Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fear of Torture and Ill-treatment: Sayed Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho'ini

Amnesty International:
Sayed Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho’ini was reportedly arrested during a peaceful demonstration in the capital, Tehran, which called for legal reforms to end discrimination against women in Iran. At least 69 other people were arrested, but all except Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho’ini have since been released. Amnesty International believes him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely on account of the peaceful exercise of his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression and association, and he is at risk of torture or

Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho’ini, a former student leader and former member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Majles (Iran’s parliament), is also the Head of the Alumni Association of Iran (Sazman-e Danesh Amukhtegan-e Iran-e Eslami [Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat]), which he helped found in 2000. This organization, whose membership is open to graduates of Iranian universities, has been active in promoting democracy and human rights in Iran. During his term in parliament he was an active advocate of human rights, and highlighted the cases of imprisoned students and political prisoners, including by inspecting prisons and illegal detention centres. READ MORE

Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho’ini is reportedly held in section 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence. Security officials were alleged to have beaten him when he was arrested, and further reports have suggested that he has been beaten while held in detention.

Fourteen days after his arrest he was reportedly allowed visits from his family and one of his lawyers. The lawyer reportedly said that the charges against his client included making a statement to the Mehr news agency based in Tehran, the details of which were not specified. Other reports have suggested that he is accused of "spreading lies". According to reports, prior to his participation in the women’s rights demonstration, security officers had contacted Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho’ini by telephone and warned him against supporting and participating in the protest.


On 12 June 2006 the Iranian security forces forcibly broke up a peaceful demonstration by women and men advocating an end to legal discrimination against women in Iran. The demonstrators had gathered in the "Seventh of Tir" Square in Tehran to call, among other things, for changes in the law to give a woman's testimony in court equal value to that of a man; and for married women to be allowed to choose their employment and to travel freely without obtaining the prior permission of their husband.

Police officers, including a large unit of policewomen, reportedly moved in as soon as the demonstration began and forced the protesters to disperse, including by beating some with batons. Scores of protesters were detained; on 13 June 2006, Minister of Justice and Spokesman for the Judiciary Jamal Karimi-Rad stated that 42 women and 28 men had been arrested for participating in what he alleged was an illegal demonstration. When questioned about the reports of beatings by police, he said, "If there was any beating, it will be reviewed".