Update on Hossein Forouhideh, as some of you may recall, there was great concern that he may be executed in March, but thankfully he was not. It appears as though he is still in grave risk of execution along with his cousin. Bellow please find the latest Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal.
AI Index: MDE 13/062/2007
30 May 2007
UA 128/07 Death penalty/torture
Hossein Forouhideh, also known as Khatibi (m)
Iraj Naji (m), his cousin
Hossein Forouhideh, an advocate of linguistic and social rights for Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity, is reportedly facing imminent execution. He has allegedly been tortured. His cousin, Iraj Naji, is in solitary confinement and Amnesty International fears that he may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
Hossein Forouhideh, from the Khoy region of Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, was reportedly sentenced to death by Bench One of the Revolutionary Court in the city of Urumiye, in West Azerbaijan province. He was reportedly accused of spying for Turkey, but the charges of which he was convicted are not known. He has reportedly spent more than nine months in a detention facility under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence in the city of Urumiye. Torture has allegedly left him with extensive bruising to his torso and a number of broken ribs.
In March the authorities told his mother, who lives in Khoy, that he had already been executed, and that she should collect his body from the detention facility. When she got there, the guards told her that Hossein Forouhideh had not yet been executed. She recently visited the detention facility again, but was not allowed to visit her son, and fears he has been tortured.
Hossein Forouhideh’s wife is a Turkish citizen who lives in eastern Turkey. She has reportedly stated that she has not been able to obtain information about her husband since at least September 2006. Hossein Forouhideh's father and a brother also live in Turkey.
Hossein Forouhideh’s cousin Iraj Naji has reportedly been held in solitary confinement in Urumiye since around October 2006. He is said to be accused of undertaking actions on behalf of Turkey and inciting the people of Khoy to demonstrate, in May 2006, against the publication in the state-owned daily newspaper Iran of a caricature which many Iranian Azerbaijanis considered offensive. Its publication resulted in widespread demonstrations in areas of Azerbaijani settlement in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators were arrested, and demonstrators were shot by the authorities.
Iranian Azerbaijanis speak a Turkic language known as Azerbaijani Turkic. Mainly Shi’a Muslims, they are the largest ethnic minority in Iran, believed to constitute 25-30 percent of the population. They live mainly in the north and north-west of the country. As Shi’a, they are not subject to as much discrimination as minorities of other religions, and are well-integrated into the economy, but there is a growing demand for greater cultural and linguistic rights, including implementation of their constitutional right to education through the medium of Azerbaijani Turkic. A small minority advocate secession of Iranian Azerbaijan from the Islamic Republic of Iran and union with the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Iranian authorities view those who seek to promote Iranian Azerbaijani cultural identity with suspicion, and often accuse them of vague charges such as "promoting pan-Turkism".
The publication of the caricature in Iran led to waves of demonstrations broke out in towns and cities in north-west Iran, after the newspaper was suspended.. At first on a on a small scale, mainly among Iranian Azerbaijani students in universities in the city of Tabriz in East Azerbaijan province, and in the capital, Tehran, protests moved rapidly to other Iranian Azerbaijani areas. A huge demonstration took place in Tabriz on 22 May and further demonstrations were held in other places in the following days. Most of these protests were peaceful, but some ended with attacks on government buildings and cars and were met, in places, by the use of lethal force and mass arrests. Some Iranian Azerbaijani sources have claimed these attacks were instigated by government agents.
I think this should be a motivation to Iranians who support democracy in Iran to be more active in Canada, otherwise events like this will keep on taking place and although we might be able to adjourn the meetings momentarily we will not be able to stop them unless we are ready to deal with the root of the problem.
It always amazes me that although Toronto has one of the largest and most well educated Iranians Communities in Iran, we are not more active in raising our voice against tyranny and injustice. It is only when our voices are united and loud enough that the Canadian Government will start listening to us. I wonder what would have happened if there were 5000 protesters instead of 50, would the government keep on giving these religious fundementalists visas to enter into Canada for their so called peaceful religious talks? I am going to venture a guess and say No.
This post is not meant in any way to take away from what those 50 protesters have accomplished, but I would certainly love to see more people involved and engageing the Canadian Government to stop supporint the IRI in one way or another.
A quick note I myself did not attend this event mostly because I was not aware of it, but would love to attend them in the future if I am notified.
Protest shuts down clerics' visit
Toronto and Regional police gather at UW in case of trouble
WATERLOO (May 29, 2007)
Dozens of irate protesters yelling "shame," "murderers" and "terrorists" shouted down a Waterloo meeting last night that was intended to build peace.
About 50 protesters stood around the meeting hall at Conrad Grebel University College waiting for the dialogue between Mennonites and Muslim clerics from Iran to begin.
