'Official Leak': Rouholamini tortured to death
31 Aug 2009 11:55
Mehr News Agency | August 31, 2009
The semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted "an informed source" on the cause of death of 25-year-old Mohsen Rouholamini. The fact that this is coming out on a news source close to the government suggests an official leak.
"The death was caused by physical stress, conditions of imprisonment, repeated blows and harsh physical treatment," according to the report.
"Ruholamini was held in Kahrizak detention center and, under unsuitable conditions was transported to Evin prison."
"As a result of his poor physical condition, at the end of the journey, and after a delay of 70 minutes in transferring him to hospital, he unfortunately died."
The leak coincides with comments by Iran's Supreme Leader in a speech to a gathering of students during which he stressed that those responsible for "infractions and crimes including those committed at Kahrizak prison" would be dealt with "without compromise."
Mohsen was a graduate student in computer engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tehran. He belonged to a prominent conservative family. His father, a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Health, was an adviser to Mohsen Rezaee, the conservative candidate in the June 12 presidential election. Mohsen's father was also a long-time member of the Basij militia.
Hossein Alaei, a retired Revolutionary Guard commander and friend of the Rouholamini family, wrote an open letter published on Nowruz News, a website close to the reformists, conveying the words of Abdolhussein Rouholamini, the father.
"When I saw his body I noticed that they had crushed his mouth. My son was an honest person. He wouldn't lie. I'm sure that he's given correct answers to anything they'd asked him," the letter said. "They probably couldn't stand his honesty and beat him until he died under torture."
Jafari: IRGC, Basij played no role in crimes
Tehran Bureau | August 31, 2009
On Saturday, the heads of the IRGC and the Tehran police force issued denials that their personnel committed abuses during the post-election unrest.
Tehran Police Chief, Azizollah Rajabzadeh, gave a press conference yesterday in which he denied that any abuses had occurred in the prison at Kahrizak.
"All of the accused sent to Kahrizak were sent by judicial order," Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Rajabzadeh as saying, "no detainees died in the prison."
The statement directly contradicts revelations regarding prisoner deaths by Hamid-Reza Katouzian, head of the Majles truth-finding committee tasked with investigating post-election abuses including the death of Kahrizak prisoner Mohsen Rouholamini.
On Aug 9, Katouzian dismissed claims by Iran's Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam that Ruholamini died of a "viral infection" and stated that there was clear evidence that the 25-year-old had been beaten to death.
"Whoever killed Mohsen has committed first-degree murder and should be punished accordingly," Katouzian said.
Also yesterday, in a similar statement, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad-Ali Jafari, attempted to distance his forces, which include the Basij paramilitary group, from accusations that that they had led a deadly attack on the Tehran University dormitories in the days following the June 12 election.
In a convoluted account of the events which left five students dead, Jafari said that "rioters," not students, had caused widespread damage, which prompted "people's forces" to join with "forces with unclear affiliations" who had entered "with unknown intentions."
Despite this lack of clarity, Jafari stated categorically that "Basij forces were not involved in these events," instead disowning them as "plain-clothed operatives and rogue elements."
"The trials of these individuals will be held this month," Jafari told reporters.
Jafari also stated that 20 Basij members had been killed in "indiscriminate terror attacks" by rioters armed with stones and wooden clubs or in traffic accidents. This compared with nine dead from among the "opposition forces and attackers."
It is not clear whether these figures relate directly to the up to 30 dead until now claimed by government officials.
Both statements follow a speech by President Ahmadinejad on Friday in which he praised the role of Iran's security forces and blamed prison abuses and attacks on students on "foreign plots."
"We have documents and evidence clearing our security, military and intelligence forces from such shameful conduct," he told worshipers.
"Our Basiji were beaten in streets in order to protect people. I assure you that the enemy-affiliated infiltrators were behind the corruption," the president said.
Mehdi Hashemi leaves Iran for UK
Fars News Agency | August 31, 2009
A source close to Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's family has revealed that Mehdi, the son of the influential cleric, has departed Iran for the UK.
The Fars News Agency report denies any link between Mehdi Hashemi's UK visit and rumors circulating about his imminent arrest after several post-election detainees on trial for attempting to stage a 'velvet coup' implicated him.
In the fourth session of the 'velvet coup' trials, reformist journalist Masoud Bastani claimed that Mehdi Hashemi had given guidelines to the manager of the Jomhouriat website to attack the performance of the first Ahmadinejad government.
"Attacking the four-year performance of the [Ahmadinejad] government and undermining the country's legal institutions [IRGC, Basij, Guardian Council, etc.], alleging vote fraud and creating sensitivity were among our guidelines," Bastani claimed.
The managing director of the Jomhouriat website, Hamzeh Karami, also alleged that Mehdi Hashemi laundered money, forged documents and illegally used public property during the election.
Ahmadinejad censures Principlists, defends bad-hijab women
Radio Farda | August 30, 2009
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized Principlist lawmakers for opposing his cabinet picks, accusing them of trying to make it appear as if Iran were in a crisis.
Prominent Principlist lawmakers Ahmad Tavakoli, Ali Motahari and Mohammad-Reza Bahonar described Ahmadinejad's proposed cabinet as weak and full of designated ministers whose expertise did not match their proposed ministerial positions. They also criticized the president for not seeking the counsel of Parliament in choosing his ministers.
"The president's daily schedule includes dozens of meetings with different people who come and talk and offer suggestions or write letters. I personally read 20 to 30 letters every day. I sometimes even call these people and talk to them," Ahmadinejad said in response.
"I even talked to a five-year-old who wrote me a letter. I talked for 20 minutes with a third grader who had ideas for traffic, pollution and housing problems."
