Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ramin Jahanbegloo Forced to Confess before Camera

Omid Memarian, Rooz Online:
While hundreds of Iranians around the world participated in the three-day hunger strike called by prominent investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, and called for the release of Ramin Jahanbegloo, Akbar Mousavi Khoeini and Mansour Osanloo, hard-line Resalat daily announced that a film showing Ramin Jahanbegloo’s confessions was ready for airing.

Protesting EU's criticism of the arrest of Ramin Jahanbegloo, conservative newspaper Resalat writes that this film of ‘confessions’ was aired to a group of individuals at a "cultural centre". In the film, according to the paper, Jahanbegloo explains how he had been in touch with certain individuals in Canada and how he had infiltrated anti-revolutionary groups through a European ambassador. Resalat claims that Jahanbegloo also has confessed that he was on a mission to participate in a ‘velvet revolution’ in Iran. READ MORE

Resalat often prints the news of the security agencies, and in this regard had published details about the so-called ‘confessions’ of other detained journalists and intellectuals in the past. And without explaining why were the interrogations or remarks of a detainee shown to a group of individuals while his case is still in its investigative phase - as professed by government officials - tried to take a position against calls around the world for his release.

Earlier, unofficial sources had reported that Jahanbegloo’s video confessions had been shown to members of Iran’s Cultural Revolution Council (who are appointed directly by the leader of the regime), a board that formulates the country’s cultural policies at its highest level. Based on these news reports, this video apparently shows interrogators extracting ‘confessions’ of cooperation with the West and the US from some 20 Iranian cultural personalities. Some of these individuals are said to be among the most prominent thinkers in Iran.

The last time such a confession was aired was a year ago when a group of 4 individuals who operated news websites were brought before TV cameras to ‘confess’ and denounce their activities, while asking for a pardon from officials for participating in civil society groups. This event was widely criticized by human rights groups inside and outside Iran. Prior to them, student activist Ali Afshari had been arrested and put into solitary confinement where he is reported to have ‘confessed’ to fake charges against him. Subsequently he exposed how he had been treated in prison, including how security and intelligence officials had forced him to make confessions. He also pointed the finger at the national television network as being accomplices in this. In Iran, such televised ‘confessions’ are not new, and all prominent political prisoners have exposed their ordeal after their release.

Sometime ago and soon after Jahanbegloo’s arrest, the minister of intelligence said, in a press interview, that Jahanbegloo was connected to the ‘velvet’ revolution planned for Iran. Minister Mohseni Ejhei had said, “The US has been organizing for a soft or velvet revolution for many countries around the world, including Iran and Jahanbegloo was part of that preparation.” Regarding Jahanbegloo, he had also said that the writer-thinker had a ‘mission’ to this end, but was uncovered by the intelligence apparatus of the Islamic regime. He added that the intelligence agency was at the time still investigating him but would decide how much to reveal after that phase was over.
Sad news.