The Foundation for Democracy has written to the Government ofIran, requesting information on the reported arrest of at least 18followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali Shirazi, including his second son,Seyed Morteza Shirazi, arrested in Qom on November 21, 1995.
According to reports from Amnesty International, ten followers ofGrand Ayatollah Shirazi were arrested without warrants at their homesin Tehran and Qom on the night of November 11, 1995, and are beingheld incommunicado as prisoners of conscience, solely because oftheir connection to Grand Ayatollah Shirazi.
The following day, November 12, the security forces reportedlyraided the Imam Hussein religious school in Qom, arresting 120students. Most were released several hours later, but seven remaindetained in unknown locations. On the 21st, Seyed Morteza Shirazi wasarrested in Qom. His whereabouts are unknown.
The Foundation has written to the leader of the Islamic Republic,Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamene'i, President Ali AkbarHashemi-Rafsanjani, the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and ForeignAffairs, and has sent an inquiry to Iran's Permanent Mission to theUnited Nations in New York, to express concern and requestclarification about this case.
The Foundation is concerned that these latest arrests are part ofa pattern by the authorities of the Islamic Republic to harassreligious figures in Iran who oppose government policies. In 1994, anumber of followers of Grand Ayatollah Shirazi were arrested. InOctober 1994, followers of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri werearrested, following publication of an open letter criticizing theauthorities. As the Foundation reported previously (Action Memorandumdated 9/21/95) the 26-year old son of Grand Ayatollah Sadegh Rouhaniwas arrested in July 1995, along with at least 25 followers. Familysources reported that the authorities sentenced him in September toone year in prison for offenses which included the distribution ofillegal leaflets and having contacts with opposition groups.
The Foundation welcomes the recent invitation by the Iranianauthorities to the UN Commission on Human Rights and to Human RightsWatch, to come to Iran to discuss human rights conditions in Iran, oncondition that a full accounting of these and other cases of concernis provided by the authorities.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private,non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland.Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director (email@example.com).FDI materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at http://www.iran.org/.