Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Iran: Prisoner at risk of torture and ill-treatment: Abdollah Momeni

Amnesty International
September 14, 2009
Appeal/Urgent Action

There has been no news of male Iranian prisoner of conscience Abdollah Momeni since his family visited him at Evin Prison in the capital, Tehran, on 8 August, a month after his arrest. After she saw him, his wife expressed concerned about his health as he had lost weight, was barely able to walk and appeared disorientated. He remains at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Abdollah Momeni, the spokesperson for the Alumni Association of Iran (Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat), was arrested on 21 June at the campaign headquarters of Medhi Karroubi, an opposition candidate in the Iranian presidential election, which took place on 12 June. After more than 84 days in detention, there have been no reports of Abdollah Momeni being brought before a court and his family and lawyer still do not know where he is being held.

Abdollah Momeni’s wife said that when she last saw him, police guards drove him into Evin Prison from outside, as if he was being held somewhere else. In an interview with news website www.roozonline.com, she explained “When he exited the car, he would have fallen down if his brother and I hadn’t held him up. He couldn’t walk even one step. We helped him walk to the visitation room.” She added “Abdollah’s hair and beard had grown and were completely dishevelled… His eyes were puffy and the area under them was bruised.” He had lost a lot of weight and appeared to be disorientated as he repeatedly greeted his visitors and told them that “his place was good.” His wife reported that the meeting lasted for 10 minutes and was held in the presence of Abdollah Momeni’s interrogator, who recorded everything on a tape-recorder. Abdollah Momeni was allowed to call his wife once, one week after his arrest, when he was distressed, but not since then and she has not been permitted to see him again. Abdollah Momeni was previously detained following demonstrations in June 2003 and July 2007 (see additional information). He suffers from a gastroenterological condition and previously experienced kidney failure while detained and required medical treatment. He may not be able to obtain adequate medical care in prison now.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English or your own language:

  • expressing concern that Abdollah Momeni has been detained for criticizing the conduct of the recent presidential election and calling if this is the case, for his immediate and unconditional release as a prisoner of conscience;

  • calling for him to be protected from torture and other ill-treatment while in detention;

  • urging the authorities to grant him immediate access to his lawyer, family and any medical treatment he may need.


Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)

http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)

Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: Via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/81/Default.aspx First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Speaker of Parliament

His Excellency Ali Larijani

Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami

Baharestan Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 3355 6408

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


PRISONER at risk of torture and ill-treatment


In the days following the 13 June 2009 announcement that incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the presidential election, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in mass and generally peaceful demonstrations throughout the country, disputing the election results. The authorities quickly imposed sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly and telecommunication and internet systems were severely disrupted. Iranian publications were banned from publishing information about the nationwide unrest and foreign journalists were banned from the streets, their visas not renewed and others arrested or expelled from the country.

In response to the mass protests, security forces, notably the paramilitary Basij, were widely deployed. At least 4,000 people were arrested in the three to four weeks following the 12 June 2009 election, including prominent political figures close to presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and former President Khatami, who supported Mir Hossein Mousavi’s presidential election campaign. Some human rights defenders and journalists were also detained. They have been denied access to legal representation, but have generally been able to meet family members.

Security forces used excessive and lethal force against demonstrators, killing dozens of protestors and injuring hundreds more. Some died later of their injuries. Others have been injured and died as a result of torture while in custody.

Mass trial sessions of hundreds starting on 1 August 2009 were grossly unfair, including the latest of which was held on 25 August. Detainees “confessed” to vaguely worded charges, which are often not recognizably criminal offences. These “confessions”, apparently obtained under duress, were accepted by the court. Some of those on trial were filmed making similar “confessions”, which were aired on TV before their trials took place. Some of those on trial could face the death penalty.

Iranian officials have confirmed that at least some of those detained after the post-election protests have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and that abuses took place in at least one detention centre, Kahrizak, a centre outside of Tehran. On 29 July, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered its closure and the head of a detention facility and three guards, thought to have worked at the Kahrizak detention centre, were reportedly dismissed and possibly detained. On 15 August, Parviz Sorouri, the Head of the Special Parliamentary Committee to review post-election arrests, told the Iran Labour News Agency that 12 police officials and a judge who had been involved in transferring detainees to Kahrizak would be arrested and tried for their role, “as the detention centre was intended for drug dealers”.

Amnesty International has received reports consistent with a statement made by Mehdi Karroubi that both women and male detainees have been subjected to torture, including by rape, by security officials. His allegations were initially denied by Farhad Tajari, a member of the Special Parliamentary Committee, but, on 26 August 2009, another of the Committee’s members told the website Parleman News on condition of anonymity, "It has definitely become evident to us that some of the post-election detainees have been raped with batons and bottles."

Abdollah Momeni had already been detained following demonstrations in June 2003 and July 2007. He was one of the subjects of UA 187/03 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/016/2003/en/49b7f7a3-d6c4-11dd-ab95-a13b602c0642/mde130162003en.html ) and UA 194/07 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/095/2007/en ).

UA: 244/09 Index: MDE 13/099/2009 Issue Date: 14 September 2009