Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was arrested in Tehran on Thursday and transferred to Evin Prison, where many political prisoners are held, according to reports published over the weekend.
Moradkhani's brother, Mahmoud, who lives in France, confirmed the arrest to Iran International.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), there is no information available as of yet concerning the reasons for the arrest or any charges brought against Moradkhani.
Iranian intelligence agents arrested Moradkhani on her way home and confiscated belongings from her residence, according to HRANA.
Political prisoners in Evin Prison are often brutally tortured by Iran. In August, a hacker group called "Adalat Ali" published security camera footage they claim shows the inside of the prison, including footage of prisoners being abused.
According to Radio Farda, Moradkhani is known for her activism against the death penalty and for civil freedoms in Iran.
According to the Telegraph, one probable cause for the arrest of Khamenei's niece is a statement of support she made in October for the Pahlavi family who ruled over Iran until they were ousted by the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
“We wanted to offer you a birthday present but thought the best present would be our hearts to welcome you back to our country. Since your departure the flowers of our nation have weathered, and our young generation have lived in despair,” said Moradkhani during an online event with former queen Farah Diba, the widow of the last Shah, according to the Telegraph.
Moradkhani is the daughter of Badri Khamenei and Sheikh Ali Tehrani, opponents of both the Shah and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Revolution. Badri and her children fled Iran to Iraq in 1985, with Badri telling reporters at the time that she and her husband had "struggled against the shah’s regime. All Iranian women who had struggled against the shah regime are now against Khomeini. . . . I am disappointed with political struggle, so I have decided to abandon political activity," according to the Los Angeles Times.
In a 1985 interview with the Sunday Times of London, Badri stated that "Khomeini is spreading the word of God by force. They execute thousands in the name of Islam, but this is against our religion."
Tehrani and Badri later returned to Iran and Tehrani was imprisoned for ten years.