A 30-year-old man has been detained for four months without trial on charges related to writing a blog in Shiraz, his sister told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Kaveh Taheri was arrested on September 23, 2012, and charged with “acting against national security” and “creating public anxiety in the virtual space.” After his arrest, when security forces allegedly discovered his EuroNews reporter ID card, charges of “reporting for the news agency” and “collaborating in the production of a documentary film” were added to his initial charges. Taheri is currently imprisoned at Adelabad Prison in Shiraz.
“My brother has had no political activities whatsoever, and he has not been a member of any groups. He only has a blog, in which he wrote his opinions on the country’s issues; I don’t think writing personal opinions is a crime,” Laleh Taheri, who is a resident of Malaysia, told the Campaign.
“My parents saw him on Thursday, February 7. My brother was fine physically, but he was frustrated and stressed, and he insisted on dissemination of news of his arrest. However, since I am in contact with my family via telephone, and they are afraid that their phone line may be tapped, they do not speak openly of Kaveh’s conditions. They just say Kaveh is not doing badly,” Laleh Taheri said.
“Kaveh was born in 1982. He was working in a clothing shop in Shiraz, but alongside this job, which was his livelihood, he also had a blog. On September 23, 2012, two or three agents from the Intelligence Office went to his place of work and arrested him. Then, they went to his house and searched it, and confiscated any notes, notebooks, and computer hard drives—which belonged to our parents and to him—that they could find. Then, they kept him for 52 days in the Intelligence Office Detention Center known as Number 100. After that they transferred him to Adelabad Prison in Shiraz, in a prison ward that houses murderers and drug traffickers. However, after a week or ten days, when I spread the news, they changed his ward, and apparently took him somewhere else where his conditions are better now,” she added.
Referring to the charges related to his EuroNews press ID card, Laleh Taheri said, “The other point is that my brother did have a EuroNews reporter card, but he had not yet done anything with it. . . . Now one of his charges is that he was reporting for EuroNews, whereas my brother never engaged in such activities.”
Kaveh Taheri’s blog is no longer accessible online. “The name of his blog was Pouyesh, but two to three months after he was detained, I no longer could find it on the Internet. Now, I don’t know whether the Intelligence Office has blocked it, or whether there is another reason, but I can’t find it,” his sister said.
Asked about the evidence used in his case to support the charges, Laleh Taheri told the Campaign, “They have no evidence other than his blogs. Since they can’t accuse him of anything, they are trying to use every little thing to level charges against him. I was in the documentary film that an American director made about an American basketball player in the Shiraz Basketball Team [“The Iran Job”]. As friends of this basketball player, a few friends of mine and I spoke in this film, and now the film has been [licensed to] screen this year, and the teaser has been distributed everywhere. When the Intelligence Office became aware of this film, they pressured my brother about it because in the end credits of the film he was thanked for his help. They have tried to accuse him of espionage, but my brother has not buckled under pressure, and he has said that this film does not have anything to do with him.”
Regarding her request to the Iranian Judicial authorities, Laleh Taheri told the Campaign, “My parents and my request is that his judicial case be processed more quickly. It has been more than four months since his arrest without any clear charges or a court trial. Our question is, why they would arrest a thirty-year-old man and prevent him from living his natural life? If they needed to conduct investigations about him, those could have been done in the span of a month. Why have they kept him for over four months? On what account and evidence do they want to prove that my brother has acted against national security? He hasn’t done anything, and we want him released.”