Human Rights Violator:Hossein Taeb

 hossein-taeb

First and Last Name:

Hossein Taeb (Hassan Taeb)[1]

 

Background and Education:

Hossein Taeb was born in 1342 (1963/4) in Tehran.  His primary education was done in the 17 Shahrivar district of Tehran, after which he attended seminary schools in Tehran, Qom, and Mashhad. He holds an advanced degree (Kharej) in Islamic jurisprudence.

At age 19, Taeb joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in District 10.  He openly entered the political sphere initially in 1375 (1996/7) in close collaboration with Ayatollah Nategh Nouri.  This collaboration continued until 1376-7 (1997/8).  In 1379 (1981/2), Taeb established the Veterans Foundation tasked to support the conservative Abadgaran Party and its propaganda activities for the election of city council.  Through supporting Abadgaran, Taeb played a significant role in the mayoral victory of Ahmadinejad.  During the formation of the ninth and tenth governments, Hossein Taeb was one of the most talked about candidates for the position of the Minister of Intelligence.

 

Positions:

–          October 2009 to present:  Head of the intelligence, Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) [a.k.a. Sepah intelligence]

–          July 2008 to October 2009:  Commander-in-Chief, Basij militia

–          2005 to 2009:  Deputy Commander, Basij militia

–          1999 to 2005:  Deputy Chief, Intelligence Bureau of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

–          Cultural Deputy, Joint Staff of IRGC and cultural faculty of Imam Hossein University (3 years)

–          From 1995/6:  Coordinating Deputy, Ayatollah Khamenei’s office

–          Up to 1995/6:  Deputy, Counter-intelligence Division of the Ministry of Intelligence (during Ali Fallahian’s terms)

–          Managing Director: Intelligence Office in the Province of Khorasan in Mashhad

–          1980s:  Deputy of Intelligence in Qom

–          Ministry of Intelligence, Interrogator (in charge of interrogation of Mojahedin-e Khalq)

–          1982 to present: Member of the IRGC (first at Tehran District 10, and later in the provinces of Qom and Khorasan)

 

Human Rights Violations:

Hossein Taeb’s involvement in violations of human rights include notable during various periods and positions he held in IRGC and Basij.  Repression of university students, Parallel Intelligence Apparatus (PIA) operation, repression of rioters after the disputed 2009 presidential election, case of the murder of Taraneh Mousavi, case of gerdab, and involvement in repression of Bashar al-Assad’s opposition groups in Syria are examples of Hossein Taeb playing a major role in violation of human rights.

 

As the Deputy of the Intelligence Bureau of IRGC

Extrajudicial Efforts

Parallel Intelligence Apparatus (PIA) is an illegal and unofficial operation that was instituted during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami.  Supporters of Khatami’s government used the term PIA to refer to their intelligence opposition, which included security and intelligence organs under the auspices of the Supreme Leader, such as the IRGC or Sepah, the disciplinary forces, and certain divisions of the Ministry of Intelligence which during the period of reform and as a result of pressure by media and the civil society were somewhat filtered.

At the time when Hossein Taeb was the deputy of the intelligence bureau of the IRGC, the intelligence security of Iran’s disciplinary forces (NAJA) along with the intelligence security of the IRGC and the judiciary formed the PIA.

“Parallel Intelligence Apparatus was operational during the presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami (1997-2004) under the effective authority of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  During this period, covert operations of the PIA aided the conservatives in their efforts to retain control over the levers of the State.  Members of the PIA were responsible for brutal intimidation and oppression of reformists, political dissidents, and critics.   Their primary targets were journalists, bloggers and student activists.”[2]

Major operations of PIA from its inception to present include:  Mass murder of “enemy base” (reformist daily papers), repression of “subversive activities” (meli/mazhabi), project uprooting “financial corruption” (which was solely restricted to the case of Shahram Jazayeri), project “nazar sanji” [polling] (the case of Ayandeh institution and Abbas Abdi), operation countering “cultural attack” (Siamak Pourzand and filmmakers), and the operation against street uprisings (repression of student riots in June and July 2003, and attacks against media activists and students), and of course, project “bloggers”.

 

Incidents of Kooy-e Daneshgah [University Avenue]

