The Arrest of Mehdi Khazali: Continued Pressure On Critics
Mehdi Khazali, an ophthalmologist, writer, and critical blogger, was arrested on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 while traveling. According to the Kalame website, security agents arrested Khazali and transferred him to an unknown location. Khazali’s charges, the government agency responsible for his arrest, his detention location and present conditions are unknown at this time.
In recent years, Khazali has written openly critical material about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his blog entries, many of which have been noted within Iran and abroad. Khazali was unable to receive qualification as an ophthalmologist in the Iranian Medical Association due to the critical material he has written about the government. Similarly, he was not allowed to participate in Iran’s Parliamentary elections. Recently, Khazali wrote a blog entry in which he criticized Ahmad Jannati, Head of the powerful Guardian Council.
Mehdi Khazali was first arrested and imprisoned during post-election events in Iran. His father, Ayatollah Khazali, disavowed knowledge about his son’s actions at the time. Mehdi Khazali wrote that he felt obligated to eliminate cruelty and dictatorship, even without his father’s blessing.
Last year, Khazali was summoned by the Special Clerical Court and subsequently imprisoned. Just before he appeared at the court, he wrote in his blog “I wonder what in me makes me look like a cleric, necessitating the summons to the Clerical Court!” Mehdi Khazali had been free on $20,000 bail since 22 July 2009.