Geneva, 21 June (IPS) Iranian dissidents and human rights activists denounced the participation of one of Iran’s most dreaded violators of human rights at the newly created United Nations Human Rights Council, stating that the presence of Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi at the Council was a “sad augur” for a body that Mr. Kofi Annan had hoped would not repeat the short coming of the defunct Hunan Rights Commission.
Better known in Iran as “The Butcher of the press”, Mr. Mortazavi, the Prosecutor of Tehran and Islamic Revolution tribunals is the man who, on orders from Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, shut down more than 120 publications, most of them pro reform and independent.
“By sending Mr. Mortazavi to the Council of Human Rights, the Islamic Republic shows its disregard for human rights, as the name of Mr. Mortyazavi is associated with all the cases of closure of newspapers, arrest and imprisonment of journalists and political dissidents and above all, the murder of (Ms) Zahra Kazemi (the Iranian-Canadian photo journalist killed in a Tehran hospital two years ago by agents of the Office of the Prosecutor and the presence of Mr. Mortazavi).
“His presence is an act of indifference of the Islamic Republic to the problem of human rights”, added Mr. Masha’allah Shamsova’ezin, the spokesman for the Iranian Association for the Defence of the Press, speaking to Radio Farda, the 24 hours service of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty in Farsi language.
Mr. Mortazavi showed up at the start of the works of the Council of Human Rights alongside Hojjatoleslam Jamal Karimi Rad, the Justice Minister, who is also the spokesman for the Judiciary.
“Mr. Mortazavi is the prime suspect for the murder of Ms. Kazemi who is not appearing as the prime accused and human rights associations would not stop demanding Swiss authorities to arrest him for taking part at the torture and murder of the photo journalist”, Mr. Karim Lahiji, a deputy Chairman of the Paris-based International League of Human Rights and Iranian Association of Human Rights in Exile Human rights told the same radio station, based in Prague.
And for Mr. Reza Mo’ini, in charge of the Iranian section of the Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders), Mr. Mortazavi is accused of wide spread violation of human rights in Iran, including torture of political prisoners, extracting from them forced confessions, budle closure of newspapers and most important, he is suspected of the murder of Ms. Kazemi”, he said.
But what angered Iranians was Mr. Mortazavis’ speech at the Council, where, shamelessly, he defended the record of the Islamic regime of Iran concerning respect of human rights and the rights and freedom of citizens, including religious minorities.
“There is no torture in Islamic Republic, where, because of the independence of the Judiciary and the judges, there are no unjust trials”, he said, according to the official news agency IRNA.
But he did not say that every major institutions under the ruling Islamic theocracy in Iran is controlled by the leader, including the Judiciary, a power that often acts as the police and repression forces of the State.
“There is no torture in Islamic Republic, where, because of the independence of the Judiciary and the judges, there are no unjust trials”
In an interview with IRNA, Mr. Mortazavi, in blunt lies, confounded the Islamic Republic with the West, accusing Europe and the US of “systematic violation of the rights of the citizen and freedoms”, all the things existing in Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Immigrants, Muslims, religions minorities have no rights. Prisoners are tortured under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Religious freedoms are non existent, Muslim women are prevented to wear Islamic dresses and hejab. Press freedom and free speech are violated and those negating Holocaust are not allowed to express their views”, he pointed out, adding that “even women are disadvantaged compared to men for many issues, like salaries”.
In his last decision, Mr. Mortazavi sent behind bars Mr. Iraj Jamshidi, a reformist journalist and member of the Iranian Guild of Journalists.
The the authorities remained silent on the ase, but friends and families said Mr. Jamshidi had been sentenced to 16 month imprisonment, charged with “propaganda against the regime and endangering the State’s security”.
In the past years, tens of Iranian journalists have been arrested, or forced to abandon the profession or going outside. At the same time, more than 140 publications have been closed, most of them on decisions from Mr. Mortazavi, and the few independent newspapers existing are under heavy pressures and censorship.
“Freedom of the press does not exist in Iran”, confirmed Mr. Akbar Ganji, a leading investigative journalist who served six years behind bars. ENDS HUMAN RIGHTS 21606