Apparently Politically Motivated Tax Order Threatens the International Protection Centre

******_RADIO_FREE_EUROPE_/_RADIO_LIBERTY_****** ***** ***** [/ images/blank.gif] [SearchText ] [Search] Advanced_Search =============================================================================== News_&_Analysis | RFE/RL_Newsline_(R) | Reports | Specials | RFE/RL_Pressroom Subscribe | Listen | RFE/RL_Languages | Job_Opportunities | Site_Map =============================================================================== [One of: News by Country/Afghanistan/Armenia/Azerbaijan/Bashkortostan (Russia)/ Belarus/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Georgia/Iran/Iraq/Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan/Macedonia/ Moldova/North Caucasus (Russia)/Romania/Russia/Serbia and Montenegro/ Tajikistan/Tatarstan (Russia)/Turkmenistan/Ukraine/Uzbekistan][One of: News by Language/Afghan [Dari]/Afghan [Pashto]/Afghan [English]/Albanian/Arabic [Radio Free Iraq]/Armenian/Armenian [English]/Azeri/Belarusian/Estonian/Georgian/ Kazakh/Kyrgyz/Latvian/Lithuanian/Macedonian/Persian/Persian [English]/Romanian/ Russian/Slovak/South Slavic [Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian]/Tajik/Tatar-Bashkir/ Ukrainian/Uzbek] Thursday, September 7, 2006 [[e-mail_this_page_to_a_friend]] E-mail this_page_to_a_friend [/images/ homepage/printer-icon.gif]Print_Version Iran: Second Political Prisoner Dies In Five-Week Span By_Golnaz_Esfandiari [Iran -- map] (RFE/RL) Iran has confirmed the death of prisoner Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi, who was a sympathizer of Iran's main opposition group, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MEK). The Iranian Labor News Agency reported on September 6 that judiciary officials have said that the 28-year-old Mahdavi died in hospital after a suicide attempt. But activists reject that claim and say he died after falling ill during a hunger strike. Mahdavi is the second political prisoner to die in Iran in recent weeks. Human Rights Watch said that his death shows that that political prisoners' are in grave danger in Iran. PRAGUE, September 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) - - Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi death comes only five weeks after the death in custody of student activist Akbar Mohammadi. Both men had reportedly gone on a hunger strike to protest against prison conditions. In the case of Mahdavi, Iranian officials have denied reports that he was on a hunger strike. The deaths of Mahdavi and Mohammadi have heightened concern over the fate of other prisoners who are held in Iran for their political beliefs. No Faith In Official Line But there is little trust in Iranian official's comments about prisoners. Officials usually provide very little information about the fate of prisoners and often deny reports about their protests in prison. Some Iranian officials even deny the existence of political prisoners in Iran. Reed Brody, a legal counselor with Human Rights Watch (HRW), tells RFE/RL that his organization doesn't believe Related Articles what the Iranian officials are saying Iran:_Iran's_Drug_Problem_Goes_Beyond about Mahdavi's death. Afghan_Deluge "Unfortunately the Iranian prison HRW_Says_Iranian_Political_Prisoner officials have often given out false Dies_In_Custody information about political prisoners," Discussions_Ongoing_For_Iran-EU_Nuclear he said. "We know that Mahdavi was on Talks hunger strike -- we were told by other Watchdog_Warns_Of_'Judicial_Harassment' inmates that prison officials had Of_Iranian_Journalists repeatedly ignored his health condition until it reached a critical stage." Iran's Drug Problem Mahdavi's lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, also questions the official version of Mahdavi's death in an interview with  DRUG USE ON THE RISE: The Iranian Radio Farda. approach to drug control is very Two Versions Of His Death relevant to the rest of the world, "Some officials have said that because Iran's neighbor, Afghanistan, [Mahdavi] committed suicide; this is is the world's leading producer of unlikely," he said. "First of all, opium. Iran leads the international because he was not the type of person community in global opium seizure rates who would commit suicide. Secondly, in and it is second to Pakistan in opiate prison its not easy to commit suicide seizures, according to the UN Office on and it should be announced [if