Baquer and Siamak Namazi are a father and son currently imprisoned in Iran on the charges of “collusion with an enemy state.”
Siamak Namazi, 45, is a resident of the United Arab Emirates. He managed a number of consulting firms for foreign investors and at the time of his arrest worked for an oil company in Dubai.
Baquer Namazi, 80, was formerly governor of the Iranian province of Khuzestan. He left the country in 1983 and ultimately settled in the United States. Between 1984 and 1997 he served as a UNICEF representative and worked in countries such as Kenya, Somalia, and Egypt, focusing on vulnerable people and aid toward women and children affected by war. In recognition of Baquer’s humanitarian work, he was awarded with the Medal of UNICEF and the Center for Human Rights. He also established Hamyaran Iran, the first capacity-building resource center for NGOs in Iran.
On July 18, 2015, Siamak was at the Tehran airport after spending the weekend visiting his parents. Before he could reach the first passport control checkpoint, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members dressed in civilian clothes surrounded him and instructed him to accompany them for questioning. He was questioned for several hours, after which his personal items, including his laptop, were confiscated and he was instructed not to leave Tehran.
For the next three months, Siamak was regularly interrogated by the IRGC. He hired an attorney to represent him, but the attorney was not allowed to be present during any of the interrogations. On October 13, 2015, Siamak was arrested by the members of the IRGC.
Baquer Namazi, attempted to visit his son at Evin Prison two to three times each week, but was never granted access. He was finally told he would be able to visit Siamak on February 24, 2016. As Baquer was leaving Tehran airport on February 22, he was intercepted by IRGC guards. They drove Baquer back to his home, which they searched for several hours and confiscated some of his possession. After the search was over, the IRGC guards informed Baquer that they needed to present him to the magistrate. Baquer was immediately taken to Evin Prison.
Siamak’s trial began on October 1, 2016 and Baquer’s on October 5, 2016. Both hearings were secret and members of the press and the public were not allowed to attend. Before the hearings, Siamak and Baquer had extremely limited access to legal representation. The trial only lasted a couple hours, during which the Namazis were denied fundamental due process rights. They were not allowed to present any evidence or call witnesses, and they were denied the opportunity to meaningfully challenge any charges or evidence.
On October 17, 2016, both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison on the charges of “collusion with an enemy state,” in reference to the United States.
The Namazis are currently being held in the infamous Evin prison, which is known for the use of cruel and prolonged torture of political opponents of the government. Siamak has been subjected to extended periods of solitary confinement and is both physically and psychologically tortured. He started a hunger strike in February 2016 and continued this until his mother was allowed to contact him. Despite having reported ailments to the IRGC guards, he has not received medical treatment. Baquer has been held in similarly harsh prison conditions, including extensive periods of solitary confinement. He has serious heart and other conditions that require him to take special medications. He has lost a significant amount of weight since being imprisoned.
Petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Siamak and Baquer Namazi.