Authorities Close Groups Investigating Arrests, Detentions, and Killings, Arrest Leaders
(9 September 2009) The International Campaign for Human Right in Iran reported that three Iranian groups investigating arrests, detentions and killings in the context of post-election protests—two of which are associated with opposition political campaigns– were closed by order of the General Prosecutor. The three groups include the Association to Defend Prisoners Rights, the Committee for Following the Situation of Detainees (a part of the campaign of reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi), and the Committee for Following Detainees and Injured in the campaign of Mehdi Karoubi. Activists heading both of the latter two groups were arrested.
“These politically-motivated and arbitrary shut-downs and arrests show the face of a government intent on violently cutting off sources of information that can incriminate it,” according to Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign. “Ultimately, these attempts at suppressing the truth will fail and also suggest that authorities have something to hide,” he said.
On 7 September 2009, at 2:30 pm, security forces attacked the office of the Mousavi Campaign, where the Committee for Following the Situation of Detainees collects, documents and disseminates information about those who were detained and injured during the recent incidents. Security forces did not have a warrant and confiscated all the documents and properties without listing them. Dr. Ali Beheshti, the head of the Committee, was subsequently arrested on 8 September. The Committee had disseminated the names of 72 persons killed in recent incidents.
On 8 September 2009, at 3:00 pm, agents entered the office of presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, which is the office of the Etemad Meli Party, of which Karoubi is the leader. They searched the premises thoroughly and took all documents, films, CDs and computers. This office has been one of the main places where victims and their families had reported on injuries, arrests, and disappearances at the hands of the authorities. In the past several weeks, Karoubi had publicized evidence of numerous severe abuses, including rapes, killings, and beatings. The agents interrogated all staff members in the office and compiled a list of the members of the Committee for Following Detainees and Injured. They then asked everyone to leave, and closed the office. Morteza Alviri, one of Karoubi’s advisors who followed up violations on behalf of the Committee, was arrested on 8 September during a media interview.
Also on 8 September, the office of the Association to Defend Prisoners Rights, a renowned nongovernmental organization founded by leading human rights defender Emad Baghi and others and currently led by Farideh Ghayrat, was attacked by plain clothes security agents and closed by order of the Tehran general prosecutor. Tens of lawyers are members of this organization.
In addition, journalist Mohammad Davari, in charge of the website of Etemad Meli, Saham News, was arrested on 8 September.