IRAN: AI condemns the continuing pattern of arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention in Iran carried out by the Revolutionary Court.

Those arrested on 7 April in different cities throughout Iran included journalists, academics and political activists. They, like many of those arrested earlier, have been denied access to family and lawyers and may have been taken to an unknown place, possibly a detention centre under the control of the Revolutionary Guard, rather than the prisons' authority.

If these individuals are being held solely for the expression of their conscienciously held beliefs, Amnesty International would consider them prisoners of conscience and would call for their immediate and unconditional release.

In response to deputies'questions in parliament on Tuesday 10 April, the Minister of Intelligence is reported to have said that his ministry was not informed about the arrests and it did not have any information indicating that these individuals were 'plotting to overthrow the state'.

The Minister of Intelligence reportedly stated that the Revolutionary Court may have had information about the reasons for the arrests, but that under Iranian law, any information regarding any threat to national security must be put at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence.

President Khatami has expressed regret concerning the manner of the arrests.

Two of those alleged to be seeking the overthrow of the state are 84 year old Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyed Javadi, a lawyer and former Minister of Justice in the 1979 transitional government of Mehdi Bazargan, and Taher Ahmadzadeh, former politician, aged 80.

'The recent mass arrests of those associated with the Iran Freedom Movement and supporters of the 'Religious Nationalist' (Milli Mazhabi) movement, is part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests that have resulted in the incommunicado detention of prisoners of conscience. These arrests, apparently undertaken in the absence of any legal framework and in violation of international legal norms, show a flagrant disregard for due process' a spokesperson for Amnesty International said. ' Freedom of expression and association in Iran remain under attack by the Revolutionary Court', Amnesty International added.

Amnesty International is asking the authorities of the Revolutionary Court to provide urgent clarification regarding the reasons for these arrests, otherwise they should all be released.

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