Mashallah Karami, the jailed father of executed protester Mohammad Mehdi Karami (file photo)

Concerns Grow Over Safety Of Slain Iranian Protester's Father

Thursday, 04/18/2024

Mashallah Karami, the jailed father of executed protester Mohammad Mehdi Karami, was abruptly transferred from prison to an undisclosed location this week and was returned to prison Thursday.

Karami was being held at Karaj Central Prison. He was arbitrarily arrested near his home by the Iranian intelligence ministry agents August last year. According to reports by Dadban -- a group of pro-bono lawyers in Iran defending political prisoners and rights activists -- Karami was transferred from the prison without any prior notice on earlier this week.

In the wake of Iran's "Woman, Life, Freedom" protests, Karami's eldest son, Mohammad Mehdi, was arrested without justification. Accused of involvement in the alleged killing of Ruhollah Ajamian -- a member of Revolutionary Guard's Basij forces -- he was hanged in January 2023, alongside fellow protester Mohammad Hosseini.

According to his lawyer, Ali Sharifzadeh, Mashallah Karami is accused of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic", and "collusion with the intention of committing a crime against national security" and two other accusations in relation to money laundering.

Last month Sharifzadeh reported that Karami's mental health was deteriorating in prison due to “the loss of his child and being far from his wife," adding that he hoped Karami would be granted furlough for the Norouz holidays (Persian New Year). Iranian authorities have refused to grant bail or furlough to Karami.

Arbitrary arrests, detention, and prosecution are part of the Iranian authorities' systemic suppression of protest victims’ families. Last year in August, Amnesty International released a 42 page report titled “Iran: Harassment of families victims unlawfully killed during protests must end, documenting cases involving 36 victims' families from 10 provinces in Iran.

Additionally, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that it has been 10 days since the disappearance of Kamal Lotfi, the father of slain protestor Reza Lotfi.

Lotfi was arbitrarily arrested and assaulted by security forces earlier in April and taken to an undisclosed location, according to reports by Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA).

Lotfi's son, Reza, was killed by Iranian security forces during the protests in Dehloghan in September 2022.

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