(17 July 2009)  Government agents tear gassed peaceful demonstrators ,beat and kidnapped a leading human rights lawyer today, while Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and leading cleric, called for the intelligence and security force to obey the law and for the release of detained reformists and protesters.

According to eyewitnesses who reported to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, unidentified individuals in plain clothes violently confronted human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr as she was walking to Friday Prayers with several friends, pushed her into an unmarked automobile and drove off.  Sadr is a prominent women’s rights activist, NGO leader and lawyer who has defended numerous death penalty cases.

Sadr subsequently telephoned  her husband to ask the pin code of  her cell phone and she confirmed  she had been arrested and was detained in ward 209 of Teheran’s Evin prison.  Her  husband reported that intelligence officers had searched his house and requested   the keys to her legal office.

The Campaign is seriously concerned about Shadi Sadr’s health and safety in prison.  She suffers from gland and bone problems, needs medication, and was scheduled to have an operation next week.

Several other human rights lawyers, including  Abdolfattah Soltani,  Kambiz Nourouzi and Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, have been detained in recent days.

Numerous protesters were arrested as police used tear gas to suppress a large crowd of demonstrators. An eye witness told the Campaign that in the spot he was  he saw at least 40 people severely beaten and arrested by plain clothes agents if they carried green symbols with them. The eye witness said some detainees were taken away in the trunks of unmarked cars.  Information about the detainees and injured have not been officially released.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expresses its serious concerns for the situation of the detainees. The Campaign emphasizes that the fate of more than two thousand people arrested since the 12 June elections remains unclear and calls for their immediate and unconditional release. Given the lack of accountability and transparency of the Judiciary regarding the large numbers of detainees and disappeared persons, the United Nations and the Human Rights Council should immediately send special envoys to Iran to investigate the grave situation of human rights and hold the authorities accountable.