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Family Of Jailed Iranian Dissident Cleric Appeals To UN Chief

Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi
Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi
The family of dissident Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking him to address human rights violations in Iran at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly that opens today, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

A supporter of the separation of religion from the state, Boroujerdi was arrested in October 2006 on charges including "enmity with God" and "spreading propaganda against the Islamic republic." He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The letter says that due to physical and mental torture, Boroujerdi has developed a heart condition, kidney disease, and respiratory problems; he has also lost 80 percent of his vision as a result of a torn retina.

"The judicial authorities have not only deprived him of medical treatment but also refused to give us his medical records solely because he still perseveres in his beliefs and continues his activities in prison," his family says in the letter.

The letter also says that Boroujerdi has written several times to the UN secretary-general and other international authorities, but to no avail.

One of Boroujerdi's relatives, who asked to remain anonymous, told Radio Farda on September 22: "Our request to the UN secretary-general is that he send a representative from the UN to visit Ayatollah Boroujerdi in jail to see in what conditions he is kept merely for expressing his opinion."

"Whenever he objects to the deplorable conditions in the jail, he is persecuted," Boroujerdi's relative continued. "For instance, once he was beaten for complaining about finding a lizard in his food."

Addressing Ban Ki-moon, the letter says, "We urge you to prioritize during the 65th UN General Assembly Summit addressing the issues of increasing human rights violations in Iran and saving the lives of prisoners in this country."