The events of Kooy-e Daneshgah, or 9 July 1999, were widespread repression of students at the university dormitory on Amir Abad Street, commonly known as Kooy-e Daneshgah.  Subsequent to the closure of the daily Salam by Special Clerical Court on 8 July 1999, students organized a protest in front of the university on Kooy-e Daneshgah.  This protest met an unprecedented reaction by the Special Forces, who entered the area and fiercely attacked and injured students.  However, the major incident took place in the early hours of 9 July, when militia groups known as “plain-clothed”, and “Ansar-e Hezbollah” joined the Special Forces in a sudden attack on the students in Kooy-e Daneshgah and launched a deadly assault against students causing physical destruction of sections of the residence.  According to official reports on these attacks, a military service draftee named Ezat Ebrahimnejad, who was a guest of one of the students, was killed and another student’s eyes were removed from their sockets.  Attacks against the students continued until 14 July.  Fereshteh Alizadeh, Tami Hamifar, and Saeed Zaynali were three other students who disappeared during the attacks and whose fates remain unknown over the past 12 years.  Akbar Mohammadi was another student who was arrested during the Kooy-e Daneshgah events, and subsequently died while in custody.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a former Sepah [IRGC] commander, confirmed the involvement of Sepah in repression of the students’ uprising.  During this period Hossein Taeb was the Deputy Chief of the intelligence bureau of Sepah.  There have been reports confirming that Hossein Taeb interrogated a number of those arrested during the 9 July 1999 incidents.  In a witness statement given to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, Ali Afshari, a student activist who was arrested in 2000, reported Taeb’s presence and violent behaviour as the head of interrogation during his questioning.  According to this student activist, Taeb was subsequently dismissed from the Ministry of Intelligence due to his violent behaviour and moved to the PIA.

 

As the Commander-in-Chief of the Basij Militia

Repression of Protesters – 2009 Election

Hossein Taeb was transferred to Basij in 2005 and with the intensification of the post election uprising, he was promoted to the post of the Commander-in-Chief of Basij. This body had a significant role in the oppression of street protesters and death of many rioters.  The most evident involvement of Basij in such killings was on 15 June 2009, when they opened fire during a peaceful rally involving millions of people at Meidan-e Azadi [Freedom Square] killing at least eight.

Despite Hossein Taeb’s claim that the Basij was not armed, based on testimonies by eyewitnesses, Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre as well as the International Campaign on Human Rights in Iran, confirm the attack against protestors as a result of directives issued by Hossein Taeb.  Furthermore, based on the evidence provided by witnesses, Human Rights Watch issued a declaration asking the Iranian authorities to investigate the role of commanders, such as Hossein Taeb, and hold them responsible for the attack and exertion of violence against the protestors.  However, even though the footage of widespread attacks, assaults, and shootings were posted on the internet, no attempts were made by the authorities toward reprimanding Taeb.  Basij militia, including the plain-clothed officers, were the only armed forces equipped with firearms during the course of the demonstrations, and as such, the Basij was solely responsible for the death of all those who were killed during these incidents.

In a letter to Keyhan newspaper in July 2009, Ali Motahhari, a fundamentalist representative of the Majles and a government critic, wrote: “We could have managed these crises in such manner that avoided much of the bloodshed and injuries… but, when we thrust the management of crisis to people such as Taeb, who is more comfortable with using batons than engaging his mind to strategize, this is the result.”

Case of Taraneh Mousavi

Taraneh Mousavi, a girl whose purported arrest, rape and subsequent death after the presidential election received extensive coverage in anti-regime websites, was whirled into a mysterious fate.  According to some opposition media, Taraneh Mousavi was arrested on 28 June [2009] at a rally in front of Ghoba mosque.  Her family was contacted a few days later and was told that Taraneh has suffered laceration of uterus and anus due to an accident and is [hospitalized] at Imam Khomeini hospital in Karaj.  The family, however, was unable to locate her at the hospital or find any information on her whereabouts.  Instead, the family learned about her burnt corpse found on the road connecting Karaj to Qazvin a few days later.  According to Taraneh’s friends, her family refrained from publicizing the incident and her burial was carried out privately without the presence of friends and acquaintances.

Notwithstanding the extensive coverage this incident received, and the notion of possible brutal rape, due to Taraneh’s family’s choice to keep silent, and the fact that the alleged eyewitnesses of her arrest in front of Ghoba mosque were not personal friends, the veracity of the issue remained uncertain, until Mehdi Karroubi, in a letter dated July 2009, requested the head of the Council of Experts to form a task force to look into rumours pertaining to the conduct of the authorities during arrest and treatment of detainees.  In this letter, without direct reference to Taraneh, he wrote: “A number of arrestees alleged that there have been incidents where some individuals [authorities] have assaulted and brutally raped female detainees, causing laceration of their uterus and feminine organs.”  With Karroubi’s letter the rumours concerning Taraneh became stronger and the 20:30 News produced a report trying to refute Karroubi’s allegations.  The producers of the report found a family to confirm that the internet picture as it was publicized is of their daughter who resides in Canada.  In a statement dated 16 August [2009], Karroubi accused government authorities of “lying and fabricating information,” and noted that those who appeared on television and claimed that their daughter was alive, were in fact not the family of the Taraneh Mousavi who was reportedly killed by Security Forces.  Mehdi Karroubi further stated: “Mr. Hossein Shahmoradi, the son-in-law of Hojjatoleslam Hosseini, and brother-in-law of Mr. Taeb, is the mastermind behind the fabricated story of Taraneh Mousavi [being alive].”  In his letter to Shahmoradi, Karroubi wrote: “You are well aware that [such incidents] are due to your beloved brother-in-law’s involvement in these affairs, given his past record of conduct at the Ministry of Intelligence, for which the government of the time dismissed him.”

