Sunday, 25 January 2009

OMCT: Five members of the Baha'is community detained incommunicado_Fear for safety

IRN 220109

Arbitrary and incommunicado detention/ Risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment/ Fear for safety

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Iran.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source and Antenna International, a member organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the arbitrary and incommunicado detention of five members of the Baha’is community, namely Mr. Aziz Samandari, Ms. Jinous Sobhani, Mr. Shahrokh Taef, Mr. Payam Aghsani and Mr. Didar Raoufi.

According to the information received, on 14 January 2009 early in the morning, Iranian Intelligence Ministry officials arrested at their respective homes Mr. Aziz Samandari, Ms. Jinous Sobhani, Mr. Shahrokh Taef, Mr. Payam Aghsani and Mr. Didar Raoufi, after raiding the homes of twelve Baha’is (including of the five) in Tehran. Security agents reportedly seized laptops, books and photographs related to the Baha’i Faith. The five are all being reportedly held incommunicado in Evin Prison. No charges were reportedly brought against them but a relative was informed that they would have been arrested for “threat to inner security and collaboration with hostile countries”.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concern with regard to the incommunicado detention of Mr. Aziz Samandari, Ms. Jinous Sobhani, Mr. Shahrokh Taef, Mr. Payam Aghsani and Mr. Didar Raoufi. OMCT recalls that incommunicado detention facilitates torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. OMCT is further concerned about these detentions which are consistent with a pattern of persecution and arbitrary arrest of members of the Baha’i minority in Iran
[1]. Over thirty Baha’is would have been arrested over recent months, including seven members of the Baha’is leadership group who have been reportedly in prison for over seven months. OMCT recalls to Iran that according to article 9 1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Iran urging them to:

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Aziz Samandari, Ms. Jinous Sobhani, Mr. Shahrokh Taef, Mr. Payam Aghsani and Mr. Didar Raoufi;
ii. Guarantee immediate and unconditional access to a legal representation of their choice, their family and any medical treatment they may require;
iii. Order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, and if such charges exist, to ensure that they are given a prompt and fair trial, in which their procedural rights are guaranteed at all times;
iv. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
v. Guarantee that adequate reparation is awarded to the victims;
i. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards.


· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: / /;

· President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail:;
· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email:;
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email:;
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:;
· Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Iran in your respective country.

Geneva, 22 January 2009

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

[1] See for example OMCT Urgent Appeal diffused on 171208.

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