Iranian authorities should immediately stop harassing and threatening the families of activists and journalists as a means to silence dissent and criticism, three rights organizations said today.

On July 27, Iranian state TV’s “20:30” program featured an interview with Mina Alinejad, the sister of Iranian activist Masih Alinejad, in which she publicly denounced her sister for her advocacy against Iran’s compulsory hijab laws. During the interview, Mina Alinejad said she was appearing on TV of her own free will, but Masih has said in an Instagram post and a New York Times op-ed on July 31 that Iranian authorities have pressured her family to denounce her on state television.

“The longstanding use of Iran’s state media to force activists’ families to appear unwillingly to denounce their relatives shows the level the authorities will stoop to silence state critics,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

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