Archive for May, 2009

The Martin Ennals Award 2009 goes again to a Human Rights Defender from Iran

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Today the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) announces as the 2009 Laureate

Emad Baghi, a leading Iranian human rights defender based in Tehran. He founded the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, and has been a vigorous and outspoken opponent of the death penalty in Iran. His campaigning includes a scholarly examination of Islamic law (shari`a) on the subject, in which he demonstrates the absence of any doctrinal requirement for maintaining capital punishment. In addition, Baghi’s inventory of death row prisoners in Iran, including juvenile offenders, has been an important resource for UN human rights bodies as well as human rights groups outside the country. Baghi has spent four years in prison over the past decade for his campaigning against the death penalty and other rights activities. Currently out of jail, he still faces charges relating to his work for the defense of prisoners rights. Baghi suffers from serious heart and kidney ailments; in August 2008 prison physicians declared his condition critical.

The Chairman of the Jury of the MEA, Hans Thoolen, describes the laureate as “an exceptionally brave man defending human rights despite imprisonment and poor health”.

The Ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award will take place in Geneva in November 2009.

MEA: the main award of the human rights movement. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS. Previous laureates : Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Uzbekistan (2008); Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Burundi and Rajan Hoole-Kopalasingham Sritharan, Sri Lanka; Akbar Ganji, Iran and Arnold Tsunga, Zimbabwe; Aktham Naisse, Syria; Lida Yusupova, Russia; Alirio Uribe Muñoz, Colombia; Jacqueline Moudeina, Chad; Peace Brigades International; Immaculée Birhaheka, DR Congo; Natasha Kandic, Yugoslavia; Eyad El Sarraj, Palestine; Samuel Ruiz, Mexico; Clement Nwankwo, Nigeria; Asma Jahangir, Pakistan; Harry Wu, China.

Patrons of the Martin Ennals Award: Asma Jahangir, Barbara Hendricks, José Ramos-Horta, Adama Dieng, Leandro Despouy, Louise Arbour, Robert Fulghum, Theo van Boven and Werner Lottje.

The rights of Iran’s women

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-rights-of-irans-women



A feminist initiative in Iran is seeking to ensure that awareness of women’s rights is on the agenda of the presidential election, says Nazenin Ansari.

You want our support? Support our bill of rights!” In the official political manoeuvrings around the Islamic Republic of Iran’s presidential elections to be held in June 2009, issues of women’s rights are increasingly taking centre-stage. A series of events highlights the trend.

The Guardian Council – the body that monitors and decides on the candidates allowed to stand in the election – made a ruling in April 2009 that opened the doors for women to run for the presidency; this cast down an earlier ruling that “women lack the intellectual capacity and understanding” to be candidates.

Moreover, Zahra Rahnavard – the wife of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi – is playing an increasingly prominent role in her husband’s campaign. As a result, a more progressive and forward-looking discourse on the issue of the status of women in Iran is emerging. At the same time, the parameters of the Islamic Republic’s constitution and the confines of the country’s patriarchal and sharia-derived legal code – significantly depart from international human-rights norms – limit the further development of this process.

The Iranian feminist movement, in seeking to circumvent these restrictions and sustain momentum, is now demanding a “bill of rights” for Iranian women. It has forged a broad coalition of women’s groups and feminist activists that will hold collective and peaceful actions urging presidential candidates to commit to two actions:

* actively pursue the unconditional ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw)

* advocate the elimination of discriminatory laws against women enshrined in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

HRA report on human rights abuses of Baha’is in Ordibehest

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://hra-iran.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1127:-1388&catid=84:502&Itemid=219

گزارش ذیل دربردارنده مجموعه وقایع و موارد نقض گسترده حقوق شهروندان بهایی در اردیبهشت ماه سال جاری است.

یک اردیبهشت :صبح این روز آقای میشل اسماعیل پور از شهروندان بهایی تنكابن كه منزلش در پایان سال گذشته مورد بازرسی نیروهای اطلاعاتی قرار گرفته بود ، به ستاد خبری اطلاعات شهر مزبور احضار وپس از بازجویی بازداشت شد . مسئولین مربوطه به خانواده آقای اسماعیل پور گفته اند كه بدلیل عدم همكاری نامبرده ، ایشان را به اطلاعات ساری منتقل كرده اند .

– طبق اخبار واصله ، طی هفته های اخیر شهرام چینیان میاندوآب شهروند بهایی ساکن حسن آباد بدلیل توهین به مقدسات اسلام ، به زندان افتاده است ماجرا از این قرار بوده كه اختلافی بین خانواده این فرد با همسایه اش رخ می دهد كه حكم دادگاه به نفع ایشان صادر می شود ولی همسایه مزبور برای فرار از حكم دادگاه از آقای چینیان به عنوان بهایی شكایت میكند كه موجب بازداشت آقای چینیان می شود.آقای چینیان هم اکنون در زندان اوین به سر می برد.

