IRN 010 / 1107 / OBS 138
Arbitrary detention
November 6, 2007

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran:

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest and subsequent arbitrary detention of Mr. Sohrab Razzaghi, President of Koneshgaran Davtalab (Volunteer Actors Institute), also known as the Iran CSO Training and Research Centre (ICTRC), an Iranian NGO supporting the development of the civil society in Iran.

According to the information received, on October 24, 2007, Mr. Razzaghi was arrested at his home, and brought to Section 209 of the Evin prison in Tehran. As of the date of issuing this appeal, no charges had been held against him.

The Observatory fears that Mr. Razzaghi’s arbitrary detentionmight be directly aimed at preventing him from carrying out his human rights activities. Mr. Razzaghi has indeed just finished drafting a report on civil society in Iran, titled “Analysis of the status of the Iranian Civil Society: Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies”, and was recently invited by the NGO “Frontline Protection of Human Rights Defenders” to attend their annual platform, which will take place in Dublin from November 22 to 24, 2007.

The Observatory further recalls that Mr. Razzaghi has already been targeted by the authorities in the past. On March 15, 2007, the Volunteer Actors Institute, together with two other NGOs[1][1], was shut down, sealed, and barred from further activities, following orders issued by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Tehran Revolutionary Court. On the same day, Mr. Razzaghi was interrogated for several hours, and security officials confiscated some of his personal belongings and froze the ICTRC as well as his personal bank accounts.

Mr. Razzaghi was a professor at the Allameh University until he was dismissed from this position following the election of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. He also served as deputy for NGO affairs with the Ministry of the Interior under Former President Mohammad Khatami.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the increasing repression of the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders, in particular pro-reform students, women’s rights activists and intellectuals.

The Observatory also wishes to insist on the fact that Iran committed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”[2][2] by presenting its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006 election and had insisted in this regard on the fact that the country had “continuously put great efforts into safeguarding the status and inherent dignity of the human person as well as the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”[3][3]. In order to ensure the continuation of these efforts, the Observatory urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to conform in all circumstances with these pledges and with international human rights standards.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Iran urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Sohrab Razzaghi;

ii. Release Mr. Razzaghi immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it merely aims at sanctioning her human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against all Iranian human rights defenders;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 6.b, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others […] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.


· 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: info@leader.ir / istiftaa@wilayah.org / webmaster@wilayah.org;
· President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir;
· 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: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com;
· 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: matbuat@mfa.gov;
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int;
· Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com.

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

Geneva-Paris, November 6, 2007

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

[1]Namely the Rahi Legal Centre and the Non-Governmental Organizations Training Centre.
[2] In accordance with GA resolution A/RES/60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council.
[3] See the pledges made by the Islamic Republic of Iran on http://www.un.org/ga/60/elect/hrc/iran.pdf


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