Dear Friends,

I wish you all a very happy new year, full of health, happiness and success. I hope this will the year for the overthrow of the Islamic Regime by the Iranian people, and that we will celebrate 2012 in a free and democratic Iran.

While we are celebrating the New Year with our family, friends and loved ones let’s remember those who are no longer with us to celebrate the new year including Ali Saremi, Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alamhooli, Akbar Siadat, Farhad Vakili, Hassan Hekmat Demir, Ehsan Fatahiyan, Fasih Yasamini, Ali Heydariyan and hundreds of other freedom fighters who were murdered by the Islamic Regime in the past year.

Also let’s take a moment to remember their families, all political prisoners in Iran and elsewhere in the world, and their families who must enter the new year away from their loved ones.

In hopes of a wonderful new year for all.

Happy 2011


On Saturday December 25th 2010 I attended a protest in Toronto which was organized by the Committee for Defence of Political Prisoners in Iran, to protest against the death sentence of a Kurdish student activist Habibollah Latifi who was scheduled to be executed on Sunday December 26th by the Islamic Regime in Iran.

After about 10 minutes of listening to slogans that were being chanted by a woman who had taken upon herself to lead the slogan chanting, I left the protest in disgust. Given that we are dealing with a Regime that has systematically arrested, tortured, raped and executed its opponents for the past 31 years it seemed absurd to use such slogans as “We ask the Islamic Regime to free political prisoners, or to stop the execution of Habibollah Latifi.” There were no slogans what so ever advocating a change of government or change of system, it almost seemed like they were staying away from these types of slogans on purpose.

This protest got me thinking about an important issue, what should our slogans be during demonstrations against the Islamic Regime?

On December 10th 2010 a number of activists gathered in front of the Islamic Regime Embassy in Germany and protested against the violations of the human rights committed by the Islamic Regime. The protestors carried many banners with various slogans, including the slogan “ Sarnegun bad Jomhuriye Islami” roughly translated to “Islamic Regime must be overthrown”. Embassy workers complained to the police about this specific slogan which they had found offensive and asked the police to force the protestors to remove this slogans. The police intervened and tried to forcefully remove the banner, and a struggle ensued between the protestors and the police which can be seen in this video. What was most interesting about this was the fact that the ONLY slogan the Regime agents were concerned about and afraid of was the one related to the overthrow of the Islamic Regime!

After the June 2009 [s]election millions of Iranians took to the streets and the most prominent and wide spread slogan used by the Iranians became “Independence, freedom, IRANIAN Republic.” This was a clear message to the Regime that Iranians no longer wanted an Islamic Regime and an Islamic Republic. The Regime felt so threatened by this slogan that even the so called opposition leader Mousavi came out and said people’s slogan must be “Islamic Republic, not one word more and not one word less.”


These are just two examples of effectiveness of clear anti-Regime slogans. Most of us have experienced at one time or another Regime lobbyists and reformists, disguised as activists trying to prevent activists from chanting anti-regime slogans during protests and instead encouraging either “silent protests” or protests with neutral slogans which do not attack the Regime directly.

On Tuesday morning Ali Saremi, an Iranian activist was executed by the Regime. Mr. Saremi was a long term activist who had spent more than 20 years of his life in Islamic Regime prisons before being executed. He was not fighting for reform, he was not fighting for human rights alone, he was fighting to change the Regime.

Habibollah Latifi, the young Kurdish student activist has been in prison for three years, way before the 2009 [s]elections and way before the concept of Mousavi’s reform became an issue in Iran. Again these are only two examples among thousands in Iran.

Is it not our job and duty as activists living in free countries, to at the very least follow in the path of these individuals and promote and demand total and absolute change of government, which is the only way to help stop arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and executions in Iran? What is the point of organizing a protest in honour of Mr. Saberi for example, but not shouting the slogans he lived and died for?

In the past year we’ve seen the increase in arrests, torture and execution of activists in Iran. This is the time of rape, torture and execution in Iran. This is NOT the time to be politically correct or a time to appease Regime lobbyists and reformists disguised as activists.

This is the time to be firm, to know where we have to stand in order to be effective and make a difference, and to stand firm on that path. This is the time for slogans that demand total and complete change of government. Nothing less is acceptable.

Down with the Islamic Regime
Long Live Freedom in Iran


According to news report from Abdullah Mohtadi the secretary general of the Komale Party OF Iranain Kurdistan the arrests in Kurdistan continues and at least 31 activists have been arrested.

The lives of these individuals may very well be in danger and it is believed that the Regime is preparing for a wave of false televised confessions obtained under torture, long prison terms and execution for Kurdish activists.

According to other news from Sne News a Kurdish student activit Dalir Eskandari who was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Kurdistan this morning has not been heard of since.

