Two Followers of Ayatollah Boroujerdi Detained Incommunicado
Boroujerdi Held in Solitary Confinement
(12 February 2009) Iranian authorities should immediately release Maryam Ghasemi and Zahra Abdollahvand, two followers of Ayatollah Boroujerdi who were arrested by order of the Special Court for Clergy in Tehran on 28 January 2009, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
Relatives of the detainees informed the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Ghasemi (32), Abdollahvand (31), each of whom is a mother of two, and Zahra Sharifi went to the Special Court for Clergy in Tehran along with other followers of Ayatollah Boroujerdi on 28 January 2009. The group inquired about Boroujerdi’s condition in Yazd Prison, and protested about his solitary confinement. They were subsequently interrogated by the Court. Ghasemi and Abdollahvand were transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison for further interrogation, while Sharifi was released at 8 pm the same day. The detainees’ families have received no news from Ghasemi or Abdollahvand since their transfer.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi has formally requested Giti Pourfazel, an independent lawyer, to represent him. But the Special Court for Clergy has denied his request, and Boroujerdi has no independent legal representation.
Regarding the detention of Ghasemi and Abdollahvand by the order of the Special Court for Clergy, Pourfazel told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “Any order by the Special Court for Clergy applying to ordinary citizens is not legal. It is an extrajudicial action.”
Ayatollah Kazemini Boroujerdi was arrested on 8 October 2006, prosecuted by the Special Court for Clergy behind closed doors, and sentenced to 11 years in prison, 10 of which must be served in exile in the city of Yazd. Boroujerdi was moved to solitary confinement in Yazd Prison on 27 January 2009, despite the fact that he suffers from serious health problems.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran considers Ayatollah Boroujerdi a prisoner of conscience as his detention is based solely on his beliefs about the freedom of religion and expression as well as his criticisms of the state’s execution and stoning orders. According to Giti Pourfazel, Boroujerdi was transferred to solitary confinement because he became friends with Baha’i detainees held in the same prison, an action not tolerated by authorities.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the judicial authorities in Iran to abolish the prosecution of clergies in a Special Court and order a review based on national and international fair trial standards of all cases in which clergy have been sentenced by these courts.