Amnesty International has taken up the cause of two Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) members abducted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shiva Kamalipour Azad and Arash Fakhravar were abducted separately on April 26 and April 29, 2011. The London-based group is urging people to contact Iran’s Supreme Leader and other figures directly, and is seeking international diplomatic action.
Amnesty International has provided a fragment of new information on the Fakhravar abduction, saying that the young man was “reportedly arrested at Tehran Airport on or around 29 April.” This is the first public information confirming that Arash Fakhravar is being held in Iran after disappearing from a street in Paris, France. (Arash appears in the accompanying photo, burning Supreme Leader Khamenei’s portrait at a Paris protest.)
Amnesty did not publish its own account of Arash Fakhravar’s abduction from Paris, which IranChannel first reported, as the organization has been unable to make its own independent confirmation. However, the human rights group did confirm that he had been in Paris and that the circumstances of his exit from France are “unclear.”
In Amnesty’s words, the young brother of Confederation of Iranian Students Amir Fakhravar was “reportedly arrested on arrival in Tehran after returning from France where he was an asylum-seeker. The circumstances of his departure from France are unclear. His current whereabouts are unknown, and he may have been subjected to enforced disappearance.”
Click here for Amnesty International’s official statement. That statement is reproduced below:
STUDENT ACTIVISTS HELD IN IRAN
Two members of the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), an independent group of current and former students, have been arrested. Shiva Kamalipour Azad was arrested in Iran’s capital, Tehran, on 26 April 2011 and Mohammad Reza Fakhravar (known as Arash) was reportedly arrested at Tehran Airport on or around 29 April. They are at risk of torture or other ill treatment.
Journalist Shiva Kamalipour Azad, aged 29, was initially arrested on 17 April 2011 by security officials at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, as she was leaving to attend a conference about journalism in the Muslim world in the USA via Dubai. Her passport, camera, computer and phone were confiscated and she was taken to Evin Prison, Tehran, where she reportedly appeared before a Revolutionary Court. Shiva Kamalipour Azad was held in incommunicado detention, until her release on bail on 24 April 2011. She is believed to have been ill-treated during interrogation. She was arrested again at her grandfather’s residence, in the middle of the night two days later by six security officials believed to be from an intelligence body. She was blindfolded and taken back to Evin Prison where she is still held.
Nineteen-year-old student activist Arash Fakhravar was reportedly arrested on arrival in Tehran after returning from France where he was an asylum-seeker. The circumstances of his departure from France are unclear. His current whereabouts are unknown, and he may have been subjected to enforced disappearance.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, English or your own language:
- Calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Shiva Kamalipour Azad and Mohammad Reza Fakhravar (known as Arash) if, as appears to be the case, they are held solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
- Expressing deep concern that Arash Fakhravar may have been subjected to enforced disappearance, urging the authorities to disclose his whereabouts immediately;
- Calling on the authorities to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and grant them immediate and regular access to their families, lawyers of their choice and adequate medical care.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 16 JUNE 2011 TO:
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
Twitter: @khamenei_ir “@khamenei_ir must release student activists Shiva Kamalipour Azad and Arash Fakhravar!#Iran risk of torture”
Salutation: Your Excellency
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
[care of] Public relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street
Vali Asr Ave., above Pasteur Street intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (In subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
High Council for Human Rights
[Care of] Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737,Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: email@example.com (subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
Salutation: Dear Sir
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
STUDENT ACTIVISTS HELD IN IRAN
According to the CIS website, the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) is a pro-western, independent student movement of over 7000 members based inside and outside Iran. Its principal objective is “to empower the will and confidence of the Iranian people in their quest for freedom” and it undertakes social, cultural, artistic, literary, and sports activities. It states that it “works tirelessly to promote freedom, human rights and democracy in Iran”. The CIS was officially launched in November 2002 and its Secretary General is former political prisoner Amir Abbas Fakhravar, the eldest brother of Arash Fakhravar.
Shiva Kamalipour Azad, a founding member of the CIS and on its Board of Directors, was travelling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to collect a visa for the USA. She was due to speak on 8 May 2011 at a conference entitled “US-Iran Relations and New Generation Conference” sponsored by the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. Shiva Kamalipour Azad has been arrested several times previously in connection with her activities for the CIS.
Mohammad Reza Fakhravar (known as Arash) was arrested on 31 December 2010 after participating in demonstrations against the authorities which took place in Iran in late December 2009 during the Ashoura religious commemorations. He was held for 30 days in solitary confinement. A family member told Amnesty International that on 19 January 2011, he was tried on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader, and taking parts in riots and unrest”. He was given a suspended prison sentence, which could be activated if he were to be convicted of having undertaken similar actions at any point over subsequent five years.
In late January 2011, he fled Iran for Iraq where he registered with UNHCR as an asylum-seeker. He travelled to France on 29-30 January, where he was an asylum seeker In March and April 2011, Arash Fakhravar took part in demonstrations against the Iranian government in France.
His family in Iran and abroad have so far been unable to find out where he is since his reported return to the country and they are concerned about the circumstances of his return.
In February 2011, Rahim Rostami, a 19-year-old member of Iran’s Kurdish minority who had arrived in Norway as an unaccompanied minor, and whose asylum claim had been rejected by the Norwegian authorities, was forcibly returned by Norway to Iran where he was reportedly arrested. He is believed to still be detained, with bail reportedly having been denied.
On 17 February 2011, an article written by a former Supreme Court judge appeared in Iran newspaper, a daily paper published by the Iranian government. Referring to existing laws that enable Iran’s judiciary to bring charges against Iranians for alleged violations of Iranian law committed while outside Iran, the article stated that failed asylum-seekers could be prosecuted for making up accounts of alleged persecution. On 26 April 2011, Kayhan newspaper, which is controlled by the Office of the Supreme Leader, also reported that Iranians are seeking asylum ‘on the pretext of supporting the opposition’.
UA: 125/11 Index: MDE 13/047/2011 Issue Date: 06 May 2011
END OF STATEMENT