Iran: Prominent Political Prisoner Moezzi, goes missing after disagreement with authorities
By Prabalta Rijal
Jan 7, Tehran: Amidst global concerns over the appalling human rights conditions of political prisoners in Iran, which came into lime lights after severely long hunger strikes by prisoners of conscience in the country, Ali Moezi, a renowned political prisoner in Iran has gone missing since January 4, 2017.
Moezzi, was incarcerated in hall 12 of ward 4 in Gohardasht Prison but on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, Iranian regime authorities suspiciously transferred him to an unknown location.
According to his family, he had been summoned to the prison clinic on Wednesday morning. However, he refused to abide by the unusual request, being suspicious of authorities’ motives, he went to his routine weekly visit with his family, but while returning to his ward at around 10 AM he was transferred by unknown individuals to an undisclosed location, and there has been no information of his whereabouts.
His daughters fear that he faces an imminent threat as over the last seven years, he has been charged not once, but four times. "The authorities on several occasions had stated that they intend to bring new bogus charges against him to prevent his release after the end of his sentence. Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) have told him that they would torture him to death and would not allow him to be released from prison alive.Each time, he has refused his participation in the trials, citing their lack of legitimacy and due process. Each time, henchmen beat him and forced him to court. In May 2015, a flock of thugs beat him so hard against an iron railing that his forehead split. Disregarding the fact that he was near the end of his term, they sentenced him to an additional year of prison. The charges are ongoing…Due to my father’s resistance and bravery, these courts will likely still arbitrarily prolong his sentence," they said.
Similarly, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) has also warned of a serious threat to the political figure's life following reports that the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security has taken him to an unknown location outside the prison.
According to the Committee, his two daughters have written an urgent letter to UN officials reiterating that their father, whose only crime is to be related to members of the Iranian opposition PMOI, has served his sentence and should have been released, but has now gone missing without any information on his fate.
Moezi had been serving a sentence for the past six years in the notorious Gohardasht Prison (also known as Rajai Shahr Prison) in the northern outskirts of Karaj, approximately 20 km west of Tehran, but he has since been moved without explanation. According to his family, Moezi, 65, had also spent years in prison in the 1980s and was, subsequently, arrested in 2008 and served a two-year sentence for visiting his two daughters who were in Camp Ashraf, the Iraqi place of residence for members of the people’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Moezzi, an agricultural engineer had been put in solitary confinement and was routinely been beaten. His family informed that he has also suffered psychological and physical torture at the hands of personnel from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.
According to his family, he is ailing and suffers from cancer, kidney disease, and several other afflictions and has been denied treatment even though he was arrested while undergoing cancer treatment.
Other Such Cases:
" Moezzi’s case is another example that the Iranian authorities are stepping up domestic crackdown on political prisoners, activists, dissidents and dual citizens in Iran," the committee stated in a statement issued on Friday.
Although the authorities were forced temporarily release the Iranian activist and writer, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, from prison following domestic and international pressure in support of her and her husband Arash Sadeghi's and another prisoner of conscience's 71-day hunger strike in protest against her unjust sentence, there are thousands of others who are still inside bars for no plausible reason, for instance,the British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested unjustly by the Revolutionary Guards at Tehran International Airport last year, is currently serving a five-year sentence for unspecified charges. She is now being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison awaiting the verdict of her appeal.
Together these cases show the Iranian authorities’ disregard for the right to life and reveal the serious flaws of the Judiciary in Iran that has become a tool of suppression.
Moezzi’s disappearance is starkly reminiscent of the plight of tens of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 who went missing and were later executed by the authorities despite finishing their sentences.
The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), while warning about the threats to Moezzi’s life and the continued imprisonment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
Similarly, Freedom house has also condemned the human rights conditions and the dire situation of political prisoners in Iran. “Political prisoners are risking their lives with hunger strikes to protest their inhumane conditions and the utter disregard for human rights by President Hassan Rouhani as he campaigns for re-election,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa programs. “Rouhani has released a largely meaningless ‘Citizens’ Rights Charter’ but should instead make concrete proposals to improve Iran’s appalling human rights record and uphold the government’s obligations under international and domestic law.”
The Oslo Times