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Amnesty International

URGENT ACTION APPEAL :Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi

Amnesty International USA
August 10, 2007
Newsletter

Further Information on UA 262/06 (29 September 2006) and
follow-ups (13 October 2006; 11 December 2006; 30 March
2007; 15 June 2007) - Arbitrary arrest/ fear for
safety/possible prisoners of conscience/ medical
concern/torture and ill-treatment

IRAN
Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi (m), aged
49, Shi’a cleric
Sayed Mahdi Kazemeyni Boroujerdi (m), his son
Massoud Samavatiyan (m)
Alireza Montazer Sa’eb (m)
Ali Shahrabi Farahani (m)
Habib Qouti (m)
Ahmad Karimiyan (m)
Majid Alasti (m)

Ayatollah Boroujerdi is reported to be gravely ill, and has
been transferred from Evin prison to hospital. All but two
of his detained followers have been released from prison.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi was arrested at his home in Tehran on 8
October 2006, along with more than 300 of his followers,
during violent clashes with the security forces. His 80-
year-old mother was among those arrested and was allegedly
ill-treated.

Held in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest, Ayatollah
Boroujerdi suffers from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, high
blood pressure and heart problems. He had reportedly been
denied permission to seek treatment at the prison’s medical
facility. He began a hunger strike on 22 July, and was
transferred to hospital the next day. It is not known
whether he is receiving adequate medical treatment in
hospital.

Poor prison conditions, and torture and ill-treatment, have
reportedly led to deterioration in Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s
pre-existing medical conditions, and his health has
deteriorated severely in recent weeks. His Parkinson’s
disease has apparently worsened, and he is suffering from
permanent shaking of his legs and hands, and falls over
frequently. There are unconfirmed reports that he suffered a
heart attack before he was taken to hospital. He has
reportedly lost 30kg since he was arrested.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi has reportedly been tortured and ill-
treated on numerous occasions since his arrest. He is said
to have been beaten, thrown against a wall, and had cold
water thrown on him when he is sleeping. It has been alleged
that photographs and videos were taken of him when he had
been forced to at least partially undress, which the
authorities allegedly threatened to distribute to force him
to confess to a range of allegations and make a statement of
repentance.

On 20 July a letter was circulated to Iranian media outlets,
supposedly written by Ayatollah Boroujerdi. Containing self-
criticism and expressions of regret for his actions, the
letter reportedly expressed ‘‘repentance’‘ and sought
forgiveness from the Supreme Leader. Days later he
reportedly denied that he had written the letter, and
suggested it had been written by the Ministry of
Intelligence.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi is believed to have had at least one
court hearing, on 13 June, which examined some 30 charges.
These include ‘‘waging war against God’‘ (Moharebeh), for
which the punishment is death; acts against national
security; publicly calling political leadership by clergy
(Velayat-e Faqih) unlawful; having links with anti-
revolutionaries and spies; and using the term ‘‘religious
dictatorship’‘ instead of ‘‘Islamic Republic’‘ in public
discourse and radio interviews. On 13 June an official of
the Special Court for the Clergy reportedly told at least
two news agencies in Iran that examination of the case
against him was continuing, and told the Iranian Students
News Agency that the sentence would possibly be issued
within the next two months.

A further 62 of his followers were reportedly tried in June.
All but two of them have reportedly been released on bail,
possibly to await their verdicts. Those whose names are
known to Amnesty International who have been released
include Habib Qouti, Alireza Montazer Sa’eb, Majid Alasti
and Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s son, Sayed Mahdi Kazemeyni
Boroujerdi.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Ayatollah Boroujerdi rejects the principle of political
leadership by the clergy (Velayat-e Faqih), which is a
central feature of Iran’s constitution. He advocates the
removal of religion from the political basis of the state.
Since 1994 he says he has been summoned repeatedly before
the Special Court for the Clergy, and detained in Evin and
other prisons. He has reportedly developed heart and kidney
problems as a result of torture or ill-treatment.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly
as possible:
- calling on the authorities to order an urgent
investigation into reports that Ayatollah Kazemeyni
Boroujerdi has been tortured and ill-treated;
- noting Ayatollah Kazemeyni Boroujerdi’s transfer to
hospital, but expressing concern that he is reported to be
gravely ill, and reminding the authorities of their
responsibility to ensure that he has access to adequate
medical treatment;
- asking for details of the charges against Ayatollah
Boroujerdi and his trial;
- asking for details of others charged and, where relevant,
sentenced with Ayatollah Kazemeyni Boroujerdi;
- noting that Amnesty International would consider anyone
detained solely on account of their religious beliefs or
their support for Ayatollah Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, who has
not used or advocated violence, to be a prisoner of
conscience, who should be released immediately and
unconditionally.