As reported by JARAS, Tharallah Base carried out repression of the rally near Ghoba mosque on 28 June under the directorship of Taeb.  According to reliable sources, those arrested were transferred from that location in black vans, and that black vans were solely used by Tharallah Base.  Furthermore, the arrestees were transferred from the location of the arrest to Tharallah Base on Seoul Street where Taeb was based.

 As the Head of IRGS’s Intelligence Bureau   

Subsequent to exposure of Taeb’s involvement in the repression of demonstrations and his role in Taraneh Mousavi’s case by Mehdi Karroubi, Taeb was demoted from his position as the Commander-in-Chief of Basij to Head of IRGS’s Intelligence Bureau.  This organization, which until then was known as Sepah’s auxiliary intelligence services, became an independent organization with greater freedom in repressing the opposition in Iran.

 Supporting Bashar al-Assad and Repression of the Opposition in Syria

In July 2011, Taeb’s name was put on the European Union’s list of sanctions for his role in “securing apparatus and equipment for the purpose of supporting the Syrian regime in repressing its opposition.”  He was banned from travelling to European Union countries and his assets in these countries were frozen.  It has been a long while since Western countries have accused Iran’s security organs and the  Islamic Republic state of collaborating with Syria in inciting violence against the opposition and in sharing its experiences of repressing riots with the Syrian government.

 Gerdab [Whirlpool]

In a report titled “Gerdab; a Dictated Scenario,”[3] Justice for Iran documented the role of the Sepah’s Centre [to Investigate] Organized Crimes in severe violation of citizens’ rights.  The Centre to Investigate Organized Crimes was established in 2007 as a division of the Sepah intelligence.  The centre’s first project, known as Gerdab (Muzllin), was the arrest and prosecution of over 45 individuals alleged to have initiated and managed Persian porn websites.  A few months after their arrest, in televised confessions, the alleged perpetrators admitted to their intent to corrupt the youth in order to shake the pillars of the Islamic Republic, and that they received funding from the United States to run such porn sites.  A year and half later, a number of the arrestees, or in some cases their families, broke their silence and spoke about the severe torture these detainees had endured to make forced confessions.

Saeed Malekpour is one of the accused in the Muzllin dossier who was sentenced to execution on charges of managing Persian porn sites.  Fatemeh Eftekhari, wife of Saeed Malekpour, stated that because of Malekpour’s profession as a website designer, he had designed a website without having knowledge of its use.  Malekpour was arrested in 2008 under the charges of Muharebeh [Waging War against God], and propaganda against Islam, and, on 6 December 2010, two years after his arrest, was sentenced to execution.  Vahid Asghari, another cyber activist, also received the death penalty from Justice Salavati of branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court for managing porn websites.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court, putting him in danger of execution, endorsed the death penalty against accused number six on the noted dossier, known as Muzllin 3.[4]

The first two named accused were able to issue letters, independent of each other, from inside prison to reveal information about the torture to which they were subjected by Sepah intelligence authorities for the purpose of forced confessions.  In March 2010, an official statement of complaint was issued by three of the accused, Saeed Malekpour, Vahid Asghari, and Shahrouz Vaziri, to justice Salavati and Tehran’s Office of Public Prosecutor, with no result.  In this statement of complaint, Vahid Asghari wrote: “For months, every night, the authorities illegally transferred me with blindfolds and chains from Evin to a clandestine torture-house secretly referred to as “Sherkat” at a location unknown to me.  These were extrajudicial measures aiming to abuse and intimidate… They locked me in small dark closets with pests and rodents; put me in dark pits or bathtubs (with hands and feet tied), covered my head in oxygen resistant bags (similar to bags used in Guantanamo and Abu-Gharib), and tied me up to a wooden rod leaving me hanging upside down with handcuffs while lashing me with a whip and slapping me in the face.”[5] These three individuals who suffered mental, emotional, and physical torture, long periods of incarceration in solitary, abusive treatments, insults, and violence by Sepah interrogators as well as forced and dictated confessions under duress, denied access to family and legal representation, are willing to testify before a tribunal.

The four aforementioned individuals are not the only accused persons on the dossier.  There are many more individuals incarcerated in prisons run by the Sepah intelligence under similar charges. However, their names and identities are still obscure.

——

[1]According to some unofficial reports his real name is Hassan Taeb, and that Hossein was the name of his brother who died in Karbala 5 operations in 1986.  Also, there has been some reference to him using pseudonym Maysam.

[2] Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre report

[3] http://justiceforiran.org/reports/gerdab/

[4] Ahmadreza Hashempour, 40, educated with a Ph.D., has been in prison since 2008.  He was initially sentenced to execution by the preliminary court.  Hashempour, who was incarcerated for a long period of time in solitary confinement, and like others in this dossier was subjected to mental and emotional torture, faces the danger of execution since the Supreme Court upheld the original verdict.

[5] https://hra-news.org/fa/thought-and-experssion/gerdab

 

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