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Author Topic:   'torture' of Ezzatollah Sahabi, leading journalist
posted February 27, 2001 17:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran's MPs condemn 'torture' of leading journalist

The Independent
By Chris de Bellaigue in Tehran

26 February 2001

One of Iran's most respected journalists has suffered so much "psychological torture" since his arrest in December that he "barely
recognised his family" when he was in court, a reformist deputy told the Majlis, or parliament, yesterday.

Fatemeh Hakikatjou, an MP in the Participation Front, said Ezzatollah Sahabi seemed "mentally unbalanced" at a hearing to answer charges over a speech he made last year.

Mohammad Baqer Zakeri, another reformist deputy, made similar allegations concerning Mr Sahabi and a prominent student leader, Ali Afshari. "I have heard they have made 'shocking confessions'. We have heard that before, about people making shocking and strange confessions under the worst duress," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

The welfare of Mr Sahabi, a diabetic in his 70s, has been a source of concern since he was arrested. The parliamentary speaker had to intervene to find out where they were held.

They have since been charged with insulting Iran's Supreme Leader and "propagandising against the system" in an address to students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University. Mr Sahabi criticised the record of Iran's Islamic republic. Mr Afshari suggested the Supreme Leader's constitutional position could be put to a referendum.

The arrest of the respected Mr Sahabi, who spent 12 years in jail for resisting the Shah, was seen as proof of an intensifying campaign by the hardline judiciary against supporters of Mohammad Khatami, Iran's reformist president.

Four more journalists from Mr Sahabi's Iran Farda magazine were also arrested. Itwas one of about 30 reformist publications banned last year.

Another MP, Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, told parliament that armed security men had recently assaulted Fariba Davoudi Mohajera, a journalist at the reformist newspaper Hambastegi, at her home last week before taking the journalist away.

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posted February 27, 2001 17:40     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran court denies dissidents tortured

TEHRAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline revolutionary court angrily denied allegations of torture against two imprisoned dissidents on Monday, threatening action against a reformist parliamentarian who made the charges. MP Fatemeh Haqiqatju said on Sunday that veteran opposition leader
Ezzatollah Sahabi and pro-democracy student activist Ali Afshari were being subjected to psychological torture in prison.

She told parliament that Sahabi, 75, was emotionally unstable and unable to recognise his family when they visited him in jail recently.

A senior court official denied the allegations.

"The meetings between Sahabi and Afshari and their families have been videotaped and the films testify to Ms Haqiqatju's false testimony," he was quoted by official news media as saying.

"Ms Haqiqatju must accept responsibility for her false comments and the Islamic revolutionary court will seriously pursue this matter."

Sahabi, a leader of the secular opposition to the Islamic rule in Iran, and Afshari were sentenced last month to four and five years in prison respectively for their part in a Berlin conference on political change in
Iran. They are being held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

The two men are among political activists jailed in a conservative crackdown on President Mohammad Khatami's liberal social and political reforms.


Sahabi's daughter, Haleh, said on Monday that her father had not been fully alert when meeting his family in jail.

"He was not alert enough to recognise members of his family," she told the official IRNA news agency.

Haleh Sahabi also said her family had earlier met with parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, who "promised to do all he can to improve my father's condition."

The agency said Sahabi had been allowed a visit from his family after intervention by Karroubi, a Khatami ally.

Many jailed activists complain they are denied legal counsel and family visits during lengthy investigations and interrogations, some lasting for months.

The complaints prompted parliament, dominated by reformist deputies, to pass a bill on Sunday giving crime suspects access to a lawyer during all phases of investigation.

But the bill is expected to run into opposition from the Guardian Council, a conservative body that vets legislation, before it becomes law.

Reformers have tried in vain to stop what they call persecution of dissidents by the conservative-run judiciary.

Several MPs have been charged with slander and called in for questioning.

The revolutionary court judge also denied charges by Haqiqatju that his agents used excessive force last week to arrest Fariba Davoudi, a reformist woman journalist.

"Our agents entered her house with a warrant, but she resisted arrest and her husband got into a scuffle with the agents and gave one of them two broken bones," he said.

The judge said two guns and illegal documents supporting top dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri had been found in a search of Davoudi's home.

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posted February 28, 2001 09:51     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran woman MP faces hardline Revolutionary Court

TEHRAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Outspoken Iranian reformist MP Fatemeh Haqiqatju said she was not unduly concerned about being summoned to the Revolutionary Court over her allegations of torture of political prisoners, newspapers reported on Tuesday. "I have carried out my duty according to the constitution...I am not
worried," Haqiqatju was quoted as saying by the Hayat-e No daily. Other newspapers carried similar reports.

