Widespread Arbitrary Arrests and Disappearances Continue
Prominent human rights lawyer among new detainees
Arrests by unidentified agents, detentions in undisclosed locations
(8 July 2009) While Iranian authorities have issued statements about the release of some of the approximately 2,000 citizens that local human rights monitors believe are detained, they have continued to arrest other prominent individuals, in violation of due process standards, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Today, unidentified agents arrested Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights lawyer and founding member of the Defenders for Human Rights Center (DHRC), at his law office at 4 pm Tehran local time. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace laureate, is the director of DHRC. Another DHRC lawyer, Abdolfattah Sotani, has been in detention since 16 June.
The unidentified agents also arrested four of Dadkhah’s colleagues working at his office at the time: Malihe Dadkhah (his daughter), Sara Sabaghian, Bahareh Dowaloo, and Amir Raiisian, and took them to an undisclosed location. They also locked up Dadkhah’s office without any explanation or providing legal documents for their actions. Daadkhah has been representing many of the recent detainees.
“The Iranian government is trampling over every rule of due process. Not only are hundreds of detainees in incommunicado detention, in solitary confinement, and possibly under torture, but their lawyers are rapidly being added to their ranks,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
“The situation is grave and is resembling some of the most atrocious crackdowns in recent memory such as the aftermath of General Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, when hundreds were detained, disappeared, or were executed,” he added.
The Campaign has learned that the health of another detainee, Bijan Khajehpour Khoei, may be in danger. Khadjehpour, a business and economic consultant as well as an internationally well-known independent political analyst, was arrested on 27 June by unknown persons. He is a diabetic who is required to follow a strict diet. He is the founder of the strategic business consultancy Atieh Bahar Consulting.
Khajehpour was arrested at Tehran’s airport following his return from abroad. The authorities have not provided any information to his family regarding the reason for his arrest or whereabouts. Khadjepour was abroad during post-election protests and is not known to have participated in any political activities. His professional activities have been fully transparent to the government.
Fayzolah Arabsorkhi, a member of the central body of the Islamic Revolution Mujahedeen Organization and the former deputy minister of commerce, was arrested on 7 July, by unknown persons who detained him without presenting any warrant; his location is unknown.
Jalal Mohammadlou, a member of the youth branch of the Iran Participation Front in Tehran, was arrested on 5 July while he was being taken to the hospital.
As reported widely by international media, Clotilde Reiss, a French national, was arrested on 1 July and charged with espionage. She is reportedly in Evin prison in Tehran.
“At least Ms. Reiss’s family knows where she is, and what she is charged with, information that is not provided to hundreds of Iranian families whose members have disappeared,” Ghaemi said.
A number of students have also been arrested, including Hesam Salamat, who had been expelled from Tehran University, on 6 July; Ali Taghipour, the former technical secretary of the student association in Mazandaran University, was arrested on 30 June; and Nima Nahvi, a student at Anoushirvan Engineering University in Babol, who was arrested on 1 July while he was leaving the campus and taken away by Intelligence agents.
Almost no information about the legal or physical situations of these individuals or any other detained persons can be confirmed, as officials refuse to divulge information, or allow contacts and legal counsel.