“Supreme Leader Directly Responsible for Ebrahim Yazdi’s Arrest and Detention,” Says Son-In-Law
Judicial officials announced recently that the trial for Ebrahim Yazdi, head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, will be held on 13 March. His son-in-law, Mehdi Nourbakhsh, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, directly interfered in his arrest and detention and should be held responsible if Yazdi is hurt in any way.
At 80 years of age, Ebrahim Yazdi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Council and the first Foreign Minister after the Islamic Revolution, is the oldest political prisoner in Iran. According to family members, Yazdi suffers from acute diseases and his detention conditions in the “safe house” may cost him his life. He was arrested in October last year on the charge of “illegally holding Friday Prayers”, and ever since then, he has been held in a the “safe house.”
“Mr. Khamenei himself is involved in this whole story. He is one hundred percent directly involved in decision making in his case. Whatever calamity happens to Dr. Yazdi, we, the family, truly hold Khamenei responsible, and no one else. Mr. Khamenei is involved in these arrests and we hold him as the main culprit in anything untoward that might happen to him,” said Mehdi Nourbakhsh.
“The court trial is on 13 March. We are sure that they have already made their decision. Court trials have always been show trials. It is not like anyone could go and defend himself. Now the court is also a part of the show. Just like Mr. Motamedi Mehr, who in just a few minutes was sentenced to ten years in prison. The decision and sentence are predetermined,” Nourbakhsh told the Campaign.
“Once in a while, he calls the house and talks to his wife. He is now staying in a ‘safe house’. He was allowed to speak with his children by telephone only once. So far, they have not been allowed to see him. One time, soon after his arrest, his wife was taken to visit him at the safe house, blindfolded and after traveling for a long distance, which was very painful and difficult for her due to her advanced age. But ever since then, there has not been any visitation. He only speaks about his health in phone calls. His morale is high, or at least he does not want his family to be concerned,” Nourbakhsh told the Campaign about Yazdi’s contacts with his family.
“His blood pressure fluctuates. When he was at home, he was under the regular care of a physician, and his diet and hygiene were all under control. Now we are very worried about the conditions of his holding location and about his health. Additionally, he has a prostate problem. Therefore, he needs to insert a catheter every four to five hours. This catheterization is the way he can extract his urine. This is a very painful process. If his environment is not hygienic, he could develop infections. He has had this problem for the past eight years. When he was at home, every care was taken to make sure that everything was sterilized. But we know that he developed an infection last week, which is very dangerous for his health, and negligence could endanger his life,” said Nourbakhsh.
“Mr. Dadkhah, Ms. Gheirat, and Ms. Shirin Ebadi are Mr. Yazdi’s lawyers. Mr. Dadkhah said that three charges have been waged against Dr. Yazdi–one is ‘acting against national security,’ another is ‘propagating against the Islamic Republic,’ and the last ‘establishing the Freedom Movement [of Iran].’ We don’t know what they want to say about this third one. The Freedom Movement was established in the 1960’s in Iran,” said Nourbakhsh, about Yazdi’s charges.
“We don’t even know where he is. We don’t know his conditions inside the ‘safe house,’ or what kind of food they serve him to ensure his medical condition is not further complicated. He can’t discuss these subjects during his telephone calls. He was arrested 5.5 months ago. He has not been granted a furlough. His telephone calls only last one or two minutes,” Nourbakhsh added.
“Our question is: what crimes have caused him to be put on trial? The three charges waged against him are too general. The charge of establishing the Freedom Movement while the political organization has been in existence for decades seems comical. Propagating against the regime does not stick to him, either. The Freedom Movement was working completely within legal frameworks. Other than his freedom, nothing else is acceptable to us…His wife is in good spirits, at least she doesn’t show [her worries] in the presence of family members. Right now, Leila Tavassoli, the 26-year old daughter of [Mohammad] Tavassoli is in prison. Emad Behavar and other members of Freedom Movement are also in prison. There is a lot of pressure,” concluded Mehdi Nourbakhsh.