Police from Waterloo Region and Toronto, Waterloo firefighters, paramedics and University of Waterloo police were called in in anticipation of protests.
They arrived around 6 p.m., winding down their operations by about 9:10 p.m., after most protesters had left the Conrad Grebel parking lot.
Dozens of Toronto officers remained on standby throughout the evening, staged in a nearby parking lot, but weren't required to assist Waterloo police, Waterloo regional police Insp. Bryan Larkin said.
"Everybody has a democratic right to protest," Larkin said. "The underlying issue here is public safety, and our role here was to maintain the peace."
The Toronto convoy -- including several cruisers, a specialized paramedic unit and a bus carrying riot squad officers from the Public Safety Unit -- left before 9:30 p.m.
The protesters, Iranians and Afghans from the Greater Toronto Area, stayed mostly silent during the opening prayers.
They shuffled around and held aloft a gruesome photo gallery of torture victims, hangings and firing squad executions they say were taken in Iran.
But less than a minute into a talk by a Shiite Muslim cleric from the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in Qom, Iran, the barrage of shouts erupted.
One by one at first, then hitting a crescendo of chanting "Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!"
Rev. Brice Balmer, moderator of the meeting tried to calm the loud crowd.
"This is a religious conference," he pleaded.
But it was to no avail.
The verbal salvos kept flying from around the room while more than 100 people in the audience calmly waited for the meeting to continue.
After about 10 minutes, and some failed attempts to negotiate for the protesters to have their say, organizers called off the meeting.
Members of the panel rose from their table on the stage and headed for a side door -- the cat-calls turned into cheers.
"We made our point" said Rahmen Nejati, one of the more vocal protesters. "They are not welcome in Canada."
The commotion rippled halfway across the city. Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran was pulled out of a city council meeting to be informed of the protest and councillors later met behind closed doors to discuss the event.
The city mobilized its fire department to boost the police presence, Halloran said.
The public meeting, a discussion dubbed Two Peoples, Two Faiths in Dialogue, was part of a nine-year peace-building project between the Mennonite Central Committee and the religious institute in Iran.
The conference has drawn criticism from groups and individuals who vehemently oppose contacts with the institute because it's director, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, is considered to be an anti-democratic, ultra-conservative cleric who promotes human rights violations in Iran.
Yazdi is reputed to be the lead spiritual adviser to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has outraged many people by calling the Holocaust a myth and declaring that Israel must be wiped off the map.
Protesters argued that the speakers from Iran are part of the Iranian government and are responsible for human rights abuses.
As protesters revelled in shutting down the meeting, members of the audience lamented the disruption.
"They acted violently in a very barbaric fashion," Idrisa Pandit said of the protesters. Pandit, a Muslim woman wearing a black head scarf, said the protesters were not fighting for her rights as a woman.
"They hate Islam and that surely speaks about why they would try to prevent dialogue," she said. "There is absolutely nothing in any of their intentions to promote dialogue and peace-building."
Nejati, one of the protesters said the Iranian clerics don't deserve to have free speech because their ideology supports terrorism.
Arli Klassen, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario which is co-hosting the conference, said she wasn't surprised at the outcome of the meeting. "I'm disappointed that we couldn't talk civilly and peacefully."
The conference will continue.
"We expect that there will be a heavy police presence to make sure that that happens," she said.
Larkin said police will monitor the upcoming closed sessions as the conference continues.
Yesterday's meeting was one of three public forums scheduled during the conference. Sunday's was cancelled because of slight delays in obtaining visas. A public meeting which had been scheduled for Thursday, in Toronto, was cancelled because of security concerns,
Police officers and members of a paramilitary group arrested 87 at a May 10 party. As many as 17 men are still in custody. Amnesty International fears for their wellbeing.
AI Index: MDE 13/057/2007
Possible prisoners of conscience / Fear of torture or ill-treatment
21 May 2007
Up to 17 men
Up to 17 men remain in detention after being arrested at a private party in Esfahan province, central Iran on 10 May. They may have been tortured or ill-treated and remain at risk of such abuse.
The men were among 87 people reportedly arrested at the party; the others have been released, apparently on bail, and are likely to face prosecution in the future. Those still detained are believed to have been wearing clothes generally associated with women at the time of their arrest. They are not believed to have had access to lawyers or family members, and a judge has reportedly said that those still detained will be charged with consumption of alcohol, and “homosexual conduct” (hamjensgarai). Amnesty International is not aware of any evidence that the men attending the party identify themselves as gay or were engaging in same-sex sexual relations. Their arrests were made at a time when the Iranian authorities have been mounting a security operation to enforce dress codes in Iran.
