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Iran: Political Prisoner Ali Moezzi is Missing and at Risk. International Community calls for UN Intervention

On January 6, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reports that this supporter of the main opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) who has been serving a sentence in Gohardasht Prison in the city of Karaj, was transferred on Wednesday January 4 to an unknown location and there is no information of his whereabouts ever since.  

The NCRI reported the suspicious move on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, when Iranian regime authorities failed to return Mr. Moezzi to his ward after a family visit. 

After visiting his two daughters in Camp Ashraf, the Iraqi place of residence for the PMOI members at that time, Mr. Moezzi was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to two years in prison.

It was not his first time in prison, Mr. Moezzi was held behind bars as a political prisoner during the 1980s. He was also arrested in 2011 and sentenced to four years in prison.  He was sentenced to an extra year in prison in December 2015, despite the fact that his term had been finished. Although he suffers from various illnesses Mr. Moezzi has repeatedly been placed in solitary confinement and under torture.

The ‘Friends of a Free Iran’ in the European Parliament which enjoys the support of over 300 MEPs from different political groups.  Gérard Deprez, MEP and President of Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament (FOFI) calls on the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir, to take urgent action and demand the immediate release of Mr. Moezzi and to ensure his safety.

Ali Moezzi’s daughters are members of the PMOI, actively opposing the Iranian regime. The authorities told Mr. Moezzi that they intend to bring new charges against him to prevent his release after the end of his sentence.  further, Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) told him that they will torture him to death and won’t allow him to leave the prison alive.  There is reason to believe Moezzi faces imminent threat.

Mr. Moezzi’s daughter, Hejrat, in a public plea in 2015, detailed her father’s harassment and the slew of charges being brought against him.  She said, “Over the last seven years, my father has been charged not once, but four times. Each time, he has refused his participation in the trials citing their lack of legitimacy and due process. Each time, henchmen beat him and forced him to court. Disregarding the fact that he was near the end of his term, they sentenced him to an additional year of prison. The charges are ongoing… Due to my father’s resistance and bravery, these courts will likely still arbitrarily prolong his sentence…In May 2015, a group of thugs beat him so hard against an iron railing that his forehead split…

On January 6, 2017  the NCRI also published an article about  The Italian Committee of Parliamentarians and Citizens for a Free Iran who learned that Ali Moezzi, supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), was suddenly transferred to an unknown location. It’s believed that he faces imminent threat, there is no available information of his whereabouts from that moment.

Moezzi, an agricultural engineer who is 65 years old has recently been released from the hospital where he had surgery for cancer. The president, Achille Totaro – member of the Italian Parliament, he co-president, Hon. Carlo Ciccioli, the co-president, Hon.Elisabetta Zamparutti and the Coordinator, Dr. Antonio Stango ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in Iran to take urgent action in this regard, calling the Iranian regime to unconditionally free Ali Moezzi and ensure that his life and safety be respected.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) also warns of a serious threat to the life of political prisoner Ali Moezzi following reports that the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security has taken him to an unknown location outside the prison.

An article in the BPCIF published January 6 reports that Mr. Moezzi has not returned to his prison ward after his last visit with family members on January 4, 2017. Prison guards have told other political prisoners in his ward that he has been transferred from the prison but that they are unaware of his whereabouts.

The Iranian authorities are cracking down on political prisoners, activists, dissidents, and dual citizens in Iran. Mr Moezzi’s case is another example of this. Earlier this week, the authorities were forced to release the Iranian activist and writer, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, following domestic and international pressure in support of her and her husband Arash Sadeghi, who is also prisoner of conscience, and who staged a 71-day hunger strike in protest against her sentence.  As well, the British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, arrested by the Revolutionary Guards at Tehran International Airport last year, is currently serving a five-year sentence for unspecified charges.  Together these cases show serious flaws of the Iranian Judiciary.

Mr Moezzi’s disappearance reminds of the of tens of thousands of political prisoners who disappeared in Iran in 1988, who were later executed by the authorities despite finishing their sentences.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), urges the British government, relevant UN bodies, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran Ms. Asma Jahangir, and international NGOs to take urgent action in support of this call and pressure the Tehran regime to heed international concerns and its obligations.

It must be made it clear to the Iranian authorities by the British government, that their treatment of political prisoners and unjust inprisonment of dual citizens will only isolate Tehran further on the international scene, and make relations impossible.

Canadian Friends of Democratic Iran has called for urgent action to free Iranian political prisoner Ali Moezzi “who reportedly was taken to an unknown location on January 4, following a scheduled family visit,” as reported in an article by the NCRI. 

“The Iranian authorities have said they had taken Mr. Moezzi to outside of the prison but they were unaware about his situation,” the Canadian NGO said in a letter to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Our NGO has followed with great concern the state of human dignity in Iran for past several years We have great concerns about the Iranian authorities’ treatment of and trumped up charges against political prisoners. The Iranian regime is known to have made new charges against political prisoners whose sentences were over and were supposed to be released. The prime example of such extra-judicial killing and mass executions was the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 by Khomeini’s fatwa while many of those prisoners either had completed their sentences or were serving their sentences. The reports from Mr. Moezzi’s family and political prisoners in Gohardasht prison where Mr. Moezzi was being held are alarming,” the letter added.

The letter signed by David Kilgour, co-chair of Canadian Friends of Democratic Iran, urged OHCHR to “take urgent action and to demand that the Iranian authorities release Mr. Moezzi immediately and to relieve his family and us from this anxiety.”

The Iranian Resistance calls on all international human rights organizations, especially the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Situation in Iran to take urgent action on Mr. Moezzi’s behalf.

Ali Moezzi is a political prisoner and supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) currently detained in hall At around 10 am Tehran time, on January 4, while returning to ward he was transferred by unknown individuals to an unknown location, and there is no information of his whereabouts ever since.

At the same time, political prisoner Saleh Kohandel, was summoned by prison authorities.On the verge of being released, authorities threatened not to release him after his sentence is completed. The authorities said that if he is released, he will not be permitted to be seen in public and will be arrested if he fails to abide.

Arrested in early 2007 for supporting the PMOI, Kohandel, 51, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Two of his relatives, Mahdiyeh and Akbar Madadzadeh, were murdered in the massacre of Camp Ashraf residents (PMOI members) by Iraqi forces in April 2011.

According to the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, forging new judicial cases after a prisoner’s time behind bars comes to an end is a known practice of the Iranian regime to refrain from releasing political prisoners.


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