**For more information on the cases of Mehrangiz Kar and Shahla Lahiji, see IFEX alerts of 16, 12, 5 and 1 May, 28 and 25 April 2000. For more information on the case of Ezzatollah Sahabi, see IFEX alert of 28 June 2000.**
(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC is protesting the arrests of journalist Ezzatollah Sahabi and translator Khalil Rostamkhani. Both men are feared to be at risk of ill-treatment whilst in detention. International PEN considers both men to be detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.
Sahabi, managing editor of the journal "Iran-e Farda" (The Iran of Tomorrow), was reportedly arrested on 26 June 2000 after being interrogated at Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. He is believed to be detained for his participation in the academic and cultural conference held in Berlin from 7 to 9 April, at which political and social reform in Iran were publicly debated. Iranian political groups in exile made strong protests against the Iranian government at the conference which were highly publicised within Iran, and members of the Iranian judiciary apparently consider attendance at the conference to be "harmful to national security".
Translator Rostamkhani was arrested on 8 May for his translation services provided to participants at the conference. He was reportedly held for an unspecified time in incommunicado detention, where he was at risk of ill-treatment. He has since been allowed family visits in the presence of the authorities. No charges have been made against him and he is said to be denied
access to legal representation. A warrant for the arrest of his wife, who is studying in Germany, has also reportedly been issued.
Many other prominent Iranian intellectuals who attended the Berlin conference have since faced arbitrary detention and interrogation. They include journalist Akbar Ganji who remains in incommunicado detention, writer, lawyer and human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar and publisher Shahla Lahiji, who were both released on bail on 21 June.
Send appeals to the authorities:
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Ganji, journalist Sahabi and translator Rostamkhani, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory
- seeking assurances that whilst detained all three will be treated humanely, and granted access to legal representation and their families
- welcoming the releases of writer, lawyer and human rights activist Kar and publisher Lahiji, but expressing continued concern that they still face trial and urging that all charges against them be dropped
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahrudi
Head of Judiciary
Ministry of Justice
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
Please note that there are no fax numbers available for the Iranian authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country to forward your appeals.
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible. In Canada send appeals to:
Embassy of Iran
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 2K2
Fax: +613 232 5712
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.