Life of Mousavi’s Brother-in Law in Danger
Arrested and held in Incommunicado Detention for over Two Months
(19 August 2009) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed its serious concerns for the life of Shapour Kazemi, brother of Zahra Rahnevard and Mir Hossein Mousavi’s brother-in law. Kazemi, 62, is an engineer who was detained shortly after the contested 12 June elections. He has been held without charge or access to legal counsel. According to his mother and children he had no prior political background and did not participate in any activities relating to Mousavi’s candidacy. The Campaign called for Kazemi’s immediate release.
“The arrest and continued detention of Kazemi is an act of personal revenge directed at Mousavi and his wife. Victimizing family members in such a manner is a shameful act aiming to pressure and silence Mousavi for political purposes and is extremely disturbing,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
Kazemi was arrested within a few days after the 12 June elections at his home and transferred to Evin prison. His mother has been allowed only one visit to see him, which took place in front of video cameras operated by his prison guards. Kazemi suffers from heart complications and high blood pressure. There are serious concerns about his health. Websites close to the government have made several allegations, including Kazemi being personally engaged in rioting and setting “seven motorcycles on fire,” which the Campaign believes are utterly fabricated. These websites have even claimed Kazemi has “confessed” to such acts. All of these allegations have been strongly denied by his family members.
His sister and the wife of Mousavi, Zahra Rahnevard, told Mousavi’s official website, Ghalam News, that her brother’s detention and the allegations against him are part of a project “for short-term political gains by those who are willing to destroy the reputation of individuals by resorting to such methods to cover up their own illegal and immoral misdeeds.”
The Campaign noted that Kazemi’s detention and allegations of his “confession” are part of a longstanding pattern by Iranian intelligence units against prisoners to exert pressure on their families and to replace proper due process and legal proceedings.
Given the recent spate of so-called “confessions” produced during the trials of prominent political personalities, the Campaign stated that prisoners are held in incommunicado detention for lengthy periods, mostly in solitary confinement and without any access to their lawyers or the outside world, all of which amounts to a form of torture and is against Iranian laws and international standards of due process.
The Campaign expressed its serious concerns for the health and safety of Kazemi and even his death in detention given the lack of any information about him. The Campaign called for the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience.
The Campaign also urged the parliamentary committee, tasked with investigating recent detentions, to probe numerous reports of deaths in detention, torture, and widespread rapes, and to make public its findings.
“Sadeq Larijani, as the new head of the Judiciary, must immediately act to implement urgently needed reforms in the Iranian justice system, which according to him, ‘suffers from several shortcomings.’ Most importantly, the critical situation of prisoners requires a comprehensive investigation to identify and prosecute those responsible at the highest level of government for widespread illegal detentions and ill-treatments, including those involved in the case of Shapour Kazemi,” Ghaemi said.