Iranian Environmentalists arrested, Whereabouts Unknown
The whereabouts of three environment activists, arrested by intelligence agents is still unknown.
Iran’s Intelligence and security forces in Sanandaj, arrested Shugerd and Zaniar Gulabi on October 16, transferring them to an unknown location.
The whereabouts of Kaveh Babamoradi, arrested on June 20, are also still unclear. Iranian authorities have so far refused to acknowledge they are holding the activists.
Five imprisoned Iranian environmentalists are now facing the death penalty after the ridiculous charges against them were changed from “espionage” to “Corruption on Earth”, according to one of the former lawyers of the accused.
The activists from the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation were arrested in January alongside at least four other people, and face allegations of spying, which human rights campaigners and Iran’s own government say are unfounded.
In January, at least nine activists were detained in mass arrests of environmentalists carried out by the Revolutionary Guards.
One of the detainees, Kavous Seyed-Emami, a renowned Canadian-Iranian environmentalist, died in a prison in Tehran under mysterious circumstances. The authorities said he killed himself, but that claim has been met with widespread scepticism.
At around the same time, Kaveh Madani, deputy head of Iran’s environmental protection organisation, was detained for 72 hours before eventually leaving the country to live in exile.
the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) cited an Iranian lawyer as saying that five of them have had their initial charge of espionage elevated to “corruption on earth” – the maximum penalty for which is execution.
The detainees charged with “corruption on earth” are Houman Jowkar, Taher Ghadirian, Morad Tahbaz, Sepideh Kashani and Niloufar Bayani.
Three others—Amir Hossein Khaleghi, Sam Rajabi and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh—have still not been charged. All eight of them are being held in Evin Prison’s Ward 2-A which is under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
In another development, an attorney and environmental activist, Farshid Hakki, was suspiciously killed on October 17 near his house in Tehran’s Faiz Garden, and his body was burnt down.
Dr. Farshid Hakki was a member of the “Sedaye Paye Ab” environmental campaign in support of Zagros Mountain and was the author of a number of books including “Human Rights for All”, and “The Political Economy of Human Rights.”
A few days after the widespread posting of this news on social networks, IRGC media such as Tasnim quoted coroner’s office that the cause of his death was self-immolation. Attorney General Dowlatabadi announced on October 23 in Tehran that given the transfer of the corpse to the coroner and performing autopsy, no signs of beating or suspicious signs were found.
Subsequently, the coroner dismissed the claims and said that there was no comment on this case, and … any kind of finding and the cause of death would be announced by the judge of the case (ILNA News Agency – October 23).