International Campaign for Human Rights
in Iran (December 29)
Human Rights Defender's Precarious Health
Makes Detention Life-threatening
Fear of Torture and Death Penalties for
other Detainees to Confirm Allegations of Foreign Instigation
The International Campaign for Human Rights
in Iran called for the immediate and unconditional release of leading human
rights defender Emadeddin Baghi, who was among numerous journalists and
reformists detained on 28 December along with over 1,000 others, in the wake of
violent crackdowns on Ashura protests. Also detained was the sister of Nobel
Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Dr. Nooshin Ebadi.
Baghi, one of the top human rights defenders in
Iran who has received numerous international recognitions including the Martin
Ennals Award in 2009, suffers from heart and nerve conditions that have been
severely aggravated by his previous incarcerations following convictions for his
writings and human rights advocacy. He is a leading opponent of the death
"Emad Baghi's arrest, as well as that of Dr.
Ebadi, constitutes a blatant assault on the principled human rights community
and a challenge to the growing civil rights movement in Iran," stated Aaron
Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
"There is no reason to arrest Dr. Ebadi other
than to intimidate Shirin Ebadi; the arrest is existentially a kidnapping
consistent with the tactics of criminal gangs," he said.
Shirin Ebadi released a statement
regarding her sister's arrest and called for an investigation by the Judiciary.
Many other prominent journalists and activists
have been arrested during the past two days, including: Ebrahim Yazdi, former
Foreign Minister and head of the Liberation Front; Mash'allah Shamsalvaezin,
spokesman for the Association in Defense of the Press; Shapour Kazemi, brother
in law of Mir-Hussein Mousavi; Badralsadat Mofidi, head of the Journalists'
Association; prominent journalists: Reza Tajik, Nasrin Vaziri, Keyvan Mehrgan,
and Mohammad Javad Saberi; Mansoureh Shojaii, women's rights activist; and
political activists: Alireza Beheshti, Morteza Haji, Ghorban Behzadian-nejad,
Mostafa Ezedi, Mohammad Taheri, and Heshmatollah Tabari.
Little information is available about the
whereabouts and condition of the recently detained citizens who are held
incommunicado. Under such conditions, the Campaign believes they may be
tortured to produce false confessions confirming official claims that Ashura
protests were instigated by foreign governments. Members of the ruling political
elite have called for harsh penalties.
"It may be assumed that many detainees will be
subjected to torture followed by "show trials" and convicted of crimes that
carry the death penalty in the Islamic Republic," Rhodes said.
The Campaign calls upon the Islamic
Republic authorities to release to their families the bodies of those killed by
militias and security forces during the demonstrations, so that they may be
buried-insofar as still possible-in accordance with religious law.
"To prevent burial in accordance with Islamic law
and traditions makes a total mockery of the claim that authorities are
protecting religious law," Rhodes said.
Declaration by Dr. Shirin Ebadi
I hereby declare that my sister Dr. Noushin Ebadi
who is a Medical lecturer at Azad University of Tehran was detained by four
officers from the counter-intelligence agency of Islamic Republic of Iran.
She was arrested at 9 pm today (28/12/2009) at
her home in Tehran. At present, we have no information of her whereabouts.
During the past two months, my sister had been
contacted by the elements within the government and told in no uncertain terms
to contact me and persuade me to cease my activities as a human rights advocate.
It was strongly suggested that she should leave her apartment which is within
the same block as my apartment in Tehran. She was told that her failure to
cooperate with them will result in her arrest. I initially did not take this
seriously, but I'm sad and upset to see that this was not an empty threat.
It is important to note that my sister is not
politically active nor is she a member of any human right organization. Her only
crime seems to be that she is my sister and her arrest is nothing less than a
political blackmail and attempted pressure. This is another method employed by
the authorities in Iran to stop my activities.
I hereby draw the attention of the Iranian
judiciary to this unlawful and wrongful arrest of a member of my family for
political gain by the government of Iran and I call for immediate release of my
Iran is currently in turmoil and these unlawful
and illegal actions will only have negative effect. What is needed in Iran is
peaceful dialogue and tolerance.
... Payvand News - 12/30/09 ... --