Concerns about those arrested

I should have written about those killed and injured in the recent protests, particularly on Saturday, it was so awful, I was in a state of shock. I guess everyone has already seen the video of Neda’s death, as a symbol of the brutality going on in Iran right now. I wish all of them peace.

In the last couple of days there have not been large protests, just small ones here and there, again oppressed by the militia and riot police. The presence of military forces in the streets has increased, turning some of the beautiful parks and stadiums into makeshift military camps/headquarters. However, it is not the case that everything is over, there is definitely a power battle going on behind the scenes. I have a post coming up about that, but right now I want to voice some concerns about a few of the detained political figures.

Ebrahim Yazdi

Ebrahim Yazdi

There are an unknown number of protesters and students arrested. Their general effort is to try to make them confess to planning riots and vandalizing, getting orders from foreigners or the disgusting Mojaheidin-e Khalgh terrorists that are referred to in Iran as the Monafeghin (the hypocrytes). They show the videos of the confessions of some that they manage to force into this on the “national” television. There may be actually some thugs among the people, but the majority of those I have seen is just ridiculous confessions, that we have seen many of in Iran in the recent years, and nobody believes anymore, including one in which a woman who confessed she and her son, under the influence of the BBC (as if it’s some sort of drug), had intended to use a grenade “that they had kept since the Iran-Iraq war” [at least 20 years ago] in (source, in Persian) in one of the protests. I don’t want to get started on the Iranian national television’s actions, it is past propaganda, it is a collection of shameless lies and brainwashing.

Hajjarian

Hajjarian with Khatami

Anyway, there are also many political figures arrested in the recent coup, some of which I’ve mentioned before here. is widely believed that a few of the detained reformist figures are being under extreme pressure to confess that they had planned the recent protests, or “riots” as they like to put it, in an effort to organize a “green revolution” in the style of the “velvet revolutions” of the past few years, something that some leaders of the Islamic Republic have a phobia of. We know that they can be very brutal in their jails, and that the detained have obviously been denied their rights to lawyers, visitors, any sort of contact with their families … some of the families do not even know where they are (Ahmad Zeydabadi has been reported by his wife to be basically kidnapped from his home they don’t even know who it was that took him, this is the fate of many).

The ones that are particularly said to be under pressure, and it seems that the goal is to blame it mostly on them are mostly members of the Participation Front, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, and Mohsen Aminzadeh, and Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of former president Khatami. God knows what they will be willing to do in order to get “confessions” from them. It’s just so stupid since everybody who has been to the rallies has says that they were not really planned ahead, only a time and venue had been announced ear-to-ear, email-to-email and the politicians were actually surprised by the number of people showing up.

What actually worries me most of all is the status of two other detainees that are also definitely under extreme pressure right now. One is Saeed Hajjarian one of the masterminds of the Iranian reform movement whose ideas were so dangerous for some that they assassinated him in 2000. He was shot in the head, the bullet miraculously went through his jaw and lodged in his neck, he survived, but permanent damage was done to parts of his brain and nervous system. He has problems with his movements, uses a wheelchair or walker, has trouble speaking, … he should constantly be under physiotherapy and other sorts of medical care. Not only is he being denied this in prison, but he is probably under mental and physical torture too.

The other person I am particularly concerned about is Ebrahim Yazdi. He is a great man, was the foreign minister in Mehdi Bazargan‘s government, the first after the revolution that was basically forced into resignation after 9 months (when the American embassy was attacked) because they were too calm and intelligent for the extreme revolutionary environment of those days. He has continued his civil activities all these years in Iran, although their party was branded “illegal” early on, they get a share of arrests, accusations, and insults no matter what is going on Iran. He is 78 years old now and has previously suffered from prostate cancer. He was detained from a hospital where he was either under observation or conducting some medical examinations. I have enormous respect for this man, and am very worried about him.

Amnesty international has also reported on these arrests here.

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9 Comments »

  1. semira said

    “He has problems with his movements, uses a wheelchair or walker, has trouble speaking, … he should constantly be under physiotherapy and other sorts of medical care. Not only is he being denied this in prison, but he is probably under mental and physical torture too.”