Eyewitnesses to the arrest have reportedly described how those attending the party were dragged into the street by police and members of the Basij force (volunteer paramilitary units attached to the Revolutionary Guards Corps), who beat them severely, causing bruising and, in some cases, broken bones. It is not known if those detained have been allowed access to medical treatment.
Amnesty International recognizes that consumption of alcohol is a criminal offence in Iran, although the organization has no information as to whether any of those detained had consumed alcohol. However, the organization is concerned that the men may be held because of what they were wearing at the time of their arrest, in light of the fact that the others arrested have since been released. If this is the case, then they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
The arrests have come in the context of an annual crackdown on “immoral behaviour” in Iran, which began in April. Police are reported to have stopped thousands of people in the street, and to have required many of them to sign statements committing themselves to observe the official dress code in Iran, which prescribes what is regarded as acceptable attire for men and for women. More than 130 people are reportedly facing prosecution either for refusing to comply with the police demands or for breaching the official dress code.
Men convicted of homosexual sex face the death penalty or flogging, depending on the particular act. Women convicted of lesbian sex face flogging or, after conviction for a fourth time, the death penalty.
Consumption of alcohol in Iran carries a penalty of one hundred lashes, or, after conviction for a third time, the death penalty.
Amnesty International opposes the criminalisation of consensual adult sexual relations conducted in private and urges the Iranian authorities to urgently review law and practice to ensure that no one can be prosecuted for such reasons. Amnesty International is also opposed to the use of flogging and other judicial corporal punishments which constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, and is unconditionally opposed to the use of the death penalty.
A journalist member of Iran’s Arab minority who was detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression is reportedly being denied the medical treatment he needs.
AI Index: MDE 13/058/2007
25 May 2007
Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya (m), journalist
Journalist Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya, a member of Iran’s Arab minority, is serving a three-year sentence in Tehran's Evin Prison after writing articles criticizing the Iranian government and reportedly contacting opposition groups based outside Iran. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association, and is concerned that he may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. He is reportedly being denied the medical treatment he needs.
Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya is the managing editor of ‘Aqlam al-Talaba’ ('The Students’ Pens'), a publication issued by the students in Ahvaz University in Khuzestan province; a correspondent for several Arab television and radio broadcasting news agencies including Abu Dhabi TV and Radio, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); a journalist for the Lebanese ‘al-Mustaqbal’ broadcasting corporation.
He was detained in November 2006 and reportedly held in Section 209 of Evin Prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence. On 21 April, he was reportedly sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with hard labour. He was not afforded legal representation at any point in the judicial process, in violation of international fair trial standards.
Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya suffers from sickle cell anaemia (an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells) for which he needs regular antibiotics and access to medical examinations. In addition, he suffers from heart problems, for which he also requires medication. According to Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya’s family, the prison authorities have refused to allow them to bring in supplies of his medication. It is feared that his health may be at serious risk if he is not granted access to adequate medical care.
Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran’s oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Hundreds have been arrested and there have been reports of torture. Unconfirmed reports in April 2007 stated that ahead of the second anniversary of the April 2005 unrest, scores of Iranian Arabs had been arrested and later released.
Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October 2005, the cycle of violence has intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arrests. A total of 12 men have been executed as a result of their alleged involvement in the bombings.
In regards to my post yesterday regarding the crack down on the student movement and the arrest of 6 students, Amnesty International has issued an urgent action in regards to the following students.
Bejaz Ahmad Qasabian (m)]
Moqdad Khalilpour (m) ]
Pooya Mahmoudian (m) ] students at Amir Kabir Polytechnic in
Majid Tavakkoli (m) ] Tehran
Majid Sheikhpour (m) ]
Babak Zamanian (m)
At least six students, four of whom are connected with student publications, from Amir Kabir Polytechnic in the capital, Tehran, have been arrested and are believed to be held in the city's Evin Prison. Amnesty International fears that they may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
Ahmad Qasabian, Moqdad Khalilpour, Pooya Mahmoudian, Majid Tavakkoli and Majid Sheikhpour are editors-in-chief of student publications. All men were reportedly detained apparently in connection with articles deemed by university officials to “insult Islamic sanctities”, a criminal offence. These reportedly appeared on 30 April in several student publications.
According to reports, Ahmad Qasabian, the managing editor of “Sahar” was arrested on 3 May, and Moqdad Khalilpour, the editor of “Atiyeh” was arrested on 7 May. Three other students, Pooya Mahmoudian, editor-in-chief of “Rivar”; Majid Tavakkoli, editor-in-chief of “Khat-e Sefer” and Majid Sheikhpour, editor-in-chief of “Sar-e Khat”, other student publications, were reportedly summoned to a Revolutionary Court on 8 May and were detained by judicial officials that afternoon.
