police, allegedly for wearing the hijab improperly. She died in police custody. Mass protest erupted afterwards.

The current protests are one of civil disobedience directed directly against the authoritarian regime of the Ayatollahs. Tens of thousands of protesters across the country are calling for more rights for women and civil liberties. The crackdown on the demonstrators by the repressive Shiite authorities has led to the deaths of hundreds of people. Many thousands have been injured and arrested.

Several tens of thousands of Assyrians still live in Iran, mainly in Tehran and in the country’s northeast in the regions of Urmia and Salmas.

Read Also: A brief history of Christianity in Iran and Iran’s Mostly Forgotten Christian Heritage