FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2010
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: No clues as to whereabouts of Ehsan Arjemandi
- Iran denies extradition
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received
conflicting information about Mr. Ehsan Arjemandi, a Norwegian
citizen. The Federal Interior minister previously announced
that had been extradited to Iran on September 6, 2009 where
he was wanted on several charges, however, it is now believed
that he is still being held in custody in Pakistan.
who arrived in Pakistan in August, 2009 for the first time
in twenty years to see his relatives (in Balochistan province,
Turbat and Mand) was on an intercity Aslam Dandahi Coach
on August 7 to Karachi, when up to twenty vehicles intercepted
the bus on the Zero Point Coastal Highway near the Uthal
check post, about 12km from Uthal city. According to eyewitnesses,
a group of armed men boarded the bus, covered his head with
a black blanket and took him away in unmarked jeeps. Please
see the link the urgent appeal issued on his disappearance; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3235/.
He had been missing for almost a month when the government
announced that he had been extradited to Iran.
Ehsan Arjemandi’s elder brother, Mohammad Arjemandi,
informed the AHRC that the government of Pakistan has failed
to reply to the letters from the by Chargés d’affaires
of the Norway Embassy requesting information on disappearance
of Arjemandi and news of his extradition. In October 2009
the Iranian government officially informed the Norwegian
Embassy in Islamabad that Ehsan Arjumandi has not been transferred
to Iran from Pakistan.
Mr. Terje Barstad, minister at Norwegian Embassy, Islamabad,
has confirmed to Mr. Mohammad in January, 2010 that he received
a report that Mr. Ehsan is in Pakistani custody in Quetta
city, the capital of Balochistan province. Mr. Mohammad is
maintaining continuous contact with the Norwegian Embassy
who has acknowledged that Mr. Ehsan is citizen of Norway
and it is their responsibility to locate the whereabouts
of their citizens.
A Baloch-speaking army officer confirmed to the family that
Mr. Ehsan Arjemandi is in military custody in Malir Cantonment,
Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. He says that Ehsan
is suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes type 2 and
hepatitis C. The army source informed the family that Ehsan
would be of very importance, particularly in the context
of developments in the region.
There is fear that Ehsan may have been killed during his
illegal detention and alleged torture and that the story
that he has been extradited is merely to convince the family
that the Pakistan authorities are no longer holding him.
This is not the first case of alleged disinformation about
missing persons. The National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC)
of government of Pakistan had announced that Mr. Zakir Majeed,
a student leader of Balochistan, has been released and returned
home on January 22 but the news proved to be false and he
remains missing. It is feared that he might have been killed.
Disappearances and extrajudicial killings during detention
have become a way of dealing with opponents in Balochistan
where the army has so much power the civilian government
cannot interfere in their affairs. The law and order has
been handed over to the Frontier Corp (FC), a Para military
force, instead of the police, and therefore, the proper and
legal way of handling the crimes has been eroded and law
has become subservient of the Paramilitary forces. When the
process of law is not allowed to take the legal course then
government has to rely on the conflicting and false information
provided by the security forces. The behaviour of the law
enforcement agencies in the Balochistan is no more than that
of a colonial power who does not even allow people to gather
in wedding ceremonies and memorial services. Please see the
following links; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1865/
It is without doubt the foremost responsibility of the government
to provide correct and true information about Mr. Ehsan Arjemandi
who was arrested in August 7. The civilian government is
now following the same methods against the people of Balochistan
as the military government of Pervez Musharraf did before.
The government should immediately take steps to recover him
safely from detention.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights
Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation
monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The
Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
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