The families of Sunni prisoners on death row were threatened with arrest and the death of their children as they attempted to protest against their death sentences in Iran.
According to reports, the families of 35 Sunni prisoners on death row in Rajai Shahr prison, Ghezel Hesar prison, and Evin prison, were threatened in the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj on Monday.
The families had attempted to plead with the authorities in Sanandaj on a number of occasions, and after making no progress had decided to protest in Tehran to raise awareness for their case.
Upon informing officials in the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj of their intentions to travel to Tehran, they were threatened and warned not to go.
An eyewitness told the 'Baloch Campaign' that an official named 'Rezai', who was in charge of the Sunni prisoners' cases, had made a number of threats to the families.
According to reports, Rezai indicated that the families would be arrested to prevent them from even leaving Sanandaj. He said, "if you proceed to Tehran, we will arrest you in Sanandaj Terminal [Station]."
Rezai further threatened, "If you are able to pass through the Terminal, then any problems along your way are your own responsibility."
He continued, "and if you go to Tehran, you will definitely be faced with the dead bodies of your children."
He also said, "if you go to Tehran, your children will definitely be separated from the rest and transferred to remote prisons, and you will not hear any news about them."
The families of Sunni prisoners have faced numerous threats on previous occasions from the authorities, with many choosing to remain silent for fear of state reprisals.
However, following recent reports of imminent executions and the failing health of several Sunni prisoners on hunger strikes, many of the families are becoming desperate.
A source said, "the families of Hamed Ahmadi, Jahangir and Jamshed Dehghani, and Kamal Molayee [who are on hunger strike] were adamant that whatever happens, we are going to Tehran, and they don't care about the threats."
The 35 prisoners of conscience were all active in preaching Sunni Islam.
They were sentenced to death for charges such as 'enmity against God' following flawed trials using evidence obtained through torture.
The men have denied the charges against them, and say they were arrested as a result of their peaceful religious activities.