دو اردیبهشت : جلایر وحدت زندانی بهایی شهرستان مشهد كه در بهمن ماه سال گذشته دستگیر شده بود در این روز اولین ملاقات خود را پس از نزدیك به سه ماه انفرادی با مادر و خاله خود انجام داد . دیگر زندانی این شهرستان سیما اشراقی نام دارد كه تا این تاریخ چندین بار موفق به ملاقات با خانواده خود شده بود.

سه اردیبهشت : فروشگاه پوشاك آقای سیامك ابراهیمی نیا لاك ومهر شد، شایان ذكر است آقای ابراهیمی نیا از سال گذشته به اتهام ” تدارك فعالیت های فرقه بهائیت ” به 2 سال تبعید در زابل محكوم شده است .
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Right to Education:Isfahan

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://hrairan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1123:3467&catid=160:6954&Itemid=376


کمیته ی حق تحصیل مجموعه فعالان حقوق بشر در ایران، در ادامه ی پی گیری مطالبات خود با بهره گیری از فضای انتخاباتی در سخنرانی میر حسین موسوی شرکت کرد و از آنجا که حق سوال فقط در انحصار نمایندگان مخصوصی قرار داشت یکی از عمده ترین مطالبات خود را که همانا تحقق حق تحصیل برای هزاران جوان بهایی ایرانی است با درج و استفاده از پلاکارد توسط شاخه اصفهان این تشکل بیان نمود.

این برنامه در دانشگاه اصفهان از ساعت 10 صبح آغاز و تا ساعت 12 ادامه یافت. گفتنی است پلاکاردهایی که مطالبات اعضای کمیته روی آنها نوشته شده بود توسط نیروهای لباس شخصی مورد حمله قرار گرفت و به وسیله ی آنها پاره شد.

تلاش برای بیان خواسته های قانونی و برخوردهای صورت گرفته در این نشست هیچگونه واکنشی از سوی کاندیدای مذکور را در پی نداشت.

Haleh Rouhi shares her feelings about her imprisonment in Shiraz.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://bahais-of-iran.blogspot.com/


من هاله روحی ، یک زندانی هستم بنده با نیّتی خالص ، برای کمک به تعداد محدودی ، به مدت یک سال به منطقۀ سهل آبادِ شیراز می رفتم که شاید بتوانم دلی را شاد و خاطری را آرام و ناتوانی را دستگیر باشم.در یکی از روزهایی که از آن محلّه به منزل بر می گشتم بنده را دستگیر کردند٠

بااینکه آنروز در ماشین تنها بودم ، زمانی که از آنها خواستم حکم بازداشتم را نشانم دهند با تندی و خشونت و بدون اینکه حکمی نشان دهند ، مرا با خود بردند٠

در همان روزِ دستگیری تعدادی مأمور به منزل ما رفته و در حالی که مادرم در منزل تنها بودند، وارد منزل شده و کلیۀ وسایل شخصی ام را همراه با تمام فیلمهای خانوادگی ما را با خود بردند و تا امروز هیچ یک را تحویل نداده اند ! ٢٨ روز مرا در بازداشتگاه اطلاعات بازجویی کردند و در تمام این مدّت بنده واضحاً و در نهایت صداقت در مورد فعالیتِ انجام شده توضیح می دادم٠

در جلسات دادگاه نیز تمام موارد را صریحاً به اطّلاع قاضی محترم پرونده رساندم. پس از اتمام سؤال و جوابها در دادگاه و در مدت بازجویی ، دادگاه حکمی مبنی بر محکومیت اینجانب به ٤ سال حبس تعزیری صادر نمود! با ناباوری از حکم صادره ، درخواست تجدید نظر دادم و منتظر که ، در آبانماه ١٣٨٦ در یک تماس تلفنی از من خواسته شد به ادارۀ اطّلاعات شیراز بروم و پس از ورود ، بنده را به یک سلول بردند و دو روز بعد از آن گفتند که شما برای اجرای حکم اینجا هستید و باید ٤ سال را در اینجا بمانید٠

امروز ١٨ ماه از آن تاریخ می گذرد ؛ در این ١٨ ماه : مرا از ارتباط با افراد دیگر و زندگی اجتماعی که یکی از حقوق زندانی می باشد محروم کرده اند٠

