Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff
INU - An Iranian Muslim cleric and political prisoner was poisoned in the notorious Evin Prison on Thursday, April 7. Prison guards poisoned Mr. Boroujerdi’s food, causing him severe pain, especially in his lower extremities, marked deterioration of his eye sight. He is now listed in critical condition.

Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi was arrested along with many of his supporters on 8 October 2006 in Tehran for publicly opposing the government. The Shia religious scholar advocates the separation of mosque and state and is a defender of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to Amnesty International: “He was charged with some 30 offences, including ‘waging war against God’ (moharebeh); committing acts against national security; publicly calling the principle of political leadership by the clergy unlawful; having links with anti-revolutionaries and spies; and using the term ‘religious dictatorship’ instead of ‘Islamic Republic’ in public discourse and radio interviews. He was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on 13 August 2007 and defrocked (banned from wearing his clerical robes and thereby from practicing his clerical duties), and his house and all his belongings were confiscated. His family had appointed lawyers for him but the [Special Clerical Court] refused to allow them to defend him on the grounds that only clerics appointed by the Judiciary could make representations on his behalf.”

Boroujerdi has spent 440 days of his 10 year imprisonment in solitary confinement and has been deprived of furlough and medical attention. He has gone on several hunger strikes during this period to protest his prison conditions. He has also undergone physical and psychological torture by agents of the intelligence ministry, which has caused him heart attack, acute breathing problems, kidney stones, and worsening symptoms of Parkinson disease. 

On 21 November 2014, the U.S. Congress condemned violation of human rights by the Iranian regime, noting that even members of the Shiite clerical establishment like Ayatollah Boroujerdi are prosecuted and imprisoned alongside persons who advocate for the rights of persecuted religious and ethnic minorities. Congress also observed that detainees are regularly battered, tortured and killed during their imprisonment.

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