No Official Reason Given for Former Professor and Activist’s Arrest
The family of former chemistry professor and activist Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, has not been given an official explanation for why he was arrested and imprisoned nearly two weeks ago.
Anna Maryam Rafiee told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her father’s car was stopped by security agents in Tehran on June 16 and he was taken to Section Eight of Evin Prison.
“He still hasn’t been interrogated. We think it’s strange that our father has been arrested,” she said. “Even before his arrest he hadn’t been issued any summons. These kinds of detentions are completely illegal.”
Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, a retired Tehran University professor and member of the Meli-Mazhabi (National-Religious) Alliance and Iran’s National Peace Council, was sentenced by Judge Salavati to six years in prison on May 25, 2015. But his case was under review and no final decision had been handed down at the time of his latest detention.
The charges against Rafiee include active membership in the Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists, which is illegal, and propaganda against the state.
“My father is 71-years old. He suffers from heart disease and high blood pressure,” Anna Maryam Rafiee said. “He has been in Evin’s Section Eight where apparently sanitary conditions and facilities are very poor. That’s where non-political prisoners are kept. We object to this. They should transfer my father to the section where political prisoners are.”
Mohammad Hossein Rafiee was previously arrested in 2000 along with a number of other nationalist-religious activists and sentenced to four years in prison. But this was never carried out.
“In the past year the intelligence establishment has constantly sent me messages threatening me with arrest and new accusations. Something they have also done to other friends,” Mr. Rafiee said in a letter to President Rouhani this month.
In the letter he added that his wife and daughter had been physically abused and insulted by security agents. “These tensions worsened my wife’s heart condition but fortunately it passed,” he wrote.