She said she would file a lawsuit against the chief of the Revolutionary Court for saying she had fabricated the torture charges.

On Monday the hardline judge denied torture and other allegations that its agents used excessive force to arrest Fariba Davoudi, a reformist woman journalist, last week.

A court statement had said two illegal guns and thousands of pages of documents supporting Iran's leading dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri had been seized in a search of Davoudi's home.

But Haqiqatju said only one "legally-owned weapon" belonging to Davoudi's husband, a member of the elite Revolutionary Guards, was taken by court agents.

The septaugenarian Ayatollah Montazeri has been held under house arrest since 1997 for criticising Iran's system of absolute clerical rule. His son, Saeed, was arrested last year and has been held in "temporary confinement" ever since.

Montazeri was appoined to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but the Islamic republic's founder dismissed his heir-apparent in 1989 after rows over the treatment of political prisoners and other issues.

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posted May 01, 2001 09:48     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Relatives of jailed opposition figures protest detention conditions

TEHRAN, April 30 (AFP) - Relatives of jailed opposition leaders published an open letter Monday protesting the detention conditions of their loved ones. In a letter to parliament published in Monday's press, relatives of 15 jailed progressives denounced the detentions in "military prisons" as well as the "late-night interrogations."

They also deplored the "the impolite treatment of families and prisoners" by pentitentiary officials.

Among the signatories were family members of 75-year-old opposition figure Ezatollah Sahabi, who has been in jail since December, as well as dissident cleric Hassan Yusefi Eshkevari, reportedly facing a number of serious charges, including apostasy.

Sahabi and Eshkevari are both linked to the the Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), an Islamic liberal opposition party which had been tolerated despite an official ban in place since 1988.

More than 60 people with links to the IFM were arrested in recent weeks, many of whom are accused of conspiring to overthrow the clerical regime.

The IFM was banned from all further activities in March by orders of the revolutionary courts.

Several of the detainees have been released, while IFM leader Ibrahim Yazdi, currently in the United States for medical care, was ordered to return home Sunday by Tehran's revolutionary court to face serious charges.

The court said it would move to issue an arrest warrant if Yazdi, who is charged with "action against the internal security of the Iranian state and arms possession," did not present himself in due course.

The protest letter comes one week after sources close to the liberal opposition movement said they would organise a sit-in at parliament to demand the release of Sahabi and other jailed opposition figures.

The crackdown on the group has unfolded in the run-up to the June 8 presidential election, for which reformist President Mohammad Khatami has yet to declare whether he will seek a second term in office.

Khatami earlier this month expressed his "regret" over the opposition arrests, which some reformists have charged are a political ploy aimed at weakening his standing ahead of the election.

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posted June 04, 2001 09:09     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Veteran Iran dissident repents from jail - court

TEHRAN, June 3 (Reuters) - Veteran Iranian dissident Ezzatollah Sahabi has repented his past activities in a letter from jail and confessed to working with the United States to topple the Islamic system, a hardline court said on Sunday. It was the second such confession by a prominent dissident in less than a month as Iran prepares for elections on Friday which President Mohammad Khatami is widely expected to win.

"Can anyone deny that efforts by myself and others like me to turn the government into a non-religious one conform with the desires of the United States?" the revolutionary court quoted Sahabi as saying in a letter from his prison cell.

"I do not deny that all of my press and political activity in the past years were aimed at discrediting the religious government and to replace it with a non-religious one," Sahabi said in the letter carried by the official news agency IRNA.

Reformist parliament deputies have said Sahabi, jailed since December, and other imprisoned dissidents may have been subjected to psychological torture in jail.

The hardline judiciary had dismissed the charges.

An MP said in February that Sahabi, a liberal Islamist who published a now-banned journal, had been emotionally unstable and unable to recognise his family in jail.

Sahabi's letter followed largely similar televised admissions last month by reformist student leader Ali Afshari and arrests of dozens of liberal Islamist dissidents.

The arrests were widely seen as part of a conservative crackdown on Khatami's liberal social and political reforms.

"You are gravely mistaken if you think that I would return to my political life if I survive and am released," said Sahabi, who is more than 70 year old, in the letter to his children who have been campaigning for his release from jail.

"At the time of the July 1999 (student) unrest in Tehran, I met the envoy of an American official who proposed that the disturbances should be spread to other parts of the country," the letter was quoted as saying. Sahabi said his activities aimed at "peacefully" overthrowing of the Islamic government.

Sahabi was sentenced to four years in jail in January for attending a controversial conference in Germany on Iran's reforms. He faces additional charges for allegedly insulting Iran's Islamic system of government in a speech.

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