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.