19th March 2011
Ebrahim Mehtari, a young political activist who was arrested and physically abused in prison during the post-election events of 2009, sustained several knife wounds last night in Paris when he was attacked by two men, one of whom was Iranian. An hour ago, Mehtari told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his assailants put a rope around his neck and used a knife to attack him. He could have faced a much more serious fate had the sound of a police car siren not suddenly scared them away.
Last year, Ebrahim Mehtari told the bitter tale of his detention and torture along with other detainees and the clear violations of human rights inside Iranian prisons at the Human Rights Council. Exactly a year later and as the UN Human Rights Council is in progress in Geneva, he was attacked in Paris. Yesterday, 49 UN member states supported a resolution, objecting to the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran. The resolution will be put to vote next week. As it did last year, this year’s presence of several victims of violence and violations of human rights in Iran at the Geneva meeting thwarted the Iranian delegation’s efforts to cover up grave violations of human rights in Iran. A few months after the 2009 elections, Ebrahim Mehtari left Iran due to psychological pressure and the feeling that his life was in danger; he is currently a resident of Paris.
“I left my home in Paris last night. Three to four hundred meters away from my home, I was attacked by two men. They stabbed me with a knife in my left leg, in my right calf, on my chest, and in my arm, and then put a rope around my neck to strangle me, when suddenly I heard a siren from afar (the source of which I’m not sure about), and they ran away. When they ran away, I started to leave the location in my [injured] condition. I dragged myself into a hotel and entered. The people at the reception called the police immediately and the police transferred me to a hospital,” Mehtari told the Campaign.
Last month, during the side meetings of the Human Rights Council, along with several other victims of human rights violations, Ebrahim Mehtari participated in a panel organized by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The panel was one of the best received sessions about the situation of human rights in Iran and many diplomats were in attendance. At the meeting, Mehtari provided the audience with a detailed account about the abuse and severe physical torture and sexual abuse he had suffered during his detention. Some of the diplomats present at the session are those who will be casting their votes about the Iran resolution next week.
“First one of them asked me whether I am Iranian. Before I turned, they started attacking me with a knife and beating on me. The whole thing was a surprise, so I don’t remember what the individuals looked like. The whole thing didn’t last more then three to four minutes. I think the way they started attacking me was very serious, and it didn’t seem at all that they were only trying to intimidate me,” Ebrahim Mehtari told the Campaign, describing that one of his assailants was Iranian.
Attacks and physical abuse on Iranian political activists outside Iran, most unfortunately, is not unprecedented. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is seriously concerned that this incident may be related to Ebrahim Mehtari’s honest and illuminating efforts to expose instances of human rights violations in Iran, and that an attack on him may be with the aim of preventing further testimony by others, so that violence and torture may continue unabated in Iran.