anyone] Drugs and Crime. Iran also leads the witnessed the suicide. I think he lost world in the prevalence of drug abuse his life because of a lack of medical (2.8 percent of the population aged 15 care." or older), according to the UNODC. Prisoners detained with Mahdavi in (more) Gohardasht Prison in the city of Karaj See also: have also rejected official claims that Iran:_Country's_Drug_Problems_Appear_To Mahdavi tried to hang himself with his Be_Worsening clothes. New_Ways_Considered_For_Tackling They have said that Mahdavi was on a Growing_Drug_Use_Among_Young_Iranians hunger strike for nine days when he fell unconscious. They add that Mahdavi SUBSCRIBE: For weekly news and analysis was almost dead when he was transferred on Iran by e-mail, subscribe_to_"RFE/RL to the prison clinic. Iran_Report." In recent days there have been reports More About Iran: that some prisoners were being [September 7, 2006] Iran's_Drug_Problem pressured to declare on tape that they Goes_Beyond_Afghan_Deluge witnessed Mahdavi's suicide. [September 4, 2006] Growing_Concern Sohrab Soleimani, the head of the Over_Fate_Of_Political_Prisoner prison organization in Tehran, said on [September 1, 2006] U.S._Official_Urges September 4 that Mahdavi tried to Tehran_To_Take_Incentives_Package commit suicide in the a prison bathroom [September 1, 2006] Intellectual on September 3. He added that he was Emerges_From_Jail_To_Accuse_U.S. revived at the prison clinic and then [September 1, 2006] Nuclear_Crisis sent to Tehran's Shariati Hospital for Likely_To_Dominate_Annan's_Visit further treatment. [September 1, 2006] Ex- President's_U.S. Gohardasht prisoners said a day earlier Visit_Unlikely_To_Produce_Thaw that a prison worker had told them that archive_news_on_Iran Mahdavi is "brain dead." Other News Independent Investigation Called For U.S.:_Rogue_Threats_Justify_Missile A newly created group, Human Rights Defense Activists In Iran, was one of the first World_Powers_Will_Meet_In_London_To to inform people about Mahdavi's Discuss_Iran critical condition. It said it holds Thousands_Of_Afghans_Rally_In_Support the Iranian government responsible for Of_Amnesty_Bill his death. U.S._Soldier_Sentenced_In_Rape,_Murder Human Rights Watch says the Iranian Of_Iraqi_Girl government should urgently appoint an U.S._Vice_President_Visits_Australia independent commission of Iranian [/ images/homepage/ lawyers and doctors to investigate the three_dots_orange.gif] 1 of 2 next [/ deaths of Mahdavi and Mohammadi. images/homepage/ three_dots_orange.gif] HRW counselor Brody added that, "The Iranian officials obviously don't want the truth to come out; just a few weeks ago on July 30 Akbar Mohammadi, who was also in prison, died under very suspicious circumstances. We believe it's important to generate international pressure so that there can be an independent investigation into the death of prisoners under suspicious circumstances." Iranian officials have ignored that and numerous other calls for an independent investigation into Mohammadi's death in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. More than one month after Mohammadi's death, authorities have also failed to announce the result of an official autopsy. Worry About Others The HRW's Brody says the deaths of the two men highlights the plight of political prisoners in Iran. "This has been a cause for concern for a long time and both these prisoners who died were on a hunger strike protesting their conditions," Brody said. "Many of these prisoners have not had access to their lawyers and there needs to be clear oversight of the prison conditions." Mahdavi was arrested in 2001 and charged with armed resistance against the state. Iranian officials said he was carrying explosives at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to death but it was later commuted to life imprisonment. The deaths of Mahdavi and Mohammadi have heightened concern over the fate of other prisoners who are held in Iran for their political beliefs. HRW has singled out Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoini, a human rights defender and former reformist legislator, who has been in detention since June 12. Khoini is reportedly held in solitary confinement in Evin prison and has no access to his lawyer. top homepage features archive_news_on Iran [[_rfe/rl_logo_]] Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (c) 2007 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Contact us: