On Thursday, the Open Society Institute stated that on this, the 100th day of their imprisonment, two American scholars are still wrongfully targeted by the Iranian government. Drs. Kian Tajbakhsh and Haleh Esfandiari were taken into custody in May. The Institute says that they have languished in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for over three months and still have not been granted access to lawyers.
The prisoners have been let out of their cell only to be forced to appear on Iranian television and read coerced statements indicting themselves. The Institute says that the Iranian government’s obvious attempts to justify the detentions have only thrown their innocence into starker relief.
Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh is a consultant fro the Institute. The Institute denounces Iran’s continued detention of these two distinguished citizens, who have committed no crime.
As is very well known to the Iranian government, Dr. Tajbakhsh had been working to help the people of Iran with the issues of public health, earthquake relief, and urban planning. The Institute says that it is concerned about his health and safety, and is calling on the Iranian government to release the two scholars immediately. Dr. Tajbakhsh holds dual Iranian-American citizenship.
The scholars were arrested in Iran probably on May 11th of this year. Their arrest and detention constitute a breach of guarantees outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is signatory. What’s more, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Article 23) specifically guarantees protection to Iranian citizens and visitors to the nation of their rights to freedom of speech, opinion, and thought.
The Iranian government has accused the pair of being involved in “espionage”.
Iran has also said that it is cracking down on its citizens in order to stop a coup attempt by the United States government which, says Iran, is using people like the two detained scholars to infiltrate the Iranian government and bring it down.
Moslem critics of the Iranian government have called the present regime there hypocritical. They say that Iran’s actions to arrest, detain, and execute numerous journalists, writers, and other intellectuals who criticize the government’s policies are an atrocity not seen before in generations. Iran has engaged recently in public hangings, chopping off convicted-on-confession “criminals'” hands, and stoning convicted persons to death, all of which actions are considered to be anti-Islamic by most Moslems.
There has been growing civil unrest in Iran in the last few months, not the least of which has been sparked by a sharp spike in gas prices and strict government rationing of the fuel.
The Open Society Institute (PR Newswire), “OSI Calls on Iran to Release Prisoners on the 100th Day of Their Detention”