Furthermore three members of Mr. Habibollah Latifi’s family his father and two sisters have been released from custody.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Sources:
Abdullah Mohtadi

Sne News


According to news reports from “Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran” Mr. Ali Saremi (63) a political prisoner was executed this morning (Tehran time) in the notorious Evin Prison.

Mr. Saremi had spent more than 20 years in Islamic Regime prisons, subjected to brutal torture and solitary confinement for months after each arrest after which he was sentenced to long prison terms. Throughout the arrests, torture, solitary confinement and imprisonment he never gave up on his ideals and beliefs and continued to fight against the Regime.

He was last arrested in 2007 for participating and giving a speech in the 19th memorial of the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. After three years of pre-trial custody he was sentenced to death.

According to further news from “Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran” the family of Mr. Saremi including his wife and daughter along with tens of activists had gathered n front of the Evin Prison from the night before demanding to see him, however they were not given permission. After the execution was carried out Mr. Saremi’s family and activists started protesting against the Regime, which resulted in the arrest of large number of the protestors including: Ms. Mahin Saremi and Ms. Pouya Saremi (Mr. Saremi’s wife and daughter) Ms. Mahbube Mansour, Mr. Hadi Mansouri and Mr. Akbar Sanjari as well as many unidentified protestors.

Despite the arrests and threats by the security forces there is still a large number of people who have gathered in front of the Evin Prison.

Another political prisoner Mr. Akbar Siadat who had been charged with “spying for Israel” was also executed at the Evin Prison yesterday.

My condolences go out to the families and friends of Mr. Saremi and Mr. Siadat as well as to the Iranian nation who has lost two brave men at the hands of the Islamic Regime.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Source: Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran


At least 20 Kurdish activists including Habibollah Latifi’s family members have been arrested in the last day by security forces in Sanandaj.

Last Night 20 Kurdish activists were arrested in the city of Sanandaj and were taken to unknown locations. Those arrested include: Mr. Pedram Nasrollahi, Mr. Hashem Rostami, Mr. Zahed Mradiyan, Mr. Mahmood Mahmoodi, Mr. Saeed Saedi, Mr. Hamid Malek Alklami, Ms. Simin Chayichi, Mr. Vahed Majidi, Mr. Jian Zafari, Mr. Abbas Latifi, father of Habibollah Latifi, Three of Habibollah's brothers, Three of Habibollah's sisters, the wife of Habib’s brother and five other activists, at least one of them a woman. Also there is news that Mr. Mokhtar Zarei a student activist has also disappeared.

According to reliable news coming from Iran close to 50 security forces attacked the residence of Habibollah Latifi’s family and by using force and pepper spray arrested Mr. Latifi’s family members and other activists who were present in their home at the time. The only family member that was not arrested was Mr. Latifi’s 10 year old sister Bahareh.

Further according to Sene News, Afshin Sheykhol-Eslami, Yahya Ghavami two former political prisoners and Hiva Masoudi have “disappeared.”

According to news from Campaign in Support of Political and Social Prisoners the internet in the city of Sanandaj and surrounding cities has slowed down to the point where it is impossible so send any files through email. Security forces can be seen all around the city of Sanandaj in order to stop any further protests, however activists have still gathered in front of the Court and the Sanandaj Prison demanding to obtain information about those recently arrested.

It is clear from this recent wave of arrests in Sanandaj that the Regime is once again trying create an atmosphere of fear and terror among Kurdish activists in response to the large protest in support of Habibollah Latifi in front of the Sanandaj Prison Saturday night.

Habibollah Latifi a 29 year old Kurdish student and activist was scheduled to be executed early Sunday morning because of his political views and activities. Along with wide spread international campaigns, the brave people of Sanandaj were able to prevent the Regime from carrying out the execution by gathering in large numbers in front of the Central Sanandaj Prison and protesting.

It must be noted that although the execution of Habibollah Latifi was not carried out Sunday morning, the death sentence is still in effect and can be carried out at any moment.

Now there is further concern for the safety and well being of Mr. Latifi’s family and all other activists who have been arrested in the past day.

I urge all human rights organizations, activists and international organizations to continue the campaign to save Mr. Latifi and support his family and other Kurdish activists who have been recently arrested.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Sources:

http://www.snanews4.blogfa.com/
http://parsdailynews.com/76470.htm
http://kampain89.blogfa.com/post-71.aspx


Last night, the security forces raided the house of death row Kurdish political prisoner Habibollah Latifi and detained 8 of his family members On Sunday night, the security forces raided the house of Habibollah Latifi and detained his family after searching the house. His 3 sisters, 3 brothers, father and sister in law are among the detainees.

