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Monday, October 20, 2014 07:55

Mothers of Laleh Park denounce persecution of activists

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Nargess Mohammadi - Abdolfattah Soltani

The Mothers of Laleh Park and their supporters have issued a statement challenging the Iranian judiciary’s harsh sentencing of human rights activists.

Zamaneh reports that the Mothers of Laleh Park released a statement saying: “While the possibility of a humane life is evaporating for Iranian people and especially freedom seekers, the criminals are rising in stature, and there are no fair courts answerable to the people.”

The statement refers to the severe sentences recently handed to human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani and the deputy head of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, Nargess Mohammad, contrasting their judicial fate with that of Saeed Mortazavi, the notorious former Tehran Prosecutor. He was removed from his position after the scandalous torture and death of detainees at the Kahrizak Detention Centre came to light.

The Mothers of Laleh Park write: “Judge Mortazavi, whose many crimes are common knowledge, was dismissed after his offences regarding Kahrizak were revealed. But not only did he not stand trial, he was instead appointed as head of the task force against drug trafficking. And now he is being appointed to the helm of the Organization for Social Security.”

A special parliamentary probe has accused Mortazavi of directly ordering the transfer of a group of post-election detainees to Kahrizak Detention Centre, which led to the torture of numerous prisoners and the death of at least three of the protesters detained in July of 2009.

Mortazavi has been quoted as saying he has been acquitted of all charges against him.

The Mothers of Laleh Park condemn the treatment Soltani has received in prison, citing reports that indicate he is being pressured to testify against his own organization, the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, as well as his colleague, the Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Soltani was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison plus exile. He is also banned from practicing law for 20 years.

The Mothers of Laleh Park also express their solidarity with the families of political detainees who gathered in Shoosh this week in front of that city’s Ministry of Intelligence office. The statement adds that these protesters maintain their relatives have been detained with no access to legal representation and without being formally charged. They also claim that security forces are subjecting the detainees to torture, abuse and solitary confinement.

The Mothers report that the gathering was attacked by government forces, causing protesters to cover their heads with the Quran for protection against the beatings.

Last month, more than 60 people were arrested in Shoosh and other cities in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. The families of two of the detainees, Mohammad Kaabi and Nasser Alboshokeh, were informed by authorities that their relatives had died while in custody, failing to provide any further details.

The Mothers of Laleh Park, also known as the Mourning Mothers of Iran, was formed by a group of mothers who lost their children in the crackdown on street demonstrations after the 2009 presidential elections. The members demand government accountability in the deaths, arrests and disappearances of their children.