Tehran arrests artist from Offenbach (Germany)

2009/12/07

Published in weekly magazine “Der Spiegel” on December 7, 2009
Source (German): http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,665670,00.html#ref=rss

Von Yassin Musharbash

The Iranian regime has prevented the artist and resident of Germany Parastou Forouhar from returning to Frankfurt. Her passport was confiscated in Tehran, where she had travelled on occasion of a ceremony in commemoration of her parents, who were killed in 1998.

Berlin – Parastou Forouhar should have landed in Frankfurt already on Saturday, however, the Iranian authorities prevented the artist and resident of the city of Offenbach from flying back to Germany by confiscating her Iranian passport. Her enquiries were answered by the head of the security department of the Revolutionary Court, who told her that a complaint had been filed against her by the Ministry of Intelligence. This was reported by a friend of Parastou Forouhar who lives in Frankfurt and who had been talking to her on the phone.

The reasons for this complaint could be related to some interviews that Parastou Forouhar gave during her stay in Iran. She has been staying in the country since mid November. As every year, she organized an annual ceremony in commemoration of her parents, Darioush and Parvaneh Forouhar, who were murdered in 1998.

Both of them were politicians and opposition members. They were then brutally slain by alleged police forces. Their assassination has never been entirely solved, however, it is assumed that Iranian intelligence agents were involved. Forouhar’s lawyer, who has been fighting for years for the case to be resolved, is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

In early November, prior to her journey, the artist had announced in her blog: “As every year, on occasion of the anniversary of their death I will this year again return to my parents’ house in Tehran where they lived and worked and resisted the dictatorship, and where their murderers from the ranks of the Iranian Intelligence stabbed them.”

German embassy is involved
This year’s anniversary takes place in a “changed political situation” which fills her “with hope as well as with worries”: “Meanwhile, Iran is in a situation of continuous protests in demand of rule of law, democracy, and human rights. At the same time, the situation is one of increased repression, where activists are beaten, abducted, tortured and forced to make confessions and deny themselves.”

According to information provided by her Frankfurt friend, Parastou Forouhar is currently staying at her parents’ house.

Member of the German Bundestag and delegate for the federal state of Hessen, Omid Nouripour (Greens) criticized the arrest of Ms Forouhar: “Ms Forouhar must be returned her passport immediately”, he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He added that the situation is unacceptable. “We can not expect that she will get a fair trial under these circumstances”.

Nouripour also called on the federal government to get involved in the case of Ms Forouhar: “After all, this is about the political persecution of a woman who mainly resides and lives in Germany.”

The German embassy meanwhile has become active. It is currently being examined whether the embassy is able to help her, it said.

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