Archive for March, 2009

Comedians Stand Up for the Bahá’is in Iran.

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The world of comedy showed it’s face of courage and integrity as it made
a statement of concern for the rights of the Bahá’is in Iran. This statement which was
published in the Times Online was signed by fifteen top comedians from the UK circuit.

Sir, We are deeply concerned at the continuing imprisonment for more than eight months of seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. No formal evidence has been brought against them.

They have not been given access to their legal counsel, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. She has had no access to their files and has suffered threats and intimidation since taking on their case.

Spurious charges now look likely to be filed against these Baha’is in the Revolutionary Court. “Espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic” are their alleged crimes.

In reality, their only “crime”, which the current regime finds intolerable, is that they hold a religious belief that is different from the majority.

As artists who strive to uplift the human spirit and enrich society through our work, we register our solidarity with all those in Iran who are being persecuted for promoting the best development of society — be it through the arts and media, the promotion of education, social and economic development, or adherence to moral principles.

Further, we join with the governments, human rights organisations and people of goodwill throughout the world who have so far raised their voices calling for a fair trial, if not the complete release of the Baha’i leaders in Iran.

David Baddiel

Bill Bailey

Morwenna Banks

Sanjeev Bhasker

Jo Brand

Russell Brand

Rob Brydon

Jimmy Carr

Jack Dee

Omid Djalili

Sean Lock

Lee Mack

Alexei Sayle

Meera Syal

Mark Thomas

Source http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5804284.ece

The Rocky Road to Moral Victory Fought by Iranian Women in the Last Thirty Years

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

This is a report by Elaheh Amani for Women News Network – WNN.

On the 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, a new and innovative opportunity to address the status of democracy in Iran may be secretly on the mind of many Iranian citizens. Many who participated in Iran’s revolution 30 yrs ago had high hopes for freedom and independence, dignity and rights. But the hopes and aspirations of Iranian women were shadowed by despair in the early months of the new Islamic Republic.

Thirty years ago, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the first female judge in Iranian history, was removed from her post when religious authorities in Iran declared that all women serving in the country as judges were “unfit” to perform their duties. She was then immediately demoted to a position as administrative clerk in the courtroom where she once presided. Dr. Ebadi was hit then by the inequities of women’s rights and inequality in Iran, but she did not let that stop her.

During a time marked by political and religious upheaval, Shirin Ebadi found her path and continued her journey by becoming a human rights advocate and attorney serving the public as she helped those who looked to her to provide counsel on the interpretation of rights under Iranian law.

In 2003, Dr. Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize, “for her efforts for democracy and human rights” as she “focused on the struggle for the rights of women and children.” Almost six years later, in Feb 2009, the struggle to defend human rights in Iran continues.

Read the complete article