Hostage taking an old habit which dies hard

Iran has become a country of hostage taking and terror. American kids, hicking the mountains are taken hostage; French lecturer innocent of any crime is taken hostage; Iranian academics who travel to the country to see their families are taken hostage; families of political opponents and defenders of political opponents are taken hostage as well.

The method of hostage taking is as frightening as the act itself. Plainclothes, unknown men in mafia gagster style raid homes, mostly in the middle of night, terrorise family members and take anyone at hand if the person they are looking for is not available.  One women was taken away in front of her bewildered family at 3AM by 8 men.  They never heard of her for 16 agonising days.  

In Iran, no one is immune from terror; opponents, even friends and co-conspiritors of the ruling elite and above all lawyers who dare to step forward and defend those taken to prison. Almost all lawyers have experienced detention, harrasment one way otr the other. At the moment Mohamad Oliaifar human rights lawyer is in detention. 

The last saga of its type is the hostage taking of Mohhamad Mostafaie's brother and wife. Mostafaie has defended many juvenilles on death row. He has defended many other political prisoners and this way brough himself a lot of enemies.

The Iranian regime considers the act of hostage taking a legitimate starategy to intimidate and terrorise its opponents. This strategy started with the seige of  the American Embassy in the early 1980s and taken hostage 53 Americane staff for over 450 days. This strategy had remained effective to this date.

The international community must react to this barbaric and cruel form of terror which is routingly used by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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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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