Controversial Blogger’s Detention Confirmed
(11 December 2008) The family of Hussein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger whose whereabouts have been a mystery for more than a month, has confirmed his detention, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
The Campaign called on the Iranian Judiciary to either immediately release Derakhshan or to charge him with a recognizable offence under the law and provide for due process and a fair trial.
“We are extremely concerned for Derakhshan’s health and safety. His family should have immediate access to him,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
Derakhshan, known by his blogging name Hoder, is a controversial figure who wrote in both Persian and English. He returned to Iran a few months ago after several years of living abroad.
The Campaign has confirmed that security agents from the office of Tehran’s Prosecutor General, Saeed Mortazavi, raided his home in Tehran on 1 November 2008, detaining him and confiscating his personal belongings. For several weeks, rumors have circulated on the internet about his detention, but Iranian authorities have provided no information about his situation.
Since his detention, Derakhshan made four brief phone calls to his family, each lasting no more than a minute. His family has not been allowed to visit him and does not know where he is being held. Phone calls from Derakhshan to his family stopped two weeks ago, raising serious concerns for his health and safety.
“It is heartbreaking for any family not to know where their son is, what the charges against him are, and have no official explanations,” Ghaemi said.
“In this, as in many other cases, authorities are exercising raw power over citizens with no explanation, no accountability, and no transparency,” he said.
The Campaign called on the Iranian Judiciary to fully respect Derakhshan’s rights under international standards and Iranian law and allow his family and lawyer to visit him.