Details of Veteran Politician’s Detention Unknown
A one-month detention order has been issued for Ebrahim Yazdi, Secretary General of the Freedom Movement of Iran, but details of the order have not been revealed. Yazdi was arrested for the third time after the 2009 elections on 1 October 2010, along with Hashem Sabaghian, a member of the group’s central council, Ali Asghar Gharavi, head of the group’s Isfahan branch, Ghaffar Farzadi, head of the Azerbaijan branch, Ahad Rezaee, head of the Zanjan branch, and two Isfahan branch members by the names of Riaee and Moslehi. The group had gathered for Friday prayers at a memorial service in Isfahan when the arrests took place.
A few days after their arrests, Sabaghian and Gharavi were released and a one-month detention order was issued for Ebrahim Yazdi. No information has emerged about the situation of the remaining detainees. According to Mizankhabar, a website closely associated with Freedom Movement of Iran, some of the members’ arrests were accompanied by beatings. The plainclothes forces who attacked the gathering introduced themselves as Basij and security forces.
The government news agency, IRNA, announced moments after the group’s arrest that the political activists had participated in the Friday prayers of “a well-known Wahhabi element in Isfahan,” and that Ebrahim Yazdi, who was free on bail, had traveled to Isfahan without permission.
The Freedom Movement of Iran is one of the oldest political parties of Iran, established by Mehdi Bazargan, Mahmoud Talegahani, and Yadollah Sahabi in 1961 to oppose the Pahlavi regime. Stating the group’s “lack of belief in the Constitution,” the Islamic Republic has refused to recognize the Freedom Movement.
In May 2009, the Freedom Movement of Iran issued a statement, announcing its support of both reformist candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi in the June 2009 presidential election. After the election, several members of the Movement were arrested and its activities were banned and discontinued. Yazdi was first arrested a few days after the election while he was hospitalized; he was released a day later.
He was arrested at his home for the second time by Intelligence Ministry forces on 28 December 2010, following the Ashura Day events, and was released on bail a while later. Currently, several members of the organization are in prison, including Sara Tavassoli, a university professor, who was arrested for participating in the Ashura Day protests.