How did Mohammad Amin Valian, a 20-year-old student from Damghan, land in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) infamous Special Detention Center No. 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison?
Valian comes from a religious family and is a member of his university’s reformist Islamic Students’ Association. In late December, on the Ashura remembrance day, he heeded a call by the opposition to go into the streets and join the city’s Green Movement supporters chanting “Death to the dictator!”
Ashura evolved into a broad show of power by the opposition, which has been demonstrating sporadically since the disputed June 2009 presidential election. On that day, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Tehran and other cities. The IRGC and the Basij militia attacked the crowds and beat and dispersed demonstrators. About 10 were killed and a few hundred were arrested.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reacted in panic and gave his final (although still implicit) approval for the authorities to suppress any individual or group opposition “to protect the Islamic system.” His executors in government and the security forces were more direct in restating the supreme leader’s message: Anybody opposing the leader or the government is a “mohareb, a person “waging war against God.”