The imprisoned head the political bureau of the outlawed Freedom Movement of Iran is said to be in dire physical conditions.
Mohammad Tavassoli, Tehran’s first post-revolution mayor, was arrested on 3 November after he and 140 other activists wrote a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami, warning him that there was little hope the authorities would submit to free and fair elections.
The 74-year-old is currently being held in section 209 of the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. Sources tell the Green Voice of Freedom that he is not being allowed fresh air and that he has developed shivering as a result of prison duress. He was transferred to the prison infirmary a number of times after his health deteriorated. Instead of receiving medical attention, Tavassoli reportedly received death threats from an official working ther
Tavassoli has spent many years, both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, behind bars where he was also subjected to torture. In early 2001, he was imprisoned along with other FMI members and spent eleven months in solitary confinement before being released on bail.
He was arrested again following Iran’s disputed June 2009 presidential election. He was released after spending 43 days in solitary confinement.
Tavassoli’s daughter (Leila) and son-in-law (Mohammad Navid Taheri), both detained following opposition protests in late December 2009, are also in prison serving lengthy jail terms.
Since his arrest in November, Tavassoli has only been given a 36-hour leave to attend his daughter’s wedding. He spent the New Iranian Year in prison, despite his family’s letters to the Head of the Judiciary and Intelligence Minister requesting his release during the festivities.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that the FMI’s ailing Secretary General Ebrahim Yazdi has been summoned to serve an eight-year jail term. The judiciary had previously announced that Yazdi’s case was still in the appeal phase. In the end, however, the appeals court confirmed the ruling against Yazdi in his absence.
The eighty-year-old has said that the Revolutionary Court lacks qualification for reviewing charges against him and the Iran Freedom Movement.
In October, Yazdi wrote a letter to Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, warning him about a repeat of the Iranian experience and the revival of tyranny in the small North African nation.
“We fight and remove dictators, but we do not eradicate tyranny as a way of life. Tyranny is not summarised in and limited to a certain political structure, but it has cultural dimensions that go hand in hand with the political structure,” the veteran activist told Ghannouchi.
“We Muslims topple tyrants while soon after, we witness their new replacements,” he noted. “We overthrew the Shah, but forgot to deal with the ways and character of the shah within us.”