Ahmad Qasabian is reportedly held in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, run by the Ministry of Intelligence and outside the control of Iran’s prison service.
Another student, Babak Zamanian, the spokesperson for Amir Kabir’s Islamic Students’ Association, was reportedly arrested on 25 April, and appeared in court on the same day, charged with “acting against state security”. This may be in connection with interviews he reportedly gave to radio stations broadcasting outside Iran. He had already spent several days in detention following these interviews. He is reportedly now being held in section 209 of Evin Prison.
Following the publication of articles considered by some students to be controversial, clashes broke out between students and members of the paramilitary Basij, who see themselves as acting on the authority of the Supreme Leader, on the campus of the Amir Kabir Polytechnic, during which several students were reportedly beaten severely. Some students claimed that the controversial articles were forged, and had been produced in order to provide an excuse to crack down on student journalists and activists.
The arrests took place in the course of elections on 7 May to the board of the university’s student union, the Islamic Student Association and some observers have suggested that these arrested may be an attempt by the authorities to disrupt the students’ election process.
On 2 May the Justice Ministry spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, reportedly said that an inquiry into the incident had been opened.
During a speech at Amir Kabir Polytechnic on 11 December 2006, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was interrupted by heckling and jeers as one student burned his picture and another hurled a shoe towards the stage.
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran's progress in enriching uranium has rendered unrealistic world powers' quest to prevent Tehran from gaining nuclear expertise, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency director said.
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 15, 2007;
Iran's judiciary said today that it is investigating noted American scholar and Potomac resident Haleh Esfandiari for suspected "crimes against national security," an allegation that immediately produced condemnation from academic circles and international human rights groups.
Below is a statement written and signed by 6 student/human right activists, protesting the oppression of the students and the student movement in Iran. The letter is signed by Ali Afshari, Manouchehr Mohammadi, Akbar Atari, Hassan Zarazadeh Ardeshir, Kianoush Sanjari and Kourosh Sahati.
I have translated the first few paragraphs, for those who can't read farsi, hopefully there will be an official translation published soon which I will post.
In the past few days a number of student activists in Amir Kabir University have been arresed and are being interrogaged by the Intelligence Ministry Officials. Babak Zamaniyan, Ahmad Ghazaban, Majid Sheykhpour, Majid Tavakoli, Magdad Khalilpur, Pooyan Mahmodiyan are six students who have been illegally arrested for their activism.
Also Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, a student at the Tehran university wo is a womans rights activists and is active in that capacity has been imprisoned.
The letter also discusses the oppression of students and the student movement by the Islamic Regime and pertiuclarly Ahmadinejad in great length.
سرکوب دانشجویان را متوقف کنید
دولت باصطلاح مهرورز جمهوری اسلامی ایران در چند روز گذشته تعدادی از دانشجویان فعال در دانشگاه امیر کبیر تهران را دستگیر و زندانی کرده است که بر اساس شواهد و قرائن موجود، آنها زیر فشار بازجویان وزارت اطلاعات قرار دارند.
بابک زمانیان، احمد قصابان، مجید شیخ پور، مجید توکلی، مقداد خلیل پور، پویان محمودیان، 6 دانشجویی هستند که در ارتباط با حوادث اخیر دانشگاه امیر کبیر به صورت غیرقانونی دستگیر و بازداشت شده اند و از طرفی نیز زینب پیغمبرزاده دانشجوی دانشکده علوم اجتماعی دانشگاه تهران، که در حوزه حقوق زنان فعالیت های قابل توجهی دارد، روانه زندان شد.
نکته مهم در انجاست که بازداشت 6 دانشجوی دانشگاه امیر کبیر تنها به حوادث اخیر این دانشگاه خلاصه نمی شود چرا که از زمان روی کار آمدن دولن محمود احمدی نژاد یک اراده ای برای سرکوب گسترده تر جنبش دانشجویی در دستور کار نهادهای اطلاعاتی، امنیتی، قضائی و وزارت علوم قرار گرفت و به مرور دانشجویان به کمیته های انضباطی و دادگاه های انقلاب احضار شدند و تعداد زیادی از گروههای دانشجویی غیرقانونی اعلام شدند. و دولت نهم که بیشترین ندای آزادیخواهی را از دانشگاه امیر کبیر می شنید تلاش کرد با سناریو سازی در این دانشگاه، مقدمات سرکوب فعالان دانشجویی این دانشگاه را فراهم سازد.
