NewsSpecial WireOutrage at Iran official’s visit to UN Human Rights...

Outrage at Iran official’s visit to UN Human Rights Council


Iran Focus: London, Jun. 22 – The participation by Tehran’s notorious chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi at the first session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has drawn international outrage. Iran Focus

London, Jun. 22 – The participation by Tehran’s notorious chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi at the first session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has drawn international outrage.

On Wednesday, Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said, “The presence of Mr. Mortazavi in Iran’s delegation demonstrates the government of Iran’s complete contempt for internationally recognised principles of human rights. The Government of Canada expresses its disgust at the fact that Iran would choose to include such a person in its delegation to a new UN body intended to promote the highest standards of respect for human rights”.

MacKay said that by including Mortazavi in its delegation Tehran was trying to discredit the UN council.

“Two official Iranian government investigations found that Prosecutor General Mortazavi ordered the illegal arrest and detention of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, which led to her torture and death. He then falsified documents to cover up his involvement in her case. Mr. Mortazavi has also been involved in the harsh clampdown on the Iranian press and the arrests of many Iranian journalists”, the Canadian Foreign Minister said.

In a letter to Luis Alfonso de Alba, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, said that he was shocked and dismayed at Mortazavi’s presence.

“By all standards, Mortazavi is a criminal against humanity. His direct involvement in the suppression of all voices of dissident in Iran is common knowledge. At the time of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency, Mortazavi, in his capacity as the Media Judge, shut down 80 papers close to the ‘reformists’ and was directly involved in all the crimes of the recent years against the Iranian people. Last fall, he ordered the implementation of the sweeping ‘Zafar’ plan in Tehran in which 2,000 young people in different districts were arrested and imprisoned. In January 2006, he was responsible for a crackdown on the Tehran’s transit workers who went on strike for their overdue wages”, Mohaddessin said.

“I urge the Human Rights Council to expel this criminal and call on the Swiss Judiciary issue an arrest warrant for him, so that he is brought before a competent international tribunal for crimes perpetrated against humanity”, he added.

Separately, the U.S.-based Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR IRAN) said that it was a “mockery of human rights” if Mortazavi was allowed to attend the council’s current session.

“He is responsible for numerous imprisonment, tortures and executions in Iran and should be arrested by Swiss judiciary and be tried for crimes against humanity utilising all available international avenues including the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and treaties such as Convention Against Torture”, the group said.

On Thursday, François Bugingo, the president of the press freedoms organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said “The presence in Geneva of Mortazavi, a man who was directly involved in the death of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, is absolutely unacceptable.

Kazemi was arrested on 23 June 2003 while photographing the families of prisoners outside Evin Prison, north of Tehran. Tortured while in detention, she died from her injuries on 10 July 2003.

“By sending Said Mortazavi as a human rights delegate to Geneva, the Iranian government is showing its real face”, Kazemi’s son, Stephan Hachemi, said.

“Iran continues to be the Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists and bloggers, with 13 jailed last year. Threats, interrogation, summonses, arrests and arbitrary detention are all on the increase. Journalists often manage to stay out of prison only by paying very high bail. The situation has not improved since hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over as president”, RSF said.

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