Six days after the arrest of Abdolreza Tajik, a journalist and member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), his family has been unable to obtain information on his condition. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned that the simultaneous arrests of Narges Mohammadi and Abdolreza Tajik, both members of the DHRC, are directly related to the Iranian state television’s broadcast of a libelous program against Shirin Ebadi, head of the DHRC.

Several people close to the DHRC told the Campaign that it is possible security forces are trying to extract confessions against lawyers working for the Center through psychological and physical pressure. Alternatively, the prisoners may be asked to announce their separation from the organization. Authorities have not yet provided any explanation about the arrests of the two journalists and human rights activists. In an interview with the Campaign, Abdolreza Tajik’s sister, Parvin Tajik, confirmed the silence of the judicial authorities, saying, “We have no news about his situation yet. We don’t know why he was arrested. Judicial authorities dodge providing answers to our questions.”

This is the third time Abdolreza Tajik has been arrested in the past year. His arrest came after being summoned on the telephone and appearing at a Ministry of Intelligence office. Upon his arrival he was taken to Evin prison. The journalist’s sister, Parvin Tajik, has requested a meeting with the Tehran Prosecutor in the past few days.  She told the Campaign, “I contacted them yesterday (Tuesday) by telephone and went to the Prosecutor’s Office in person today, but there was no reaction from the Revolutionary Court. It appears that security cases are no longer reviewed at the previous location, at least they pretend that way. When I contacted the Prosecutor’s Office, they told me they couldn’t provide a response to me at this time and that I had to wait. Even so, I went to the Prosecutor’s Office today. They told me that the Prosecutor was not in his office and his deputy did not agree to see me, either. I was told to fill out a form and explain my request, so that they could give the form to the Prosecutor. I requested a meeting from the Prosecutor, so that I can ask him the reason for his arrest and what it is they want.”

“The only thing that is puzzling to us is that his first case was dismissed and in his file there was nothing that could be construed as a crime,” Tajik’s sister added.

Regarding the efforts of Abdolreza Tajik’s lawyers, she referred to her contact with his lawyer Mr. Sharif, saying, “I contacted Mr. Sharif and he told me that they don’t let him in at all and he can’t go there. He said his colleague would do the follow-up for him. So my [other] brother will go to see him to see what can be done.”

News Background

Abdolreza Tajik is the second member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center to have been arrested in the past few days. On 10 June 2010, Narges Mohammadi, another member of the Center, was arrested following a libelous television broadcast about Shirin Ebadi.  Tajik, who has been banned from traveling abroad like other Center members, has faced immense pressure from security and judicial authorities in the past few years. So far his judicial cases have not led to any sentences. After his latest release, he faced limitations on his journalistic work. It seems his arrest is a part of a concerted effort to put pressure on the Defenders of Human Rights Center to retaliate against the Center’s reports on human rights violations by the Islamic Republic of Iran.