    This bit reminds me of what is going on in my own country, Turkey. It’s terribly ironic. Right now, most of the people here -many of them self-proclaimed democrats and liberals- are showing discontent for Iranian government’s attitude towards these rallies and civilians. Many of the same people also support all kinds of illegal and downright immoral activities done by our government in the name of an ongoing semi-faux case about people who’ve allegedly been trying to carry out military coups for the last 20 years. Just last week, one of the detainees of this case, who has been detained for 5+ months without any evidence whatsoever was released under supervision as per court order, because he’s a cancer patient, needs constant therapy but has been denied any therapy for 6+ months since he’s been detained. Just like 50+ other detainees who also were detained -ranging from anywhere between 5 to 20+ (twenty plus) months- by mere suspicion without any evidence whatsoever -even though this is in violation of the constitution-, a few of whom has already died due to poor conditions and lack of treatment for their medical conditions.

    Now, the judge who ordered his release under supervision, has been coerced into withdrawing from the case, obviously because he didn’t let him die like the others. Moreover, he has been sued becasue he ordered release of a detainee due to the detainee’s medical condition.

    Doesn’t really have anything to do with the current course of events in Iran; I just wanted to share. And also a reminder perhaps: from wherever and in whatever form of help you may receive, be wary if it comes from us Turks.

    Best of wishes.

    • Sara said

      Thanks for sharing Semira,
      I have a limited knowledge of politics in Turkey, but it is very ironic how they are basically the same but on the opposite side of the axis (this was not a very informative sentence, but you know what I mean). We also had a Turkish neighbor who became a dear friend, and we always discussed Turkish/Iranian politics 🙂
      Very much to learn from each other …
      Are these detained people that you are talking about from Erbakan’s party, Refah?

  2. Chiara said

    Sara–great post. It will serve as a reference base of explanations for those of us not so familiar with the political details. The arrests of Iranian journalists, like the photojournalist Amir, are disconcerting as well.
    His situation and his photos for Life magazine are here:

    http://www.life.com/image/first/in-gallery/28782/eyewitness-from-tehrans-streets

    His photojournal blog (now inaccessible from within Iran) called Tehran 24: Daily Photos from Tehran (last post 17/6/2009 upwards of 200 comments is here:

    http://tehranlive.org/

    I always assume videotaped and on air confessions are fabricated, coerced, or tortured out of people.

    Semira–ironic indeed, and a reminder that no one country has the monopoly on human rights abuses. Canada since 9/11 has the right to detain indefinitely with no charges, no sharing of evidence, no normal legal proceedings etc. and have used them against a number of Muslims, most of whom have been eventually (months to years later) without charges, or if charged for lack of evidence (in most cases because they are innocent).

    • Sara said

      Yeah, I saw his photos and the notes about him being missing on Life … thanks for mentioning it and for the links.
      There are so many detained journalists, just yesterday Mousavi’s newspaper’s office was attacked and at least 25 arrested, they are not even sure exactly which ones yet. And don’t even mention the students. After attacking the student dorms they just took some students with them, nobody is even sure who they are. We don’t know the number and names of the dead even. They don’t release the bodies and when they do, they don’t let the families have a proper funeral (like Neda).
      These are just those who happen to be famous and that I know, we should not forget those who are unknown, they are usually treated much worse in jail, and their families have nothing to cling to. We should even be careful that all the attention that Neda gets becomes a symbol of all the dead.

      I really try to control myself and not get emotional while writing these pieces … but why did they have to do this to us? to themselves even? and after such an election in which many had voted after 20 or 30 years? …

      • semira said

        Perhaps precisely because so many people had finally voted?

        “Are these detained people that you are talking about from Erbakan’s party, Refah?”

        Quite the opposite. The current administration, the leading party who’s indirectly making this happen and condoning the violations, is made up of the people who’ve been with Erbakan from the beginning, up until they broke up and formed their own movement. The people who are detained are coming from all kinds of movements but Erbakan’s and his legend.

  3. […] but from generally reliable people) going around that Hajjarian, who I wrote about in the previous post, has a very bad general health condition, was taken to the Evin prison clinic, but needs to be […]

  4. Chiara said

    Unfortunately arresting/silencing/disappearing journalists, academics, intellectuals, artists, and political opponents is totalitarianism 101 from Maoist China to Pinochet’s Chile to everywhere in between.

    May they all be released safely!

  5. […] link below he has entertaining interviews with two of the arrested politicians I’ve mentioned before, Ebrahim yazdi and Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, as well as the documentary filmmaker and Newsweek […]

  6. […] I worte about Dr. Yazdi before here. […]

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