The Iranian president rejected the idea that Iran's political and economic situation was in a critical condition. "Some gentlemen speak in a manner as if the country is in a crisis," he said.
"The country has problems. More than 100 countries in the world have serious problems. Our problems are far less in comparison to others," said Ahmadinejad.
The Iranian president went on to voice his disapproval of confronting women on the streets for their lack of proper hijab.
"Why is it that some people think that culture is dependent on young women's choice of clothes? Why is it that they think they can raise cultural awareness by force? This is repression. The people have willingly chosen this culture and have lost their children in this course [upholding revolutionary values]."
Principlist MP doubts Basij casualty numbers claimed by IRGC
Rahe Sabz | August 31, 2009
Reformist lawmaker Nasrollah Torabi said authorities guilty of crimes committed at Kahrizak will be publicly tried unless some of the perpetrators are influential figures who could damage the reputation of the establishment if their identities become known.
In response to a question about a statement made by a member of the Majlis truth-finding committee, who had said that the Kahrizak trials would not be public, Torabi said the issue was for the court to decide.
"If the probe into the incidents of the Kahrizak detention center does not harm national security the trial will be public. However, if there are people whose names must not be mentioned and naming them would damage the reputation of the establishment or would expose the secrets of the establishment then the trials will not be public," the Shahr-e Kord representative added.
Torabi went on to dispute claims made by IRGC commander Mohammad-Ali Jafari regarding the 20 Basiji casualties in the post-election unrest.
"Considering those statistics, how is it that we have not seen any funerals [held for the Basijis]?"
"Whenever they officially announce their [the deceased Basijis] names we can discuss it but so far we have only seen one Basij casualty and there was a funeral held for him."
"Despite the Supreme Leader's order to deal with the crimes committed after the election, it appears that some institutes have retreated and claimed innocence."
Torani added that if the IRGC command had the names of the Basij casualties, Seda va Sima [State television] would have already aired a report about it.
"If they are to investigate the crimes committed after the election, the issue will go beyond low-ranking officers," the lawmaker said.
Principlist Bahonar defends role of Majlis in vetting executive cabinet
Tabnak | August 30, 2009
Deputy Majlis Speaker Mohammad-Reza Bahonar said he will not be voting for a minority of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposed ministers.
The Principlist lawmaker, who was speaking in opposition to the 10th cabinet line-up in Majlis on Sunday, began by saying that it was difficult for him to oppose the governments programs given his liking for the president.
"Because a comprehensive outline of the government's programs has not been given to Majlis, we have no choice but to review the programs of different ministers and their performance in the 9th administration. The problem with this [Majlis] bylaw is that a speaker must either be in favor or against the issue at hand and there is no grey option."
Bahonar went on to say that the Iranian president was well within his rights to choose and introduce his cabinet in the manner he did. "We also concede that a minister who is not to the liking of the president will not be able to do his job properly," he said. "But the Constitution has also defined responsibilities and rights for the Parliament."
"Majlis must have confidence in the proposed ministers. The confidence of the president in his cabinet picks does not obligate Majlis to give a vote of confidence to these individuals."
"Lawmakers are responsible for evaluating the efficiency of the ministers. However, it appears that the president was of the opinion that Majlis should vet their [the ministers] overall and moral credibility and not concern itself with their efficiency."
Bahonar criticized the lack of inclusion of prominent figures in the new Ahmadinejad cabinet line-up, saying, "There were a number of ministers in the 9th cabinet who were a source of pride. One example is Dr. Baqeri-Lankarani, but what [has] happened [now] that their cooperation has decreased?"
"Some of the ministers have been proposed for four or five different ministries that do not correspond with their field of expertise and this, in my opinion, is one of the surprise-invoking acts of the new administration," the prominent Principlist added.
MP: Reformists will not be eliminated
Kalame | August 30, 2009
Reformist lawmaker Nasrollah Torabi accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of continuously making statements to create chaos in the country.
"His [Ahmadinejad] remarks at Friday Prayers were full of contradictions. On the one hand, he says 40 million people voted and thanks them. And on the other, he demands punishment for opposition leaders, in other words those who did not vote for him."
Torabi stressed that punishing opposition leaders would be tantamount to punishing the nation. "Ahmadinejad wants the leaders, who have the support of the people, to be punished," he said. "These leaders have sacrificed their honor and credibility to convince people to come to the scene and vote."
"Ahmadinejad wants the leaders of the protesters to be punished. This is while in our view vandals and arsonists did not belong to the reformists," Torabi said, adding that the saboteurs could have been dispatched by the governing party to infiltrate the ranks of protesters.
"Reformists favor dialogue and logic. Reformists are the ones whose leader Mr. [Seyyed Mohammad] Khatami proposed the idea of 'dialogue among civilizations' in the international arena."
"Reformists are not accustomed to committing arson and acts of sabotage. Perhaps the leaders he [Ahmadinejad] calls for [their arrest and trial] are his own people and I should say we are also in favor of seeing them tried."
"But if by requesting the trial of the [protest] leaders, Ahmadinejad means Hashemi, Khatami, Mousavi and Karroubi, we must say we have never seen these four call people to protest. And if he [Ahmadinejad] is trying to create an imaginary enemy and use that to offer his analysis on different podiums, that is a different matter."
Torabi went on to say that it was not for the chief executive to read out an indictment at the Friday Prayers podium and sit to judgment.
"Reformists can only be isolated from power by imprisonment, but they cannot be completely eliminated because eliminating the reformists means the elimination of the people," the Shahr-e Kord representative added.
Torabi criticized the use of the Friday Prayers and Seda va Sima [state Television] by the Principlists. He also challenged the governing party to a debate.
"If they are so sure of themselves why don't they hold round tables with both parties so that it becomes clear what both sides are saying."