Reports of human rights abuses continue to stream from Iran.
Human rights monitors have expressed alarm over the arrest and detention of the wife and brother-in-law of Iranian human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei. He is the attorney who helped publicize the case of Sakineh Mohammad Ashtiani, the 43 year old Azeri-Iranian mother of 2 who was sentenced to death by stoning after being charged with adultery. Following an international outcry, Iranian authorities put her execution on hold.
Mr. Mostafaei's family members were detained after authorities issued an arrest warrant for him but could not locate him. Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, called the detention of Mr. Mostafaei's family "an act of hostage-taking."
The Iranian government's ongoing campaign against journalists has also claimed new victims. The Committee to Protect Journalists, known as the CPJ, says that Hamed Saber, a freelance photographer, was arrested in June after posting on the internet photographs he took of a Tehran street protest. Also arrested in June was Abdolreza Tajik, who wrote for reformist newspapers and was a member of the Human Rights Defenders Center, headed by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. Mr. Tajik's family has issued an open letter to Iran's judiciary expressing deep concern over mistreatment he has suffered in prison.
The CPJ also voiced concern over Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and editor of the weekly journal Payam-e Mardom. He was arrested in 2007 and accused of acting against national security. His lawyer said Mr. Kaboudvand has suffered his third heart attack in prison, and is not able to speak clearly or to see. Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders recently charged that the Iranian government withholds adequate medical care from political prisoners.
On the 1 year anniversary of Iran's disputed presidential election, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the Iranian government to release all political prisoners. 2 prisoners whom she mentioned by name, student activists Bahareh Hedayat and Milad Asadi, recently were sentenced to exorbitant prison terms: 9.5 and 7.5, respectively.
The United States continues to call on the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran to meet their obligations to respect the rights and dignity of their own people. Until it does, the U.S., as Secretary Clinton has said, will continue to speak out in support of those who seek to exercise their universal rights.