ابتدا ، بسیج دانشجویی و نهاد نمایندگی ولی فقیه را در براب ردانشجویان گذاشتند تا به بهانه غیرمذهبی ودن اعضای انجمن اسلامی دانشجویان، فضای دانشگاه را متشنج و نهایتا با دانشجویان برخورد کنند و سپس در برابر فعالیت های قانونی انجمن موانعی ایجاد کردند و در این راستا انتخابات انجمن را در سال گذشته غیرقانونی دانستند تا به مرور شرایط بستن دفتر این انجمن را فراهم کنند. سرانجام این اتفاق افتاد و نه تنها تعدادی از دانشجویان را سال گذشته زندانی و تعدادی را احضار کردندف انجمن دانشجویی را غیرقانونی معرفی کردند تا ادامه فعالیت های این نهاد دانشجویی که منتخب 2800 دانشجو بود با کارشکنی های جدیتری روبرو شود.
از خرداد سال گذشته که انجمن دانشجویان تعطیل و دفتر آن پلمپ شد، نهادهای امنیتی یک انجمن دیگری مرکب از دانشجویان بسیجی را تاسیس کردند تا چالش جدیدی را بر سر راه فعالیت های واقعی دانشجویان ایجاد کنند. این روند ادامه داشت تا اینکه با عدم اسقبال دانشجویان از محمود احمدی نژاد در جریان سخنرانی اش در دانشگاه امیر کبیر در آذرماه سال گذشته و ناکامی او در به کنترل گرفتن فضای دانشگاه، اقدامات امنیتی برای سرکوب دانشجویان گسترش پیدا کرد
دولت احمدی نژاد در ادامه سیاست های جمهوری اسلامی که همواره سرکوب منتقدان و مخالفان بوده، با یک کابینه امنیتی کمر بر قلع و قمع فعالان دانشجویی بسته به زعم انکه صدای دانشجویان را خفه کنند و دانشگاه را به سلطه خود درآورند. آنها تصور می کنند، سناریویی که با ایجاد تشکل های موازی مانند بسیج دانشجویی و سایر تشکل ها و حتی فعالیتهای هماهنگ کمیته های انضباطی، حراست و نهاد نمایندگی ولی فقیه در دانشگاه ها نتوانسته اند پیش ببرند ، اینک می توانند با جعل نشریات دانشجویی و به بازی گرفتن احساسات دینی مردم به نقطه مطلوبشان برسانند در حالیکه جنبش دانشجویی قدرتمند تر از آن است که در برابر این فشارها زانو خم کند. براستی آیا وقایع کوی دانشگاه و اعتراضات گسترده دانشجویان در دوره های مختلف را فراموش کرده اند که با سرکوب عده ای از دانشجویان، گروهی دیگر از انها پرچم دفاع از حقوق مردم را در دست گرفته اند
ما فعالان دانشجویی سابق و امضا کنندگان این بیانیه ، سرکوب جنبش دانشجویی و هر نوع برخورد غیرقانونی و غیرانسانی با دانشجویان را محکوم کرده و خواهان؛ به رسمیت شناختن اعضای جدید شورای مرکزی انجمن اسلامی منتخب دانشجویان دانشگاه امیر کبیر، فراهم کردن فضای امن و آرام برای فعالیت های دانشجویی در کل دانشگاههای کشور و آزادی همه دانشجویان دربند هستیم.
علی افشاری، منوچهر محمدی، اکبر عطری، حسن زارع زاده اردشیر، کیانوش سنجری، کوروش صحتی
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as three lawmakers today called for the immediate release of Haleh Esfandiari, the American scholar imprisoned in Iran Tuesday after more than four months under virtual house arrest.
"The Iranian government's detention of this 67-year-old grandmother and scholar shows its complete disregard for basic human rights," Obama said in a statement. "If the Iranian government has any desire to engage the world in dialogue, it can demonstrate that desire by releasing this champion of dialogue from detention."
May 14 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush approved direct U.S. talks with Iran, a country he denounced in 2002 as part of the ``axi0 comments - published on Monday, May 14, 2007
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will meet Iranian officials in Baghdad within a few weeks, Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said yesterday
Some Iranian newspapers hail America's agreement to talk to Iran about Iraq as recognition that the country is a significant player in the Middle East.
Others link the Iraq talks to issues such as Iran's nuclear programme and say Iran should set conditions.
Three papers are convinced Iran has nothing to gain from the talks, while America can only win.HARD-LINE IRAN
Iran has hanged 15 men convicted of drug trafficking in the northeastern city of Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi province0 comments - published on Monday, May 14, 2007
Mon May 14, 7:20 AM ETTEHRAN (AFP) -
The judiciary decisively hits back at those who are behind insecurity and drug trafficking and has executed 15 drug traffickers," the Quds newspaper quoted the chief of Mashhad prosecutors Gholam Hossein Esmaeeli as saying.
The paper said the executions took place in the past 10 days.
