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Political activist at risk of torture in Iran

Heshmat was the leader of a banned political party.

          VA: 66/10 Index: MDE 13/033/2010 Iran
          Date: 16 March 2010
          Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (known as Heshmat), a journalist and leader of a banned political party
          in Iran, is at high risk of torture in Evin prison in Iran's capital, Tehran. He was arrested shortly
          after writing an article for a US-based international newspaper which may be the reason for his
          arrest. Amnesty International believes that he is a prisoner of conscience.
          Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, aged 53, leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iran opposition party, was arrested on
          27 December 2009 at his home in Tehran. Mass anti-government protests had taken place across Iran earlier that
          day. He was arrested by Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers with an invalid arrest warrant. His computer,
          phone book, photo albums, video tapes, fax and mobile phone were confiscated. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi is accused
          of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “insulting the Islamic Republic” and “acting against national security”. He has
          not been allowed to see his lawyer. He has had at least two visits from relatives and has been able to phone them
          several times, although the prison administration has monitored the calls. He has been beaten whilst blindfolded
          during interrogation, and intelligence officers have threatened him with the death penalty. After a 10 March 2010
          visit, his wife reported that he had lost weight and his black hair had turned grey since he was detained.
          The arrest of Heshmatollah Tabarzadi may be linked to an article he wrote published on 17 December 2009 in the
          Wall Street Journal,in which he concluded: “If the government continues to opt for violence, there very well may be
          another revolution in Iran. One side has to step down. And that side is the government—not the people”. On 27
          December 2009 he was also interviewed on the Persian service of Voice of America (a state-run radio and TV station
          in the USA), and said that the protests were the largest he had ever seen. He called on protesters not to use
          PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language;
          Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Heshmatollah Tabarzadi immediately and unconditionally, as he is a
          prisoner of conscience held solely for his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression;
          Urging them to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, that the reports that he was beaten
          are investigated and anyone found responsible for abuses is brought to justice and that he has regular access to his
          lawyer, his family and any medical treatment he may require;
          Reminding the authorities that, as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is
          obliged to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
          Head of the Provincial Judiciary in
          Te h ran
          Ali Reza Avaei
          Karimkhan Land Avenue
          Sana'i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17, No.
          Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
          Email: avaei@Dadgostary-tehran. ir
          Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei
          27 APRIL 2010 TO;
          Head of the Judiciary
          Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
          Office of the Head of the Judiciary
          Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of
          Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran,
          Islamic Republic of Iran
          Email: via website:
          First starred box: your given name;
          second starred box: your family name;
          third: your email address
          Salutation: Your Excellency
          And copies to;
          Secretary General. High Council for
          Human Rights
          Mohammad Javad Larijani
          Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
          Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of
          Serah-e Jomhuri
          Tehran 1316814737
          Islamic Republic of Iran
          Fax: +98 21 3390 4986
          Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com (In subject
          line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
          Salutation: Dear Mr Larijani
          Date: 05 February 2010
          Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after
          the above date.
          Heshmatollah Tabarzadi is a leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iran party, established in about 2000 to promote a secular
          democratic system of government in Iran... He is also a member of “Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran”, a
          coalition of groups and individuals, including lawyers, journalists, human rights, political and civil rights activists aiming at the
          promotion and improvement of democracy and human rights in Iran which was formed on 25 May 2009. Many members of this
          organization have been arrested. Some are still detained, while others have been released on bail. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi was
          formerly a student leader who has been arrested several times and has spent over eight years in prison.
          Since the disputed presidential election in June 2009, over 5,000 people have been arrested, including over 1,000 during and
          following mass demonstrations on the religious festival of Ashoura on 27 December. Those detained include political figures and
          activists, students, human rights defenders and journalists. Since the beginning of March, a widespread wave of arrests of human
          rights defenders has taken place, particularly members of the group Human Rights Activists in Iran, which publishes news about
          human rights violations in Iran. This follows the arrest of at least eight members of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters
          since December 2009, of whom four remain in detention.
          Many of those arrested since June 2009 have been tried in grossly unfair trials, resulting in long prison term sentences and some
          sentences of flogging. At least 13 have been sentenced to death, of whom two have been executed and three have had their
          sentences commuted to prison terms. Those known to be on death row include two people convicted of “moharebeb” (enmity
          against God) for alleged membership of the Anjoman-e Padashahi Iran, a group which advocates the restoration of a monarchy in
          Iran, and five unnamed individuals (two women and three men) said to have been tried and convicted in January 2010 of
          “moharebeh” for alleged membership of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (a banned opposition group based abroad)
          and organizing the Ashoura demonstrations. 20-year old Damghan university student Mohammad Amin Valian has also been sentenced to
          death, although his appeal has not yet been heard. He was one of five people charged with “moharebeh” during the trial of 16 people
          in January and February 2010. Video footage of him throwing stones during the Ashoura demonstrations was shown in court and
          was used as evidence to convict him of “moharebeh”.
          The Iranian authorities are continuing to severely restrict freedom of expression in Iran, arresting journalists (of whom scores are
          believed to remain in detention), imposing restrictions on the use of the internet, including social networking sites, and shutting
          down newspapers. In addition, the Iranian authorities are continuing to deny permission for anti-government demonstrations to
          take place, and have taken brutal measures to suppress such demonstrations, thereby restricting freedom of assembly. The
          authorities have acknowledged over 40 deaths; opposition sources put the true figure much higher, at over 80.
          In February 2010, Iran accepted several recommendations to guarantee freedom of expression and press activities made by other
          states in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record before the UN Human Rights Council (see
          para 90, recommendations 52-58 at http://www.u pr-i nfo.org/I MG/pdf/A_H RC_WG-6_7_L- 11_Iran. pdf) but rejected other
          recommendations calling for an end to measures such as harassment and arbitrary arrest of writers, journalists and bloggers. It
          appears that, despite such public commitments, in practice, the Iranian authorities are continuing to disregard their human
          rights obligations relating to freedom of expression and assembly.
          UA: 66/10 Index: MDE 13/033/2010 Issue Date: 16 March 2010
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Tagged as:

Free Association, Due Process, Imprisonment