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Son of Assassinated Doctor Who Examined Kahrizak Victims Speaks Out


26 Aug 2011 21:45Comments

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Iran Daylight Time (IRDT), GMT+4:30

SoodbakhshFull620.jpg9:45 p.m., 4 Shahrivar/August 26 On September 21, 2010, Dr. Albdolreza Soodbakhsh, a professor at the University of Tehran Medical School and head of the infectious diseases unit at Imam Khomeini Hospital, was assassinated in front of his private clinic in Tehran. Several weeks before he was murdered, in an interview with Deutsche Welle's Farsi outlet, Soodbakhsh (pictured) stated that rapes had occurred at Kahrizak detention center in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential election, and that several victims had contracted infectious diseases. At least four young people detained in the postelection protests were tortured to death at Kahrizak, on Tehran's southern edge. Mehdi Karroubi and other supporters of the Green Movement also made credible allegations that rape and torture were rampant in the facility.

Immediately after Soodbakhsh's murder, Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, commander of the national police, rejected any link between the killing and the crimes committed at Kahrizak detention center. Now in an interview, Behrang Soodbakhsh, the doctor's son, has declared, "My father was murdered because he was not willing to lie" about what happened at Kahrizak.

When asked about the latest developments in the investigation of his father's murder, the younger Soodbakhsh said, "There has not been any investigation. No one has been arrested, and when we pursued the case, they said that the case is progressing, and [since then] they have not said anything."

When asked about the claim by the government that the murder was due to personal issues, Soodbakhsh responded, "They know well that this was not a personal issue, and we are also certain that it was not. My father was neither a rich man to be murdered for his wealth, nor did he have any enemies. All of his patients liked him and he had very good relations with them. Many people that we did not know attended his memorial, and when we asked them, it turned out that they were my father's patients. My father was an honest man who helped his patients any way he could. One time when my mother was looking into my father's income and obligations, she realized that about $10,000 was missing and when she asked my father about it, he responded that a patient of his needed money and he loaned it to him.

"The detectives always asked questions that had nothing to do with the case. The only question that they ever asked was whether we suspected that any particular person may have had a role, but I responded that I am sure that this was not a personal issue."

When asked about the circumstances of the murder, Soodbakhsh responded, "From 30 minutes prior to the murder, two people who were riding on the same motorcycle were around my father's clinic. They did not wear any masks and many people saw them. They shot at my father from the side, because they thought that he might be wearing a bulletproof vest. This indicates that the assassins were trained people. At the same time, a taxicab blocked the street for ten minutes, but the officials never speak about it, never say why it blocked the street and what role it might have had in the murder.

"When we asked, they said that the local [security] cameras were not working. You see, crimes happen everywhere in the world, but that the cameras were not working during those [precise] ten minutes, the ten minutes during which my father was murdered, the cab driver is not identified, the assassins do their work without masks and leave the scene and after 11 months no one is arrested -- that does not happen in the world very often."

When asked who he thinks is responsible for training and dispatching the assassins, Soodbakhsh responded, "You see, many aspects of this are clear. These people had gun silencers, which is a worse crime than having a gun, because it has political implications.

"They were also so sure [of their immunity] that they hung around my father's clinic for 30 minutes. After they murdered him, they drove in the opposite direction of traffic on Keshavarz Boulevard [in central Tehran]. Seven minutes after my father's assassination about 100 security agents from various organs appeared there. How was it possible that that many security agents appeared that fast? If we truly have such [an efficient] security system, why is it that no one has been arrested after 11 months? Why is it that the security camera did not work exactly during the ten minutes that my father was murdered?

"The pharmacy and the clinic also had closed circuit cameras. The security forces took them. Were the faces of the murderers not in there? It is truly impossible. We asked them and requested that they view the films, but received no response. I can say with certainty that a powerful person is behind this. We were even told that someone who saw the murderers went to the police to provide a sketch, but was beaten up and thrown out. My brother found a person who received a driving ticket at the same place and the same time, and the camera had registered his car's license number, but not the face of the murderer."

When asked about the claim that there is no link between his father's murder and the events in Kahrizak detention center, Soodbakhsh responded, "This is like saying there is no link between me and my father. My father was an honest man and lived honorably. He never lied to anyone. He was a simple man who always lived and worked within legal and moral frameworks. He was told to certify that the cause of death of those who were murdered at Kahrizak was meningitis, but he said that he first had to examine them. After the examination, he realized that torture was the cause of death, not meningitis.

"He was also told that if he examined those who had been released, he should say that the infectious disease in their sexual organs was due to meningitis, but my father refused. He had spoken to German radio and mentioned the infection that he had detected in the released people. Only a few hours after the time of his assassination he was supposed to fly abroad to see my brother. We are three brothers who live abroad, but my parents and sister lived in Iran. They [the government] thought that my father was taking his family out of Iran, and they even mentioned this later in a newspaper, claiming that my father had already sent his family out of Iran. They thought that he would move to the U.S. and the more open society there will talk about what he knew. My father was one of the very few who had precise information [about what happened in Kahrizak]."

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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