The hangings bring to at least 72 the number of executions carried out in Iran so far this year. At least 177 people were executed in 2006, according to an Amnesty International report
"The US has called for holding talks with Iran to settle security problems in Iraq. We have announced our readiness for talks to help the Iraqi government and nation," he said. -IRNA 5/14/07
By Diala Saadeh
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday threatened "severe" retaliation if the United States attacked his country, which is locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program.
Iran: Jailed Iranian-American Scholar Faces Coercion - Iran should immediately release Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari and allow her to return to the United States, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Iranian authorities have subjected Esfandiari to arbitrary detention and coercive interrogation. 5/12/07
Tehran - Iran has expelled 85 000 illegal Afghan refugees in the past three weeks in a repatriation plan whose speed triggered the sacking of two Afghan cabinet ministers, officials said
By Parisa Hafezi
Sunday, May 13, 2007; 9:29 AM
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran and the United States will hold talks in Baghdad aimed at establishing security in Iraq, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
CAIRO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Lea Anne McBride, spokeswoman for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, said on Sunday that the U.S. was willing to hold talks with Iran over the Iraqi issue.
Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh, a women’s rights activist and an active member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, who was among the 33 women arrested on March 4th during a peaceful gathering outside the Revolutionary Courts, was arrested again today. Peyqambarzadeh reported to the Security Branch of the Revolutionary Courts this morning, Monday May 7th, after she received a summons in relation to her arrest in March. While the summons was written last month, it was only presented to her two days ago on May 5th, after which she is allowed three business days to appear in court. A few hours after entering the courthouse, Zeinab contacted her father, to let him know that she was being transferred to Evin Prison.
“She could only speak briefly and in the phone conversation explained that she had been asked to put up 20 million Tomans (roughly 20,000 Euros) bond. Zeinab explained that she would not be able to put up the hefty sum requested from the courts, and as such she was transferred to Evin prison,” explained Mr. Peyqambarzadeh, Zeinab’s father. “I do not own my home and am currently renting, as such there is no way I can come up with this sum of money in return for the release of my daughter” Mr. Peyqambarzadeh explained. Latest reports indicate that Zeinab is currently under arrest and being held in Evin prison.
In related news, Maryam Hosseinkhah, a journalistm, women’s rights activist and a member of the Women’s Cultural Center, and Fatemeh Govaraie, a women’s rights activist, both among the 33 women arrested on March 4th, were summoned to court. The courts issued a summons for Maryam Hosseinkhah to the third party guarantor who had placed bond for her release from prison. Hosseinkhah’s guarantor is responsible for ensuring that she appears in court.
Fatemeh Govaraie’s guarantor was also contacted by the courts and informed that should Ms. Govaraie not appear in court in the three day time period required of her, a 10 million Toman sum would need to be paid. Both women will have to appear before the Revolutionary Courts within three days.
Both women were summoned in relation to their arrests, along with 31 others, on March 4th, when women’s rights activists staged a peaceful protest outside the Revolutionary Courts, in objection to the increasing pressure on the women’s rights activists and the trial of 5 of their colleagues.
Source: Change for Equality
There is a campaign underway to save Behrouz Javid Tehrani. You can find more information regarding this campaign on http://www.sos-tehrani.blogspot.com/. The website is in Farsi, for all of those who cannot read farsi the campaign is to support Behrouz Tehrani and to voice our concerns about the way he is being treated in prison. I have a number of articles on my website about his curent situation for those who are interested. To further show your support please email the campaign organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to add your name to their petition.
Behrouz Javid Tehrani, is a very brave and strong young man who has spent more then 6 years in prison because of his beliefs in democracy and human rights. Lets stand by him when he needs our support.
Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir - 2007.05.02
Prison authorities at Gohar Dasht prison in the town of Karaj (Rajayi Shahr) assaulted Behrouz Javid Tehrani and transferred him to a solitary confinement cell.
Tehrani is a former prisoner in connection with the student protests at Tehran university who has been arrested and imprisoned several times since his release, and, because of his political activities, is begrudged by security and judiciary officials. This is the reason why he has been exiled to Gohar Dasht prison in Karaj to serve his prison term amid dangerous regular (non-political) convicts.
In the words of Arsam Azad, a member of the Student Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners (Komite Daneshjooyi Defa az Zendanian Siasi), “The transfer of Javid Tehrani to a solitary confinement cell began a few days ago when prison authorities gathered all the convicts who had records of murder and in a speech in which he called the political prisoners to be hypocrites (which in the official interpretation deserve the death penalty) said that the latter had to be dealt with mercilessly. These words led to a protesting commotion among prisoners.”
In a related issue, assaults on Tehrani were first carried out by dangerous convicts who work for the prison so that the ground work for his transfer to the solitary confinement and subsequent events could be laid. “Behrouz Javid Tehrani’s life is in danger because he has been under the worst prison conditions and prison authorities increase the pressure on him,” according to Arsam Azad.
