Mass Arrests and Detentions Signal Increasing Repression
“A purge of reform-oriented individuals….”
(17 June 2009) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported today that several dozen notable figures including Saeed Hajjarian, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Behzad Nabavi, and Abdolfattah Soltani were arrested on 16 June 2009. Hajjarian was an advisor to former president Mohammad Khatami and Abtahi was director of Khatami’s office during his presidency and is now a senior adviser to Mehdi Karroubi. Nabavi is a former member of parliament and Minister of Industry and Mining. Soltani is a leading human rights lawyer and member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center.
The detainees include numerous political figures, intellectuals, civil leaders, human rights activists, and journalists, as well as a large but unknown number of ordinary citizens who have taken part in street demonstrations since the disputed 12 June presidential elections.
“Iranian intelligence and security forces are using the public protests to engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals whose situations in detention could be life-threatening,” according to Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
“The authorities are responsible for the health and safety of these people and should be held accountable,” he added.
The Campaign expressed serious concerns for the health and safety of Hajjarian, who was the target of an assassination attempt by extremists. In 2000, he was shot in the head, suffering serious brain and spinal cord injuries. He is in urgent need of continuous medical care and authorities have not provided any information about his whereabouts or conditions. Hajjarian has been under the constant care of several doctors, including Dr. Taghi Kimya-Asadi, a neurologist in Washington who travels often to Iran.
Dr. Kimya-Asadi told the Campaign: “He has been left with great difficulty walking, suffering much pain and discomfort. He is in need of multiple medications, including Mysoline, Inderal, & Trileptal, that I prescribed for him, among others that have been prescribed by his other medical doctors in Iran. He is in need of constant nursing care, as well as physical therapy. Detention is extremely detrimental to his well-being and puts his life in danger. Especially if there is any interruption in his medication which may cause a serious life threatening situation in the case of sudden withdrawal. At home, he is under the constant medical supervision of his wife, who is a medical doctor.”
According to Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, her colleague Abdolfattah Soltani, one of Iran’s leading human rights lawyers, was arrested by security officers who entered his office posing as clients. He was a member of the Arbitrary Detentions Investigation Committee. The other member of this Committee, Alireza Tajik and Kayvan Samimi were arrested two days ago. Shiva Nazarahari, a human rights defender, and Mahsa Amrabadi, a journalist, are also among the detainees.
Also arrested was a former spokesperson for Khatami, Abdolah Ramezanzadeh, who also served as governor of Kurdistan, and Mostafa Tajzadeh, a political figure who was in charge of conducting elections in the Interior Ministry when Khatami was in office. Other members of Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign staff in Tehran and Tabriz, including Bagher Oskouiee and Amir Mardani, have also been arrested.
Other well-known political figures who have been arrested include Mohsen Aminzadeh, Mohammad Atrianfar, and Mohammad Tavasoli.
Three other political activists Taghi Rahmani, Reza Alijani, and Hoda Saberi were arrested on 14 June, but may have been released since.
Other detainees are members of the Nehzat Azadi, one of the oldest political parties in Iran, including Ahmad Afjeiee, Emad Bahavar, Mojtaba Khandan, Saieed Zeraatkar, Rouholah Shafiee, Ali Mehrdad, and Mohammad Reza Ahmadinia. Also arrested were members of the reformist party, Jebhe Mosharekat Islami (Islamic Participation Front), including Ali Pour Khayeri, Shahin Nourbakhsh, Ali Taghipour Mohammad Shokuhi, Ashkan Mojaleli, Maysam Varahchehre, Mahdieh Minavi, and Farhad Nasrollahpour.
There has apparently been a systematic detention of members of various civil society formations. Members of the central council of the university alumni group ADVAR, which is influential among students, were arrested including Ahmad Zaydabadi, General Secretary, Hadi Kahal, and Hamed Iranshahi.
Reports received by the Campaign from the City of Tabriz indicate that over 100 prominent civic figures in the city have also been detained including Dr. Jalil Sharabianlu, Dr. Ghafar Farzadi, Majd Jabari, Rahim Yawai, Abbas Pourazhari, Dr. Lay Farzadi, Shabeti, Shamlu, Dr. Ghafarzadeh, Dr. Soltaniazad, Dr. Panahi, Dr. Seyflou, Dr. Dadizadeh, Mehdi Yarbahrami, Mansour Ghafari, Hojatollah Amiri, Amir Hossein Jahani, Rohdah Rahimipour, and Mehdi Khodadadi.
Several reports from throughout the country indicate that many activists have disappeared, including Payam Haydar Ghazvini, Nasim Riahi, Mojtaba Rajabi, and Atar Rashidi in Ghazvin province.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained persons. The Campaign urges the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently seek information about these cases and to demand assurances for their health and safety.