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Date:13 May 2012

Free Ailing Iranian Activist Mohammad Tavassoli

Voice of Freedom:Mohammad Tavassoli, imprisoned head the political bureau of the outlawed Freedom Movement of Iran is said to be in dire physical conditions. On May 15 he will celebrate his 75th birthday in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison

Mohammad Tavassoli, Tehran's first post-revolution mayor, was arrested on 3 November after he and 140 other activists wrote a letter to former President Mohammad Khatami, warning him that there was little hope the authorities would submit to free and fair elections. In that letter, he - among 143 fellow activists who signed - warned that "There will not be the smallest glimmer of hope for protecting the people's vote and for holding free and fair elections".

The 74 -year-old is currently being held in section 209 of the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. According to sources, he is not being allowed fresh air and that he has developed shivering as a result of prison duress. He was transferred to the prison infirmary a number of times after his health deteriorated. Instead of receiving medical attention, Tavassoli reportedly received death threats from an official working there.

This past week (May 7-12) Mr. Tavassoli's family were able to meet with their frail loved one, whose hands were shaking from weakness due to loss of weight and mistreatment.

Tavassoli has spent many years, both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, behind bars where he was also subjected to torture. In early 2001, he was imprisoned along with other FMI members and spent eleven months in solitary confinement before being released on bail.

He was arrested again following Iran's disputed June 2009 presidential election. He was released after spending 43 days in solitary confinement.

Tavassoli's daughter (Leila) and son-in-law (Mohammad Navid Taheri), both detained following opposition protests in late December 2009, are also in prison serving lengthy jail terms.

Since his arrest in November, Tavassoli has only been given a 36-hour leave to attend his daughter's wedding. He spent the New Iranian Year in prison, despite his family's letters to the Head of the Judiciary and Intelligence Minister requesting his release during the festivities.


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