Iran MP Slams Revolutionary Guards' Treatment of Environmentalists

W460

A reformist lawmaker in Iran criticised the Revolutionary Guards on Saturday for holding a group of environmentalists without access to lawyers or their families.

Outspoken member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi wrote an open letter to the head of the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence wing, Hossein Taeb, published on his Telegram channel.

He accused the Guards of frequently breaching the "religious and legal rights of defendants during various stages of detention and interrogation."

Sadeghi referred particularly to the recent crackdown on environmentalists, which has included the arrest of seven members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Organisation in January.

Their treatment "clearly violates the legal rights of the defendants who, three months into their detention, are deprived of access to lawyers or meeting up with their families," he wrote.

The head of the NGO, Kavous Seyed Emami, died in custody two weeks after the arrests. The authorities say he committed suicide, which has been disputed by the family.

He also criticised the treatment of Kaveh Madani, the deputy head of the government's environment agency who was forced to resign and leave the country under pressure from the intelligence services.

"Since my return to Iran, in the absence of any judicial permission, not only have my personal hardware and accounts been broken into, but my 'citizen rights' and privacy have also been violated right from the beginning," Madani wrote in a resignation letter, published on Twitter last week.

Madani's boss, Isa Kalantari, wrote on the environment agency website on Saturday that he had no choice but to accept the resignation, which was a product of "narrow-mindedness in the country".

Sadeghi said the "behaviour of your agents towards an outstanding young man", who had given up a glittering scientific career abroad to work on Iran's major environmental challenges, had destroyed "the hope of young people that they can be of service to their country".

He said their hard security approach to political and social issues had "seriously damaged the status of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps in public opinion."

There are competing security agencies in Iran, with the ministry of intelligence coming under the elected government and the Guards answerable only to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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