Threats Against Maziar Bahari Extend Repression to Diaspora
[audio:http://www.iranhumanrights.org/wp-content/uploads/Mixdown.mp3|titles=Maziar Bahari’s Full Interview with the Campaign]
(19 April 2010) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today strongly condemned government threats against Maziar Bahari and warned against possible government sponsored violence targeting dissidents and activists abroad.
In an interview with the Campaign, Bahari said that an unidentified caller contacted his family in Iran and threatened to harm him. Security forces detained Bahari, a Newsweek correspondent, following the disputed presidential elections of last June and the ensuing protests. He was released on bail after 118 days and is currently abroad.
“The intelligence apparatus and Revolutionary Guards have made several threats against critics abroad during the past few months. Now we see indications that they are serious and shameless about silencing critics, no matter where they are,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.
Bahari told the Campaign that an unidentified caller, whom he speculated to be a Revolutionary Guard member, called his family in Iran yesterday and made explicit threats against him.
“He told my family member that ‘Maziar is speaking too much, the situation is getting very dangerous. He shouldn’t think that because he is not in Iran we do not have access to him. Something unpredictable can happen at any point, something without any advance notice,” Bahari said.
Bahari’s court date is scheduled for 2 May and he is charged with 11 counts including insulting the Supreme Leader because he referred to him in his private emails as “Khamanei” rather than “Ayatollah Khamanei.”
Several independent sources in Tehran have told the Campaign that many prisoners released recently on bail regularly receive threats from their interrogators not to conduct interviews with the media or make other public statements.
Bahari also told the Campaign: “I had been threatened throughout my time in prison, that when and if I am released, I shouldn’t think that I am free, I shouldn’t think that I can say whatever I want. I should know, this is what my interrogator told me, I should know that Revolutionary Guards are planted all around the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah. He told me that he can always bring me back in a bag, in a gooni.”
The Campaign expressed its serious concerns that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and intelligence agents may be laying the groundwork for violent attacks on their critics in the Diaspora. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Iranian government agents assassinated dozens of critics in Europe.
“The main concern right now is the fact that the Revolutionary Guards are threatening me. I am not sure if they’re serious about their threats or not but I don’t think that’s really relevant. The fact that Revolutionary Guards of the Islamic Republic are threatening me causes concern. And again I’m not sure if they’re serious about their threats or not, and that’s irrelevant. The most important thing is that the Islamic Republic government thinks that it can bully everyone, all the citizens of Iran, wherever they are, they can be the 70 million people who live inside Iran or they can be members of the Iranian community in Diaspora,” Bahari said.