Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Former US Hostages and Victims of Torture Point Finger at Visiting Iranian President

Several former U.S. Embassy hostages, Iranian victims of torture and the Iranian Committee to Pursue the International Crimes of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Committee on IRI Crimes), held a press conference condemning the New York (UN) visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, identifying him as a perpetrator, practitioner of, and an agent of international terror. READ MORE

Making this case through powerful, first hand, testimonials and accounts of their experiences with Ahmadinejad, were former US hostages, who were held in captivity, in Tehran, for 444 days; actual victims claiming torture at the hands of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; a member of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party detailing, and implicating, Ahmadinejad in the assassination account of their Secretary-General; and Dr. Manouchehr Ganji, Founder of Committee on IRI Crimes, himself a former United Nations Rapporteur on Human Rights.

"Many of my interrogations were at odd hours, after midnight, during which Mr. Ahmadinejad advised me that they knew of my handicapped son's name, address and school," said former US hostage, Col. Dave Roeder (Ret.). "They had full knowledge of my son's school pick-up and drop-off schedules, threatening that my wife would receive his small body parts, by mail, if I did not cooperate," he added. "I was in Tehran, I was there, I saw him [Ahmadinejad] for months and months, I can tell it was him. No one can tell me otherwise," said Bill Daugherty, also a former hostage, in Tehran, whose point was to challenge any skeptics of his and his fellow hostage's accounts and recognition of Ahmadinejad.

Internationalizing Mr. Ahmadinejad's portfolio of crimes, Dr. Morteza
Esfandiari representing Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party indicated that they and the Austrian authorities are in possession of detailed and extensive data and information implicating Mr. Ahmadinejad's personal involvement in the July 12, 1989 assassinations of Mr. Abdul-Rahman Ghassemlou -- the Secretary - General of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party -- and two of his colleagues in Vienna, Austria.

Fearing for their lives and personal safety, a gruesome accounting of the 1989 kidnapping and assassination was presented on behalf of Mr. Abass Gholizadeh's family who, subsequent to several failed attempts, was kidnapped by the Islamic Republic's intelligence agency in Turkey. In an ordeal, widely reported by the Turkish media, Abass Gholizadeh was kidnapped, while on a walk with his wife, only to be found by the Turkish police, three months later, badly mutilated and tortured, floating off the coastal waters of Istanbul.

This account, including the involvement of the Tehran regime, was widely reported by the media, which, in addition to prior similar acts, resulted in the recall of Iran's then-Ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Manucher Mottaki, who is currently also in New York with Ahmadinejad. "This crime including several other assassinations of Iranian dissidents, in Turkey, were committed with the full knowledge and, in fact, supervision of Mr. Mottaki who today enjoys full diplomatic courtesies in this very city -- as Mr. Ahmadinejad's prized Foreign Minister," said Dr. Manouchehr Ganji, making the presentation at the behest of Mrs. Gholizadeh, whose assassinated husband worked with the Flag of Freedom Organization of Iran, which Ganji headed.

In addition to various other accounts offered by former US hostages, Messrs. Kevin Hermening, Col. Chuck Scott (Ret.), Don Sharer, as well as their attorney, there was first hand testimony by a former Iranian national, Mr. Joseph Pirayouf, relating his story of intimidation, arrest and torture, in Tehran, at the hands of Mr. Ahmadinejad leading to, among other injuries, the fracture of his jawbone. At the time of his arrest, in 1979, Mr. Pirayouf, owner of a taxi company, had been assisting Americans to exit Iran, which was found to be offensive by anti-American zealots like Ahmadinejad.

"The presentation today portrays just a small sample of the kind of criminal behavior the leadership of the Iranian regime has systematically pursued," said Dr. Ganji, author and an authority on international law and human rights. "Iranians, particularly those suffering at home, appreciate the distinctions that are being made every day between them and the clique of criminals that are ruling them. We heartily welcome the former American hostages' decision to stand with those Iranians struggling today, in quest of freedom and a secular democratic system of government based on international covenants on human rights. "

After the 1979 revolution, the twenty-three year old Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Ayatollah Khomeini's universities' representative in the Student Office for Strengthening Unity, which played the command and control center for the seizure, and subsequent occupation, of the US Embassy for 444 days. Later in the 1980's he joined the Revolutionary Guards and eventually helped create the infamous Qods Brigade, which is today, still tasked with the super-secret special terror operations dictated by the clerical leadership. Just this summer, he was handpicked and declared winner, by the regime's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, to replace the outgoing President Mohammad Khatami.

SOURCE Iranian Action Committee