Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, A/HRC/10/12/Add.1, 4 March 2009: Iran
1295. On 13 February 2008, the then Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning Mr. Amin Ghaza’i, aged 29, writer, chief editor of an electronic journal called “ArtCult”, and prominent member of an organisation called “Students for Freedom and Equality” (“Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab”). Some other student members or affiliates of this group were already been the subject matter of a joint urgent appeal to the Government by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary- General on the situation of human rights defenders on 21 January 2008.
1296. According to the information received; Mr. Amin Ghaza’i was arrested in Tehran on 14 January 2008 at a meeting along with 14 other students. He was currently being held without charge or trial in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran and had been ill-treated. On 15 January 2008 the policesearched Mr. Ghaza’i’s home and confiscated his computer and papers. On 30 January 2008, Mr. Ghaza’i was allowed a three minute telephone conversation with his family in the presence of guards, during which he appeared to be intimidated. Apart from this phone call Mr. Ghaza’i had not been allowed access to his family or a lawyer. Mr. Ghaza’i suffers from a peptic ulcer, heart problems, and asthma.
1297. Mr. Ghaza’i has published articles on the internet and written books about gender identity and has translated into the Persian language books on the subject, which are banned in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In view of his reported incommunicado detention concerns were expressed as to Mr. Amin Ghaza’i’s physical and mental integrity and his state of health. Further concern was expressed that the arrest and detention of Mr. Amin Ghaza’i might solely be connected to his reportedly peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association.
1387. On 14 August 2008, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, sent an urgent appeal regarding Ms Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and lawyer.
1388. According to the new information received, on 8 August 2008, an article was published on the website of the Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA), entitled “Ebadi bogged down with the Bahai’s”. The article reacts to the fact that Ms Ebadi has undertaken the defence of seven members of the Baha’i community. The article contains allegations such as that human rights are used as means of pressure to impose Western norms to other cultures, and criticizes Ms Ebadi for taking up the defence of homosexuals, Bahai’s and “CIA agents”. The article also refers to the conversion to the Baha’i faith of Ms Nargess Tavassolian, the daughter of Ms Ebadi. Another article, which was published on IRNA’s website, alleged that the reason why Ms Ebadi took up the defence of the seven Baha’i members was in connection with her daughter’s conversion to the faith. On 4 August 2008, the newspaper ‘Kayhan’ also published an article insinuating links between Ms Ebadi, Israel and the Baha’i community.
1389. Concern was expressed that the recent slander campaign may be perceived as incitement to further harassment against Ms Ebadi and her family, especially in conjunction with the death threats against her in April 2008. Further concern was expressed with regard to the physical and psychological integrity of Ms Edabi and her family, as well as her ability to carry out her work.
Link to full text of the report: Summary of cases-SR Human Rights Defenders-2009-eng