Instead of investigation, Iranian authorities threaten the relatives of missing people

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Justice for Iran- 30 June 2016: Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence has intimidated and threatened with arrest the relatives of a baby girl, who have been demanding information on her alleged enforced disappearance. The baby, Golrou Rahemipour, was born in April 1984 while both her parents were detained in Iran’s notorious Evin prison on a charge of political activity. Golrou was taken away from her mother only 15 days after birth, under the pretext of medical examination but she was never returned. In September the same year her father was executed.

Golrou’s aunt, Raheleh Rahemipour, has since been campaigning to get information about the circumstances of her death and burial, or her whereabouts, but the family has been kept in the dark. Instead of cooperation, the authorities have resorted to intimidation and threats of arrest.

Under international law, enforced disappearance is regarded as one of the most serious violations of fundamental human rights, and an affront to human dignity.

Justice for Iran (JFI) was informed about the case only this year and immediately submitted a  formal complaint to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) about the lack of investigation in the case. WGEID in turn urged the Iranian government, on 6 June 2016, to investigate the disappearance of both the baby and her father.

JFI has learned from credible sources that after the UN’s letter of enquiry was sent to the authorities in Iran, the members of Iranian security apparatus contacted Ms. Rahemipour on multiple occasions instructing her to turn herself in. When Ms. Rahemipour requested an official subpoena; she was told, by the agents, that “we can arrest you any time on the street and take you to Evin prison”.

However, instead of an investigation and due cooperation, the authorities have been threatening the aunt, Ms. Rahemipour, with arrest. JFI has learned from credible sources that after the UN’s letter of enquiry was sent to the authorities in Iran, the members of Iranian security apparatus contacted Ms. Rahemipour on multiple occasions instructing her to turn herself in. When Ms. Rahemipour requested an official subpoena; she was told by the agents that “we can arrest you any time on the street and take you to Evin prison.”

Intimidation of relatives of disappeared persons is contrary to the UN rules. WGEID’s protocol requires the government to protect the fundamental rights of “relatives of disappeared persons, witnesses to disappearances or their families, members of organizations of relatives and other non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders or individuals concerned”.

Raheleh Rahemipour has been relentless in demanding information on the forced disappearance of her brother and his baby girl. She has been staging protests and sit-ins, while holding a sign which reads: “You killed my brother! What did you do to his daughter?

The father of baby Golrou, Hossein Rahemipour, was a dentist and a member of the banned Rah-e- Karegar organisation. He was arrested alongside his wife, who was also an activist, and pregnant at the time of the arrest. In September 1984, Rahemipour’s family received a phone call from the prison officials stating Hossein was “sent to hell”. The family did not receive his body or the circumstances of his alleged execution or burial.

JFI will continue to pursue justice, and press for investigation into the cases of victims of enforced disappearance. Moreover, under the legal definition of relevant information, the date and time of the execution and place of burial should always be made available to the relatives. Lack of such information therewith may constitute ‘enforced disappearance’.

 

 

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