در هفته فقط یک ملاقات ٥ دقیقه ای با خانواده ام دارم و از ارتباط تلفنیِ مرتب و دائم محروم بوده ام ، در حالی که این ارتباطها در طول هفته از حقوق یک زندانی است. در ٨ ماهِ اوّل از داشتن حق کتاب نیز محروم بودم. مرخّصی که از حقوق اصلیِ زندانی است و بایستی هر زندانی پس از هر ٢٥ روز زندان ٥ روز مرخّصی داشته باشد، برای من و خانواده ام به معضلی تبدیل شده است٠

ادارۀ اطلاعات و دستگاه قضایی برای هر مرخّصی که به ما می دهند، مدتها خانواده ام را مجبور به دوندگی های بی ثمر در ادارات کرده و فاصلۀ بین مرخّصی ها ٣ ماه ، ٤ ماه و گاهی بیشتر است. برای تمدید مرخّصی نیز بایستی زمان زیادی را در دادگاه هدر دهیم تا شاید بتوانیم 5 روز یا یک هفته مرخّصی را تمدید کنیم. یک زندانی باید در زندان باشد، امّا مرا در بازداشتگاهی که برای بازجوئی است نگه داشته اند٠

فضای بازداشتگاهی، فضائی بسته است ؛ غذای من را از پشت درب به من می دهند و اگر احتیاج به بیرون رفتن داشته باشم ، این امکان نیست و باید تمام روز را در اتاقی در بسته به سر برم و برای هر زمان خروج از محل ، باید چشم بند به چشمم باشد ! در طول روز فقط ١٠ تا ٢٠ دقیقه در فضائی محصور به نام هواخوری که سقف ندارد ، قدم می زنم و زمان آن را هم زندانبان تعیین می کند، گاهی ٨ صبح ، گاهی ١٢ ظهر و امکان طولانی شدنِ مدتِ هواخوری نیز نیست. آیا برای فردی که ٢٤ ساعت در اتاقی در بسته است ، ١٠ دقیقه فضای باز کفایت می کند؟٠

من امکان استفاده از تلفن را ندارم، در صورتیکه هر زندانی می تواند هر روز از تلفن استفاده کند. من تمام آنچه قبل از صدور حکم بوده را نادیده می گیرم. امروز اگر من یک زندانیم با من مثل یک زندانی رفتار کنید، اگر من یک زندانیم مرا به زندان ببرید، به من اجازۀ هواخوری بدهید. به من اجازۀ استفاده از تلفن ، ارتباط با افراد ، زندگی اجتماعی و … بدهید٠

اگر من زندانیم حقوق یک زندانی را در مورد من اجرا کنید. آیا زمانی که مرا به بازداشتگاه ( پلاک ١٠٠ ) بردید ،سازمان زندانها آنجا را جزء زندانهای خود می شناخت ؟! آیا سازمان زندانها شرایط آنجا را به عنوان زندان قبول دارد؟!٠

هالۀ روحی
پنجشنبه ٣١ ارديبهشت ١٣٨٨

ربودن یك شهروند بهایی

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://www.negah30.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1072&Itemid=24

باطلاع میرساند که در روز یکشنبه(27/2/1388) به منزل آقای شهرام حصیم(یکی از شهروندان بهایی ناحیه 5 تهران)تلفن زده شده وپیغامی به این مضمون بر روی منشی تلفن وی گذاشته میشود که:” از اداره ناجا(نیروی انتظامی جمهوری اسلامی ایران)با شما تماس میگیریم.فردا صبح (28/2/88)آقای شهرام حصیم خود را به این اداره واقع در خیابان وحدت اسلامی شعبه امور اقلیتها معرفی نماید.” اما از آنجا که پیغام تلفنی بوده است ایشان از رفتن به اداره مزبور خودداری می نماید.

روز بعد حدود ظهر با شماره تلفن همراه ایشان از اداره مذکور تماس گرفته و میگویند مگر پیغام ما را دریافت نکردی؟چرا مراجعه نکردی؟ آقای حصیم نیز دریافت پیام را تآیید مینماید اما اظهار میدارد ” از آنجا که پیام تلفنی بوده مراجعه نکردم.اگر ضرورتی به مراجعه بنده وجود دارد لازم است طبق قانون با حکم کتبی بنده را احضار فرمائید در اینصورت با کمال میل مراجعه خواهم کرد”.در پاسخ وی اظهار میدارند بسیار خوب ، پس منتظر وصول حکم جلب باشید.تا اینکه دو روز بعد یعنی چهارشنبه(30/2/88)صبح پس از خروج ایشان از منزل به قصد محل کار(با خودرو شخصی) دیگر به منزل برنگشته وتاکنون که دو روز گذشته از ایشان هیچ خبری دردست نیست.آخرین تماس تلفنی ایشان با همسرشان حدود ساعت 10 صبح چهارشنبه بوده است وپس از آن تلفن همراه ایشان نیز خاموش می باشد.همسر ایشان در طی 24 ساعت گذشته با اداره مزبور ، اداره آگاهی ، پلیس 110 و اداره اطلاعات تهران تماس گرفته اند كه هیچكدام از ارگانهای مذكور مسئولیت بازداشت این فرد را قبول نكرده و اظهار بی اطلاعی كرده اند.به این ترتیب مسئولین امورجهت جلب و دستگیری بهائیان از روش جدید “آدم ربائی” استفاده نموده وآزار و اذیت بهائیان وارد مرحله جدیدی گشته است و در این صورت معلوم نیست امنیت جانی بهائیان را چه مرجعی در ایران تآمین می کند.شایان ذکراست که ایشان هنگام خروج از منزل،لپ تاپ شخصی شان را