There has been no information as to the reason for the arrests but there are concerns since the arrests have taken place after the execution was halted.

The execution which was opposed by many activists was not carried out yesterday after the sit-in of his family and a group of people next to prison.

The head of the prison had told his family that they would be able to visit him upon the resume of office hours.

Habibollah Latifi was arrested on October 21, 2007 and was tortured for four months in solitary confinement. On June 30, 2008, has was sentenced to death during a short court session which was held at the first branch of the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court presided by Judje Hasan Babai in the absence of any family members.

He was convicted of crimes against national security and Moharebeh (waging war against God) based on Verse 33 of Maedeh (Quaran), first, third, and fifth chapter of the Imam Khomeini’s book (Tahrirol masael) as well as codes 183, 186, 190 and 191of Islamic penal code.

Following his objection to the unlawful verdict, on January 29, 2009, the sentence was upheld by the appeals court. After the transfer of this case to the Supreme Court, the sentence was once again upheld on April 5, 2009 and he is currently being held at Sanandaj prison.


Source: RAHANA


Three days of national and international campaign ended with a great victory tonight when we all received the news that the execution of Habibollah Latifi, a young Kurdish Iranian activist was not carried out as scheduled by the Islamic Regime.

According to news from various human rights activists in Iran, hundreds of activists, and families of political prisoners joined the Latifi family in front of the central Sanandaj Prison, and protested against the execution of Mr. Latifi.

While there was also a strong international campaign in support of Mr. Latifi, I strongly believe that it was the presence of brave people of Sanandaj in front of the prison that forced the Regime to back down and not carry out the execution.

This has been a great victory for us all, and although we should all take a moment to enjoy and celebrate our victory, let us not forget the fact that the death sentence for Mr. Latifi is still in effect and can be carried out at any time. Let us also remember that at least 16 other Kurdish activists are currently awaiting execution, and so the campaigns need to continue.

Let us also remember that while the execution of Mr. Latifi has been temporarily halted, there is only one way to make sure Habib’s are not executed for their political beliefs, the only way is total and complete Regime change. Tonight people of Sanandaj gave a clear example that they have the power to force the Regime to back down, this is a great sign of hope for all of us. I hope this movement that started tonight in Sanandaj will continue and spread to other cities in Iran. That is the only way to permanently stop the Regime from committing its atrocities.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and encourage everyone to take a moment to celebrate our victory, then we can go back to working hard and making sure there are many more victories such as this one.

My thoughts are with Habib and his family tonight.

Down With the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran


Today a number of activists in Toronto gathered at the Mel Lastman Square in solidarity with Habibollah Laitif, a Kurdish Iranian activist who is set to be executed Sunday morning Iran time, in the central Sanandaj Prison. Habibollah is a 29 year old activist who was sentenced to death after an unfair "trial" and after being subjected to brutal torture for months, in order to force a false confession from him.

According to news from Iran currently activists have gathered in front of the Central Sanandaj Prison in Iran, protesting against the execution of Mr. Latifi.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran

Long Live Freedom in Iran


I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays. While we are celebrating this joyous time of the year with our family, friends and loved ones, please let’s remember those who are less fortunate both in Canada and other countries.

Let’s keep Habibollah Latifi, a young Kurdish activist who is set to be executed Sunday morning Iran time for his political beliefs and activities in our hearts and minds. Perhaps we may not be able to stop the execution, but we must try. In the face of this injustice we must try to become part of the solution rather than staying silent and remaining part of the problem.

Today I keep in my mind and heart all political prisoners and their families, families of those who have lost their loved ones at the hands of the Islamic Regime and of course Habibollah Latifi.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Down with the Islamic Regime
Long Live Freedom in Iran


According to news received from Habbibolah Latifi’s lawyer Mr. Nikbakht, Mr. Latifi is set to be executed on Sunday December 26th 2010 in Sanandaj Prison, in Iran.

Habibollah Latifi is a 29 years old Kurdish activist who was majoring in engineering in Eylam University when he was arrested on October 23rd 2007 in the city of Sanandaj. Mr. Latifi was charged with “endangering state security” and was brutally tortured in order to force a confession from him. Eight months after his arrest he was sentenced to death by the “Revolutionary Court” in the city of Sanandaj and the death sentence was upheld by the “Court of Appeal” in Sanandaj in February of 2009. Mr. Latifi’s full biography can be found here.

The Islamic Regime in Iran has shown in the past year that it will not hesitate in executing political activist and has in fact, since November of 2009, executed at least 7 Kurdish political activists, including Ehsan Fatahiyan, Fasih Yasamini, Farzad Kamangar, Farhad Vakili, Hassan Hekmat Demir, Ali Heydariyan and Ms. Shirin Alamhooli.

