Reporters Without Borders condemns the increase in repression in recent weeks in Iran. One of the latest victims is the blogger Kouhyar Goudarzi, who has been detained since 1 August, the day that Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, arrived in Tehran to begin a fact-finding visit. Goudarzi’s mother was arrested the next day in the southestern city of Kerman.
Goudarzi is being held incommunicado. The reason for his arrest has still not been revealed and the judicial authorities have released no information about his current place of detention. His lawyer, Mina Jafari, said she is very concerned about his fate. Goudarzi was already imprisoned in 2010.
The arrest of his mother, Parvin Mokhtare, was carried out by four individuals in plain clothes who forcibly entered her home and took her to the main prison in Kerman.
Reporters Without Borders points out that arbitrarily arresting and holding a political prisoner incommunicado is regard as enforced disappearance by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Article 2 of this convention bans “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”
This is nonetheless a widespread and systematic practice by the authorities in Iran.
Pro-government newspapers have carried disturbing reports about the health of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the owner of the closed newspaper Kalameh Sabaz, who has been under house arrest since 25 February. Despite reassuring statements by certain family members, the conditions in which Mousavi and his wife, the successful writer and intellectual Zahra Rahnavard, are being held continue to be worrying.
The same applies to Mehdi Karoubi, the owner of the closed newspaper Etemad Melli, and his wife Fatemeh Karoubi, the editor of the closed magazine Iran Dokhte. Both couples have been under house arrest for the past six months, stripped of all their rights and without any contact with the outside world.
Reporters Without Borders supports a petition signed by around 100 leading Iranian figures that urges the international community to press for the immediate release of Mousavi and Karoubi and their wives. The press freedom organization is very worried about their state of health and calls on the government to end this situation.
The outspoken blogger Mehdi Khazali was meanwhile freed on 12 August after being held for more than three weeks, his third spell in detention in the past two years. He was arrested on 18 July after responding to a summons from the intelligence ministry in Tehran. The last time was he was arrested, on 13 October 2010, he was held for a month before being released on bail of 200 million tomans (150,000 euros).
Khazali is the son of Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali, an influential member of the Council of Guardians of the Iranian Constitution for the past three decades. Despite his frequent run-ins with the authorities, he is very scathing about the government’s policies and human rights violations in his blog Baran.