July 25, 2009

Friends, Family of Kian Tajbakhsh concerned about upcoming ‘show trial’

The following comes from an email from friends and colleagues of Kian Tajbakhsh, the Iranian American intellectual detained in Iran.

We are extremely worried about Kian. The following has been approved by the family for posting. We have heard the show trials will start tomorrow, and there seems to be a distinct disconnect between heavy coverage of the upcoming trials in the Persian media and no coverage of them in the western media.
We would like to keep the trials and detainees in the spotlight. Could you please help us? We’ve been in touch with many media outlets as Kian instructed in case he was arrested again.
Please post and direct members to http://www.FreeKian09.org where they can sign the online petition. 
The airing of the much-anticipated show trail(s) featuring forced statements by political prisoners has become a major point of contention between the leadership and opposition, with the Revolutionary Guards Corps determined to hold them, possibly beginning this weekend.

The statement follows:

*Family and Friends of Detained Iranian American Scholar Kian Tajbakhsh Strongly Deny Accusations by Iranian Authorities and Denounce Iran’s Use of Forced Statements by Political Prisoners *
In Iran’s first official acknowledgment of Kian’s arrest on July 9, Iranian Press TV  reported on Monday that “Iranian authorities detained Tajbakhsh on grounds of cooperating with Hossein Rassam, the head of the security and political
division of the British Embassy in Tehran, who is also in custody over post-election turmoil.”
These false accusations are entirely groundless. Those who know Kian understand that his persecution by Iranian authorities is not only tragic but ironic—as a social scientist and urban planner he has always sought political neutrality in an effort to bridge cultural divides and honor his much-loved homeland. His work is a valued asset that the Government of Iran should seek to protect.
The Iranian state television report on Kian’s arrest also notes that “Iran blames foreign powers, the US and Britain in particular, for what it calls interference in its internal affairs and post-vote disturbances, which have claimed the lives of at least 20 people.”
We are concerned that Kian is being held in an attempt by the Iranian authorities to obtain forced statements from him to use in a televised show trial. It is exceedingly important that we all strongly denounce Iran’s serial practice of extracting forced statements from political prisoners. Such statements are repeatedly extracted under conditions of torture for the sole purpose of staging televised show trials in an attempt to deceive the Iranian public.

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