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Ayatollah Montazeri, father of Iran's human rights passed away

"Humans are free and independent to decide for themselves"

These are the final words of  Ayatollah Montazeri who wrote in a letter, which as a grand ayatollah can be accepted as a final verdict on Islam and human rights.As a grand ayatollah, his teachings and directives were accepted by his followers.He passed away on Saturday night. Ayatollah Montazeri spent many years in the Shah's prisons, and was appointed as ayatollah Khomeini's successor in the first decades of the Islamic Republic. He opposed the mass killings of the 1988 of thousand of Iranian political prisoners which occured under direct orders of Ayatollah Khomeini and so he was deposed from his position and spent the rest of his life in Ghom, the centre of religous Islam.   He was considered an opponent to the existing Iranian rulers who have no respect neither for Islam nor the people with rights as humans. He was under house arrest for 6 years from 1997 for criticising Ayatollah Khamenei, the exisiting supreme leader.

Ayatolla's Montazeri's funeral turned into mass rallies and thousands of people went from all over the country to attend the procession. The Iranian government, which didn't agree with the ayatollah's views because of his opposition to the supreme leader and his support of the green movement dispatched militias and security men and plain clothes guards to Ghom to disperse the crowd. They prevented the ayatollah's family to have the after-burial ceremony at the designated mosque. The Basijii malitia occupied the mosque.

It is not known how many people were detained on their way to Ghom but we know for sure that from one bus in central Tehran, human rights activists Ms Shiva Nazar Ahari and Mr Koohyar Goodarzi and women's rights activist, Ms Mohboobeh Abassogholizadeh and writer Mr Ahmad Ghabel were taken away. Ms Abassgholizadeh was freed late last night but the fate of the rest is unknown. Mr Mousavi's car was attacked, he was sworn at and its rear windows were broken. The atmosphere in Najaf, a small town in the outskirts of Esfahan and the birth place of the Ayatollah was tense as people gathered aound his family house and the revolutionary guards and the security forces intervened. The angry people set fire to two of the revolutionary guards buses.

However, Ayatollah Montazeri will be remembered by the Iranian people not as a religous man but as a person with great insight into Islam and modern life with its own necessities. It was for this basic understanding that Ayatollah Montazeri tried hard to introduce a re-reading of the archaic texts and reconcile them with today. From now on all his teachings will be re-read by his followers in order to find meanings and directives which will take the Iranian style Islam as introduced and presented by the existing authorities out of the miseries of the 30 year rule of the repressive Islamic regime.   


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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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