Organization to Defend the Rights of Prisoners, a human rights NGO, Shut Down

Wednesday 23 September 2009

According to reports the offices of the Organization to Defend the Rights of Prisoners, an NGO founded by Emadedin Baghi and currently headed by lawyer Farideh Gheyrat, was sealed shut by security officials last week on September 9.

In an interview with the site of Roozonline, Farideh Gheyrat explained that the Organization was focused on providing legal support to those in need of legal assistance and charged with a crime, as well as the conducting of research on the situation of human rights and the situation of prisons, including Kahrizak prison, which was recently ordered shut, due to substandard conditions and following of reports of deaths of those in custody. In the Roozonline interview, Farideh Gheyrat explained further that: “no reason was given for the closure of the offices and no warnings had been provided prior.”

The closure of the offices of the Organization to Defend the Rights of Prisoners took place on the same day that the offices of Reformist Mehdi Karoubi were closed and offices of the joint committee set up by presidential candidates Mehdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi charged with following up the situation of those in detention, reports of death and torture in detention centers, following mass arrests after the disputed results of the election were announced. The Organization to Defend the Rights of Prisoners cooperated with this Committee in provision of legal services and by conducting research.
According to Gheyrat, they will follow the case through legal channels and try to reopen the Organization. Gheyrat went further to explain that there is a group in the country, which is not so keen on the survival and continued work of civil society groups. Still in the interview she expressed shock about the closure of the organization she heads, claiming that “our work was transparent and clear”

The offices of another prominent human rights organization, the Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Shirin Ebadi were shut in December 2008.


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