The Danger to Mr. Latifi’s life is imminent and we may only have a few days to raise our voice against yet another atrocity which will be committed by the Islamic Regime. I am urging all human rights activist, human rights organizations and the governments of democratic countries to raise their voice against this injustice and help save the life of Mr. Latifi whose crime is standing up and fighting against injustice.

Being Christmas season I appreciate that disseminating this news and taking action will be more difficult however I urge everyone to please help save the life of this young man.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

IRAN: TIME FOR REGIME CHANGE
For the world and the Iranians themselves, it is the only solution



The world has known for some time that Iran is committed to acquiring nuclear weapons, despite the fact that this is an illegal pursuit according to international law. This combined with Ali Akbar Salehi, the regime’s atomic chief’s recent announcement that Iran has produced a first batch of yellowcake uranium and is self sufficient in the entire nuclear field cycle, should be of great concern to the international community.

The Islamic Regime in Iran has been a threat to the stability of the Middle East for years, in particular with its financial support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This threat has been further expanded by Ahmadinejads’ denial of the Holocaust, his statement that” Israel should be wiped off the world map” as well as the regime’s strong influence in certain parts of Iraq. One can only imagine how a nuclear Iran would pose a serious threat not only to an already unstable Middle East, but also to Europe and the West, including Canada.

The recent revelations by WikiLeaks have confirmed what many of us suspected: Iran's very own neighbors, the Arab States, have pointed the finger at Iran - not Israel, contrary to what so many so-called experts have been telling us - as their main threat and worry. They are right to do so.

While the international community should be seriously concerned about and focus on the nuclear issue, this should not be at the expense of the grave human rights violations in Iran.

For the past 31 years the regime has silenced the voices of opposition by using brutal force, by arbitrarily arresting dissidents, torturing, raping and executing them. The systematic human rights violations in Iran are not only geared towards dissidents, but also towards all religious and ethnic minorities, women, students, workers, journalists, lawyers and teachers to name a few groups.

Another group of individuals who are targeted are homosexual. Persecution of homosexuals in Iran came to light in July of 2005 when two young men aged 16 and 18 were executed in the city of Mashad on charges of homosexuality, and that persecution continues today.

The medieval practice of stoning is still being practiced by the Islamic Regime and there are currently tens of women who are facing execution by stoning in Iran. Sakineh Ashtiani is one of these women, who became well known after an international campaign to halt her execution received worldwide attention.

The human rights violations committed by the Regime have also reached Iranian/Canadians who choose to visit Iran. In 2003 Zahra Kazemi, a freelance photographer was arrested in front of the notorious Evin Prison while taking pictures of the families of political prisoners who had gathered in front of the prison. Ms. Kazemi was tortured and raped in prison, and died in custody as a result of injuries she had sustained during torture.

Most recently Saeed Malekpour an Iranian born Canadian resident was sentenced to death on charges of taking action against national security by designing and moderating adult content websites," as well as "agitation against the regime" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam." In an open letter to prison officials Mr. Malekpour stated that he had been tortured in order to make false confessions. This is not out of ordinary as prisoners in Iran are systematically tortured to make false confessions or/and to create an atmosphere of fear and terror to prevent further dissent against the government.


While the regime has been committing gross human rights violations against the Iranian people for the past 31 years, the international community was finally able to see the extent of these violations and the brutality of the regime in the aftermath of the June 2009 [s]elections.

The dissent against the regime is growing on the home front as is the concern of the international community over the nuclear issues. There is only one viable solution to the danger posed by the regime in Iran, the overthrow of the Islamic Regime by the Iranian people and the implementation of a secular and democratic government elected by the people.

Canada has already shown a leadership role when it comes to both the human rights and the nuclear issue in Iran, and can continue to be a great force in helping the Iranian people achieve their goal for a free, secular and democratic Iran. Canada has condemned human rights violations committed by the regime on an international level, as well as actively promoting and supporting smart sanctions against the regime including oil sanctions.

Canada needs to continue to symbolically support the pro-democracy movement in Iran by condemning all human right violations committed by the regime on the international level. It also should push and petition for smart sanctions, particularly oil sanctions which will have a crippling effect on the Regime.

Oil sanctions imposed by the international community will serve to cut off approximately 85% of the regime’s revenue; this along with the growing dissent at home can be a realistic and viable way for the removal of the threat of the Islamic Regime from the Middle East.

Iran is a great country, heir to a great civilization. It has so much to offer to Iranians themselves and to the world. Close to 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of 30, smart, educated, worldly, open and forward-looking - everything their Islamist leaders are not. Iranians deserve better than the ayatollahs repressing them now. As Canadians, it is our duty to help them in any way we can.

Down with Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Sayeh Hassan
Barrister & Solicitor

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