Ex-Iran leader faces human rights questions

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Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami could face police questioning when he enters the UK this week to accept an honorary degree from St. Andrews University.

The visit has already been criticised by gay campaigners in Outrage along with senior politicians and peers who cite his negative attitudes towards human rights and reports of torture and false imprisonment.

The Metropolitan Police told The Sunday Times paper they may question the former leader over complaints by two Iranians now living in London who claim they were tortured by his regime.

Safa Einollahi, 29, and Ali Ebrahimi, 34 claim they were tortured and falsely imprisoned while Mr Khatami was in power because they had protested against the government.

Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell was due to hand out the award but pulled out amid criticism last week, claiming he is attending a Westminster debate.

Conservative MEP, Struan Stevenson, is one of the critics, he told The Sunday Times: “They pretend that Khatami was a ‘moderate’ when he ruled, and in comparison with his successor he was; but that is like describing Himmler as a moderate compared with Hitler.”

It comes after over 600 people signed an online petition against Mr Khatami receiving the award citing his targeting of gays and lesbians amongst a long list of human rights abuses.

A university spokesman said Mr Khatami was invited because of his “willingness to change.”