It is known that Tehrani is not the only person to be subjected to assaults and battery by prison authorities. According to a spokesman for Karzar, “following the ill-intended remarks of a prison official against political prisoners, Merhdad Lohresbi who is a prisoner in connection with the Tehran University protests was the first to be summoned by Ali Mohammadi, the first deputy of Rajayi Shahr prison who told the prisoner that if he did not forego his requests, he would face the same fate as Akbar Mohammadi. This despite the fact that the only request that Lohresbi has been making is to get prison leave to receive medical treatment for the numerous illnesses that he has developed.”
Soon after the news that Tehrani had been transferred to a solitary confinement cell, 4 political prisoners in Evin issued a statement in his support and condemned the measure of the judiciary. “We the undersigned political prisoners strongly condemn the inhuman action of the regime, which is contrary to all international conventions and agreements, and stress that Javid Tehrani must be unconditionally and immediately take out of the solitary confinement cell,” the statement read.
AI Index: MDE 13/050/2007
02 May 2007
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Further Information on UA 101/07 (MDE 13/048/2007, 30 April 2007) Incommunicado detention/ fear of torture or ill-treatment
Hamid Sa'edi (m), aged 35, Kurdish teacher
Hamid Sa'edi, a teacher, singer and poet from Iran's Kurdish minority, was reportedly released on 1 or 2 May on payment of bail. No further details regarding the charges against him were available to Amnesty International.
Hamid Sa’edi was reportedly arrested on 22 April by plain clothed officials of the Ministry of Intelligence, in the city of Sanandaj, in Kordestan province, northwestern Iran. He was reportedly held incommunicado in a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sanandaj. He may have been arrested in connection with his participation in a peaceful demonstration held by about 200 teachers in Sanandaj in mid-March, and in a strike by teachers on 17 and 18 March, both of which were calling for higher pay and better working conditions.
Incommunicado detention / fear of torture or ill-treatment
Hamid Sa’edi (m), 35, Kurdish teacher
Hamid Sa’edi, a teacher, singer and poet from Iran 's Kurdish minority, was reportedly arrested on 22 April by plain clothed officials of the Ministry of Intelligence, in the city of Sanandaj , in Kordestan province, northwestern Iran . He was reportedly summoned by officials to a court, possibly for questioning, where he was arrested. He is currently held incommunicado in a Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sanandaj. Amnesty International is concerned that he may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
The reasons for Hamid Sa’edi’s arrest are not clear to Amnesty International. However, Hamid Sa’edi reportedly participated in a peaceful demonstration held by about 200 teachers in Sanandaj in mid-March, and in a strike by teachers on 17 and 18 March, both of which were calling for higher pay and better working conditions. It is feared that Hamid Sa’edi may have been detained in connection with these activities.
Hamid Sa’edi is the brother of Kurdish journalist and human rights defender Sa’id Sa’edi, who was detained for over two months in 2005 in connection with his alleged participation in demonstrations (see Amnesty International Appeal Case, AI Index MDE 13/080/2006, July 2006). Hamid Sa'edi was briefly detained in late 2005 or early 2006, following his brother’s release. When Hamid Sa'edi was arrested, security forces personnel confiscated books and two computers from the home he shares with his parents. He was released on bail, on accusations of “acting against national security”. To date, he has not been charged or tried in relation to these accusations.
Teachers across Iran have taken part in demonstrations during March and April demanding better pay and conditions. Members of Iran ’s National Union of Teachers have undertaken large, peaceful demonstrations in the cities of Tehran , Kermanshah and Hamedan, each of which resulted in scores of arrests. The reasons for these arrests are not clear. On 7 April, members of the National Union of Teachers in Hamedan met to debate issues of concern when security officials broke up the meeting, arresting the 30 participants and reportedly another 15 people at their homes. All are since believed to have been released. At least seven teachers are currently detained without charge or trial in Tehran , including Ali Akbar Baghani, the Head of the National Union of Teachers.
Another strike took place on 29 April, with unconfirmed reports of arrests of up to 45 teachers in Hamedan and the north-western city of Ardebil . Further strikes are planned for 2 May and 8 May.
Kurds are believed to make up between seven and 10 per cent of the population of Iran . They live mainly in the north-western provinces neighbouring Iraq and Turkey , where the main economic activity is farming. For many years, Kurdish organizations such as the Kurdistan People’s Democratic Party (KDPI) and Komala engaged in armed resistance to the government, but more recently they have abandoned armed struggle for independence in favour of pursuing regional autonomy within a federal system of government, by peaceful means. The more recently formed PJAK, the Iranian wing of the PKK, is currently engaged in armed opposition to the Iranian authorities in border areas close to Iraq .
