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This image grab from a UGC video posted outside of Iran on March 15, 2023, shows Iranian activist and journalist Sepideh Gholian walking with a bouquet of flowers outside the walls of Evin prison in Tehran, following her release. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: Iranian security forces re-arrested prominent activist and journalist Sepideh Gholian hours after she walked free from jail chanting slogans against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, activists said on Thursday.

Gholian, 28, was Wednesday freed from Tehran’s Evin prison after spending over four years behind bars following a conviction related to her reporting on a strike movement in 2018.

According to the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Gholian was re-arrested late Wednesday while being driven from Tehran by her family to their home in Dezful in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran.

It said there was no information over where she was being held or what she was accused of.

Immediately after her release from Evin prison, she had defiantly shouted slogans against Khamenei in a video she shared on her social media accounts.

She shouted twice over: “Khamenei the tyrant, we’ll drag you into the ground!”

She was also not wearing a headscarf, in defiance of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women, and in the video urged the release of other women seen as political prisoners by activists.

Reports in media based outside Iran said that her arrest, which took place on a road close to the city of Arak in central Iran, saw a confrontation between her family and the security forces.

Her mother was initially taken away in the police car as well but then dumped by the roadside as the vehicle sped away with her daughter inside, Iran International TV said.

In prison Gholian has, through letters and messages to supporters, become a strong voice against the abuses that she says women are subjected to in Iranian jails.

Many of the women held in Iran were arrested well before the protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd who had been detained for allegedly violating the dress code for women.

But their numbers swelled in the ensuing crackdown.