Serial Arrests of Human Rights Defenders — Arrest of Tajik follows that of Mohammadi
Journalist Abdolreza Tajik was arrested today for the third time since last year’s disputed election. His arrest came after a verbal summons was issued for him to appear in the Ministry of Intelligence. He now joins other journalists who have been arrested in the past few days. Various sources have reported the number of today’s arrests to be more than one hundred, although detailed information about these arrests have not yet been published. Tajik is the second member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) in Iran to be arrested in the past 24 hours. Narges Mohammadi, another member of the DHRC, was arrested yesterday following the broadcast of a slanderous program to discredit Shirin Ebadi.
Abdolreza Tajik’s sister, Parvin Tajik, spoke with the International Campaign for Human Right for Iran saying, “This arrest was unreasonable and so unexpected. We’re still hopeful that he will be released. But, as of this time tonight, 10:30, we have no news from him. He went to the Ministry of Intelligence following a telephone call at 14:30 yesterday, to appear for investigation. He was told that an arrest warrant was issued against him, but we are still waiting to see what happens.”
Describing today’s telephone conversation with him, she said, “He was given about five minutes to call his house. He said he was talking to some men and there was no reason to worry. Then the phone call ended abruptly and we have no other news of him. Because of this contact we are still hopeful that he was not arrested. He was summoned to the investigation office, which has happened before. Sometimes some people are summoned there and after ten or twelve hours of talking they are released. For this reason we are still hopeful that he’ll be released, otherwise we must follow his case starting tomorrow morning.”
Narges Mohammadi, Deputy Director of the DHRC, was arrested on Thursday evening, 10 June, after being approached by security agents at her house. Following recent attacks by security forces and Iran’s judicial apparatus against human rights defenders in Iran, and specifically members of the DHRC, Hadi Ghaemi, Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said, “This is a specialty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the government’s insult on the topic of human rights: On the same day that its record on human rights violations is being reviewed by UN Human Rights Council, they bluntly attack these prominent human rights activists; Shirin Ebadi is slandered, and Narges Mohammadi is arrested. These baseless attacks against Ms. Ebadi and her colleagues on the eve of the anniversary of last year’s election is indicative of their undeniable role in the international community to expose widespread human rights violations in Iran.”
Abdolreza Tajik, a journalist and human rights activist, was arrested twice in the last year following increased pressure on media activists and was released on bail. He was first arrested on 10 June 2009 and spent 45 days in Evin Prison, released later after posting a bail of $100,000. He was again arrested during Ashura Day protests last year and spent 60 more days in prison. He was issued a travel ban at Imam Khomeini International Airport on 17 February 2009, while intending to deliver a speech at a seminar in Spain entitle, “Iran: 30 Years After the Revolution.” With regard to his ban Tajik said, “I don’t understand the reason for this travel ban. During my media activities I have never committed any acts outside the law.” Tajik has been in collaboration with many reformist newspapers, including Shargh, Kargozaran, Khordad, Fat’h, Bonyan, Bahar, Hambastagi, Zamimeh Hamshahri, Tosa’eh, and Sadaye Edalat. He is also a member of the Committee to Investigate Arbitrary Arrests. Keyvan Samimi is another member of this Committee who is still in prison.