Government Tightens Grip to Prevent Planned Demonstration on Monday
Dozens of Dissidents Detained in a Wave of Crackdowns
Opposition Leader Cut off from Family and Outside World
(11 February 2011) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called for the immediate release of dozens of journalists and dissidents who have been arbitrarily detained in an apparent effort to intimidate Iranians from participating in a 14 February rally in solidarity with the Egyptian pro-democracy movement.
The Campaign also called for an end to all restrictions on the movements of opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi, their associates and family members. Other prominent opposition figures are also under constant monitoring according to family members who spoke with the Campaign on the condition of anonymity.
“The government is doing all it can to intimidate Iranians and deny their right to peaceful assembly. With recent events in Egypt, we see another round of repression in Iran aimed at silencing a people frustrated and dissatisfied by the denial of their human rights,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
After the 5 February announcement by opposition leaders to hold a rally next Monday in support of the Egyptian people’s uprising, Iranian officials began to issue warnings that they won’t tolerate any public demonstrations on that day.
Since the evening of 8 February, plainclothes security forces stormed the houses and offices of at least thirty activists, journalists, and dissidents, detaining most of them in the middle of the night and taking them to unknown locations. The agents did not provide any summons or judicial warrants for their actions
Also on 9 February, authorities began isolating opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi in his home. Security forces are preventing even Karroubi’s children from entering his house. Currently, Karroubi is locked up in his home, with only his wife at his side. His telephone landline, as well as all other forms of communication, including mobile phone and internet access, have been cut off.
Several journalists told the Campaign that they were summoned for interrogations and intelligence agents have warned them to “stay in touch,” meaning they are under constant watch.
The Campaign has received information regarding the detention of at least 30 people, 13 of whom have been identified as the following individuals:
- Taghi Rahmani, a member of the Nationalist-Religious Council, and an active campaigner for Mehdi Karroubi’s 2009 presidential election campaign was arrested at his home on 9 February. Unidentified security agents violently broke into his home and detained him in the presence of his wife and two young children at midnight. His wife, Narges Mohammadi, was so traumatized by their treatment that she had to be immediately hospitalized.Dr. Mohammad Hossein Sharifzadegan, a professor at Beheshti University and a former Minister of Welfare in president Khatami’s cabinet, was detained at his home on 9 February. Sharifzadegan is opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi’s brother-in-law, and an active supporter of his 2009 campaign.
- Meysam Mohammadi and Omid Mohaddes, both journalists and bloggers, were detained at their homes on 9 February. Meysam Mohammadi is manager of the Beheshti Foundation, and Omid Mohaddes works on the Foundation’s website.
- Saleh Noghrehkar, is the nephew of Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Moussavi’s wife, and Secretary of the Legal Committee of Moussavi’s 2009 presidential election headquarters and was detained on 9 February at midnight at his home.
- Seyed Sadredin Beheshti is an advisor to Mir Hossein Moussavi and was detained at his office on 10 February.
- Dr. Mostafa Mirahmadizadeh is a cleric and Law Professor at Qom’s Mofid University, a member of the Baran Foundation, and an advisor to Mehdi Karroubi during his 2009 presidential campaign. He was detained in Qom on 10 February.
- Fariba Ebtehaj, secretary and office manager to Massoumeh Ebtekar, is currently a member of the Tehran City Council. She was previously an advisor to President Mohammad Khatami and the Head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization.
- Kouroush Zaim, a leader of the National Front, was detained on 10 February.
- Peyman Aref, a political and student activist, was detained on 10 February.
- Gholamhossein Mahmoudi is a member of the reformist political party, Islamic Participation Front, who was detained at his home on 10 February.
- Maziar Khosravi is a journalist at Sharq Daily who was detained on 11 February at the newspaper’s office.
- Nozhat Amirabadian is a journalist for several reformist sites who was detained on 11 February at his home.