Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: April 16 • Printable version    

Iranian judiciary issues arrest warrant for son of powerful cleric

Mehdi Hashemi

Fars news agency reports that Iranian judiciary has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mehdi Hashemi, son of powerful cleric, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The judiciary has announced that Mehdi Hashemi will be taken into custody as soon as he enters Iran and that other “legal methods” of arresting him, in case he does not return to Iran, are also under discussion.

Mehdi Hashemi left Iran following the disputed June presidential election in 2009 and is currently residing in Great Britain.

In the post-election events, in what the opposition and human rights groups described as “show trials”, a number of defendants named Mehdi Hashemi as one of the instigators of the post-election turmoil.

Following the June election, mass demonstrations on the streets of Tehran and other major cities took shape in protest to what the protesters believed was a rigged ballot to secure the return of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

The authorities confronted protesters with fierce violence and also arrested thousands of dissidents to quell the uprising.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani aligned himself with the cause of protesters by condemning the arrests and violence and also calling for a recount of the votes.

Although his support of the opposition has become gradually less vociferous, he is still considered to be in the anti-Ahmadinejad camp and therefore entangled in the internal conflicts of the Islamic Republic establishment.

Tehran Prosecutor General, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi announced that officials at Iranian airports have been instructed to arrest Mehdi Hashemi and transfer him to the Tehran court as soon as he arrives at the airport.

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani told Bahar newspaper earlier that her brother was intent on returning to Iran but was advised against it by his family members. She also claimed that her brother had left Iran prior to the said charges and since the country’s “situation had become radicalized” following the elections, his father had asked him to refrain from returning to Iran.

Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi had said earlier that if Mehdi Hashemi denies the charges against him, he should return to Iran and defend himself.

Some of Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s family members endorsed reformist candidate, MirHosein Mousavi in the June presidential elections.

Faezeh Hashemi, his daughter, and some other female members of his family were even briefly arrested in the street demonstrations.

Faezeh Hashemi’s son, Hassan Lahoti was arrested upon returning to Iran on March 21 and is currently out on a $73,000 bail.

Hassan Lahoti is accused of insulting the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in a telephone conversation.

Another member of the Hashemi Rafsanjani family, Hosein Marashi is currently in prison serving a one-year prison term.

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