Below is the translation of a letter written by Behrouz Javid Tehrani. (For the original letter in farsi click on the title of this post) The translation may not be perfect as I am not a profesional translater but it is pretty accurate. I felt it was important for people to read his letter and to keep him in our toughts. He has also asked people to write to him in prison, so if that is something you are interested in you can find his address at the bottom of the page. If you do decide to write make sure to write neutral messages such as "you are in my thoughts" or " Stay Strong" so as not to cause him any trouble with the authorities.
I wrote a profile on Behrouz Tehrani about a year ago and its floating on the internet, I will find it and post it on the blog just to give everyone some background info about him.
Translation of Letter by Behrouz Javid Tehrani
It has been more then two years since I, Behrouz Javid Tehrani have been imprisoned. When two years ago the intelligence ministry agents raided my home and savagely attacked myself and my good friend Keyvan Rafai, subjecting us to severe beatings I know that I had committed no crime and that I would be acquitted.
I was a human rights activist and had not committed any criminal offence, however the Ministry of Intelligence accused me of being involved with the Mojahedin Khalq ( an armed opposition group), when they very well knew that I was just a human rights activist.
The only piece of evidence they had to support this charge was the fat that I had found a letter written by a political prisoner who was executed in the 1980’s mass executions, in the crack of my cell (in S.209 of the Evin Prison) and had widely published it on the internet as well as on certain American and European sites.
With the help of my lawyer and by maintaining my innocence I was acquitted of all charges against me except one. I was charged with participating in a demonstration in front of the UN building in Tehran. A gathering whose organizers are free and have never been charged, but many participants including the wife of Mr. Amir Heshmat Saran and the Wife of Mr. Omid Abbas GholiNejad (whose husbands were political prisoners at that time) as well as Ms. Shiva NazarAhari and a number of other women whose names escapes me as well as many others such as myself, Ali and Mohammad Tabarzadi (two sons of Heshmat Tabarzadi), Bina Darabzand, Dr. Farzad Hamidi, Hassan Ghysari were arrested.
Thankfully among the 100’s of people who were arrested all were eventually released except myself. It is Ironic that I was arrested by the Intelligence Services before ever making it to the site of the demonstration and the UN building. Due to this reason the Judiciary had no choice but to acquit me, however due to the lack of independence of the Judiciary and the pressure put on them by the Ministry of Intelligence they did not let me go.
The Judge at my trial Judge Hedad told me that I ad been sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment when I was originally arrested in 1999 for my participation in the July 1999 student demonstrations as well as for insulting the Supreme Leader Khamenei. According to him however the Supreme Leader had had mercy on me and reduced my sentence to four years (which I served from 1999-2003). However now he had changed his mind and I would have to serve the full 8 years.
The Judge also informed me that he would sentence me to 70 or 80 or even 100 lashes so that my sins will be forgiven and so that I would not be motivated to write letters or do any human rights activities while in prison. Shocked, I asked him “why lashes? Democracy, Freedom and Human Rights are what I believe in and what is in my mind, why do you have to destroy my back? “
Dear Friends, I am writing all of this for you so that you can know that I am still considered to be one of the prisoners of the famous July 1999 student demonstrations.
Long Live Iran
Behrouz Javid Tehrani
Please write to me at:
Karaj, Zendane Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht), Andarzgah 2, Salone 5 Faree
The move is part of an unusually fierce crackdown on what is known locally as bad hijab, or un-Islamic clothing, that this year is also targeting men.
Hair stylists have been warned that they could lose their licences if they do not comply.
However, police have denied a report that they have ordered barbers not to serve customers wearing ties.
Police say that as well as avoiding Western hairstyles and make up, barbers should not pluck customers' eyebrows
(AFP) - Iran on Monday warned tourists and other foreigners visiting the country to obey its Islamic dress code in line with a nationwide crackdown against slack dressing, the ISNA news agency reported.
By MICHAEL LUO
Published: May 1, 2007
A Halliburton executive, facing withering criticism from Democratic lawmakers during a Senate hearing on Monday about the company’s business dealings in Iran, insisted that the firm had not broken any laws.
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who has helped lead the investigation into the company’s work in Iran, said Halliburton effectively financed terrorism by doing business there.
By Bill Brubaker
Washington Post Staff Writer
President Bush today raised the likelihood that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will send a rare, direct message to senior Iranian officials later this week: Suspend the nation's uranium-enrichment program, which the United States believes is being used to develop nuclear weapons, or face isolation.
VIENNA, Austria - Iran objected Monday to language in a document reaffirming the need for full compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a move that diplomats said could torpedo a conference aimed at strengthening the accord.