July 8, 2009
Mr Luis Moreno–Ocampo
International Criminal Court
Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
Dear Mr Luis Moreno–Ocampo
I am writing on behalf of the people of Iran to call on the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, for crimes against humanity.
There is ample documentation of such crimes since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, however, the repression meted out on the recent June protesters, is sufficient evidence for such a prosecution.
On Friday June 19, during his speech at Friday prayers, Khamenei called for an end to street protests and threatened protesters saying that he would not be held responsible for any “bloodshed and chaos” that followed. The next day, the government’s security forces, including the Baseejis, Pasdaran, police forces and plain-clothed agents, poured onto the streets and indiscriminately attacked protesters. Though precise information is unavailable, we have gathered 56 names of those killed; clearly the numbers are higher. Thousands have also been arrested – we have heard reports of as many as 3,000 in Tehran alone. We have put together a list of several hundred names so far. Many more have been wounded.
The day after Khamenei threatened protesters, 27 year old Neda Agha-Soltan was shot dead by security forces on 20 June. Eyewitnesses said they clearly targeted her and she was shot in the chest. There is even a warrant out for the doctor who was on the scene, tried to help her, and first informed the world of what had happened. Others dead include Chemistry student Kianoosh Asa who was taken from his university dormitory and found dead in a morgue 10 days later, bearing signs of torture, 25 year old Hossein Tahmasbi who was beaten to death by the regime’s forces and Ashkan Sohrabi who was shot thrice in the chest and died on the way to the hospital. They are included in the list of 56 dead that is attached to my letter.
There are also reports of many who have disappeared and feared dead. Reports have quoted a prison guard saying that bodies are being taken out of Evin prison and buried in unidentified graves from no go areas in the prison that are only accessible to the Baseej and Pasdaran intelligence.
There are also reports of the families of the dead being asked to pay up to an equivalent of $3,000 to secure the bodies of their loved ones. One example highlighted in the media is that of Neda Agha-Soltan’s family who had a difficult time persuading the Iranian authorities to release her body. According to her fiancé in an interview with BBC Farsi, “She was taken to a morgue outside Tehran. The officials from the morgue asked if they could use parts of her corpse for body transplants for medical patients.” “They didn’t specify what exactly they intended to do. Her family agreed because they wanted to bury her as soon as possible. “We buried her in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. They asked us to bury her in this section where it seemed the authorities had set aside spaces for graves for those killed during the clashes.” This section has been labelled the section of the ‘hypocrites’ by the regime. The government has also banned her family and the families of the dead from holding public funerals.
Treatment of the wounded
We have received many reports of people wounded, including in horrific ways. Doctors and nurses at two hospitals have taken to the streets in protest to the treatment of the wounded. Many have been denied access to their families. Some have been dragged out of hospital beds and taken to prison.
Torture and mistreatment and situation of detainees
Reports of torture and rape are rampant. We have received reports saying that prisoners are being brutally tortured with the aim of killing them. According to an eye witness at a recent gathering of family members in front of Evin prison, one of the imprisoned who was released whilst people were gathered said that he had been arrested around Afsariyeh in Tehran and taken to an undisclosed location. He was denied food for 48 hours. There were 500 people detained on the floor where he was and they had no access to showers or sanitation. After 48 hours, they were given bread, potato and cheese. When they complained, they were told ‘you are anti-revolutionaries; be grateful you have not been killed.’ The released prisoner said everyone was brutally beaten. A 48 year old man who was given electric shocks died whilst he was there. Many of the prisoners in his cell were badly wounded with broken arms and legs. He said he was then taken to Evin prison, where he was told: ‘you protested against the Islamic regime; we will do something to you so that you won’t be able to find your house when you are released.’ He said, in Evin, the lives of many were at risk.
We have also heard from a woman whose daughter had been beaten indiscriminately for four days and then thrown out of prison on to the streets late at night. A passerby picked her up in their car and drove her home. Since her release, she has attempted to commit suicide several times. Her mother fears she has been raped.
Several of those detained have confessed to having been influenced by outside powers on Iranian state television – clearly under duress.
I attach a list of some of those who have been arrested. Families of those arrested have been gathering at Evin Prison or the courthouse in Tehran calling for the release of their children and asking about their situation. The families have been threatened. Mothers of the missing or dead have also been gathering at several parks and have been attacked by security forces.
The Worker-communist Party of Iran has begun collecting people’s grievances against Ali Khamenei via New Channel television station broadcast in Iran and would be willing to hand over the necessary evidence to help with the prosecution of Ali Khamenei.
I look forward to your response and prompt action.