MORE PEOPLE ADD THEIR VOICES TO CONDEMN KHATAMI OVER LAJEVARDI CASE

PARIS 26TH AUG. (IPS) Condemnation and criticism of president Mohammad Khatami's glorification of Assadollah Lajevardi, the man described by Iranians as a the man directly responsible for the execution and torture of thousands of political prisoners continued unabated, as more Iranian dissidents, intellectuals, opposition organisations and even people who supported him voiced their anger and astonishment at his action.

Mr Lajevardi, 58, was sprayed with bullet Sunday in the sprawling Tehran bazaar with his brother and a passer by, by a terrorist commando the authorities say belongs to the Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation (MKO), the outlawed armed group based in Baghdad, financed and equipped by Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

The organisation has claimed responsibility for the operation although some experts doubt, wondering if the murder could not be the work of the authorities to use it as a pretext to launch new waves of repression against dissidents.

[On Wednesday, the authorities announced that one of the alleged killers they claimed had captured after the shooting died in hospital. He was identified by an unidentified official source as Ali Akbar Akbar Deh Bala'i]

In a statement issued hours after the assassination, the ayatollah Khatami wholeheartedly praised Mr Lajevardi, desribing him as a "valiant son of Islam and revolution, a servant of the regime and the people".

A former chief guardian of the infamous Evin Prison, Mr Lajevardi is lauded by the ruling ayatollahs for having carried out with method orders of the grand ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny for the suppression of political prisoners, mostly members of leftist organisations as well as those of the MKO.

"In 1987, at the height of the executions, the infernal machine put in place by Lajevardi was eliminating between 500 to 1000 political prisoners per day", confirmed Mr Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Iran's first president, who now lives in exile in France.

"Frankly speaking, I did not expect Mr Khatami to make such an eulogy of a man like Lajevardi who had committed many indescribable crimes against humanity" said Mr Abbas Amir Entezam, a former official who spent more than 16 years in Iranian Islamic jails without being officially charged or tried.

Many people in Iran and outside IPS talked to, asked their reaction to Mr Khatami's glorification of Lajevardi expressed same shock, anger, astonishment and regret. "This will certainly harm the capital of sympathy Mr Khatami used to enjoy with the Iranian people. He will suffer from this mistake" one of his most fervent supporters commented in a telephone interview from Tehran.

"Khatami could have condemned terrorism, which he did not, and did what he should not, to make the eulogy of a man who should have been tried for his crimes against humanity", commented Mr Karim Lahiji, a prominent Iranian lawyer.

Fellow prisoners who knew personally Mr Lajevardi said he would boast for having "imagined" more than 170 new forms of tortures.

"Komod" (wardrobe), "Dog's box" and "Coffin" were among some of Mr Lajevardi's "fine torture" methods, recalled Mr Amir Entezam.

"Komod" was a place the prisoner would be locked up with no space for other position but stand on one's feet. He would be left in the dark for days and days, sometimes months. The prisoner would be taken out of the komod 3 times a day for food and toilet and back to the wardrobe", he remembered during a telephone interview with the "Voice of Iranians" Radio in Los Angeles.

"Dog box was worse. It consisted of a 70 by 90 centimetre hole in which the prisoner would be forced to sit crossed legs. Ordinary, one would become totally paralysed after a few days sitting in such position", according to Mr Amir Entezam.

"But certainly the most frightening of all the tortures was the Coffin. Already the name of coffin is frightening, let alone to be placed in it, with the its door closed on you and left there. As far as I know, most of the prisoner tortured with these apparels went amok and never recovered", recalled Mr Amir Entezam, a deputy Prime Minister and the official government spokesman under the late Mehdi Bazargan, Islamic Iran's first Premier.

"This is the man Mr Khatami has praised. The question is to know if the West will continue to flirt with the Iranian president", Mr Banisadr noted.

"Butcher, blood sucker, criminal, ruthless, the blood sucker butcher of the velayat e faqih apparatus, wicked, abominable" etc. are a few adjectives used by dissidents organisations and personalities to describe Mr Lajevardi, a former Director of the Islamic Republic Prison's Organisation.

"Lajevardi was not only a savage blood sucker, a wicked man by himself, he was also the symbol of the Islamic republic and its clerical leaders" said "Rahe Kargar", the central organ of Iranian Revolutionary Workers.

"With the murder of Lajevardi, one of the regime's most vicious image leaves the scene", added the Alliance of Iranian Feda'yane Khalq, a Marxist group.

"He should have brought to justice, to explain who ordered him, how he carried out his crimes against humanity", said the London-based Front Line Constitutionalists.

Both Feda'yan (Minority) and the Iranian Communist Workers are "certain" that the day other leaders of this criminal regime would be tried before people's courts is not very far.

Islamic leaders of Iran as well as their dailies were unanimous in their eulogy of Mr Lajevardi. "The great martyr increased the taste of martyrdom among his admirers" wrote "Resalat", which is close to the bazaar oligarchy. For "Keyhan", the semi-official organ of the Information (Intelligence) Ministry, Lajevardi was a "real man, a symbol of bravery and Islamic values".

These papers also attacked other, less fundamentalist dailies like "Salam", "Tous" and "Hamshahri" for not having used the word of "shahid" (martyr) for the man who liked to describe the Evin prison as a university.

"Terror does not solve any problem. I'm not happy at this news. A man probably exceptional for his ruthlessness, his violence, his vices and his atrocities is made a hero, a martyr, a people's servant", pointed out Mr Amir Entezam, who lived personally under Lajevardi's terror machine. ENDS KHATAMI CONDEMNED 2689821