Authorities Pressure Father of Convert

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://iranianminorityshumanright.blogspot.com/2009/05/compass-direct-news-iran-authorities.html

Government trying to quell Christian son’s human rights activities.

LOS ANGELES, May 20 (Compass Direct News) – In an attempt to silence a Christian human rights activist living in England, Iranian authorities arrested and interrogated his Muslim father for six days before releasing him yesterday.

Abdul Zahra Vashahi, a retired 62-year-old suffering a heart condition, was arrested on Thursday (May 14) in Iran’s southwestern city of Bandar Mahshahr and interrogated about the human rights activities of his son, a Christian convert who has been living in England since 2003. His son, John (Reza) Vashahi, converted to Christianity while in England and in 2008 founded the Iranian Minorities Human Rights Organization (IMHRO).

In February the elder Vashahi had received a call from local authorities telling him that if his son didn’t stop his activities, they would arrest him instead.

While his father was in custody, authorities asked the elder Vashahi many questions about his son’s activities and had him fill out forms with detailed information about his extended family and friends.

“He is very tired, because the interrogations were very long,” his son told Compass. “All the questions were about me.”

The younger Vashahi said the Iranian government started putting increased pressure on his family, whom he has not seen in six years, since he founded IMHRO.

“It is a good example of harassment even outside the country,” Vashahi told Compass by telephone today. “It is just showing how far the government will go if we let them. Inside we can’t talk, and we come to Europe and still they want to silence us; it’s a very worrying sign.”

Vashahi, unlike his father, was involved in politics when he lived in Iran. His family belongs to Iran’s Arab-speaking community, the Ahwazi, most of whom live in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

He said that even when he was living there, police had come to his father’s workplace to ask him questions, but that after he fled the country six years ago, the pressure seemed to have stopped. It began anew when he became an outspoken Christian campaigning for the rights of minorities in Iran and especially with the establishment of IMHRO, he said.

The activist is an active member of Amnesty International, and through his own organization he publicizes Iran’s human rights violations of minorities, especially Christians. He has also started a blog called “Jesus for Arabs.”

Iran charges Ebadi’s aide with ‘propagating’

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ifmGucOYBn4Xy3lkSBGjAK7255Zw


TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran’s judiciary has charged an aide to Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi with “propagating” against the nation’s Islamic system, the official IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

“Narges Mohammadi has been charged with propagating against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s system,” the agency quoted Iranian judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi as saying.

Jamshidi confirmed reports that Mohammadi has been banned from travelling and said she is due to appear in court, though he did not say when.

On May 10 Ebadi’s rights group, the Human Rights Defenders Centre said on its website, that Mohammadi was barred from taking a trip to Guatemala to speak at a conference there on the role of women in democracy.

Mohammadi, deputy head of the centre, and another peace activist, Soraya Azizpanah, were stopped at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport as they were headed to Guatemala, the group said.

Friday’s IRNA report gave no details about Azizpanah.

The centre founded by five prominent human rights lawyers and headed by Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace laureate, has faced mounting pressure in recent months and its office was shut down in a police raid in December.

The centre’s former secretary Jinous Sobhani was detained for about two months for links with the banned Bahai faith and released on bail in March.

Group members are outspoken critics of the human rights situation in Iran.

Several Iranian human rights activists have been barred from leaving the country to participate in international conferences or to collect prizes in the past two years.

In March last year, Iran barred feminist and journalist Parvin Ardalan from leaving the country to receive the 2007 Olof Palme Prize in Stockholm which she had been awarded for her campaign for equal rights for women in Iran.

UK government renews call for release of detained Bahá’ís

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

source: http://bahainews-uk.info/2009/05/14/uk-government-renews-call-for-release-of-detained-bahais/

The United Kingdom government has reiterated its concern for seven Bahá’í leaders imprisoned in Iran on the first anniversary of their detention.

Foreign Office Minister of State Bill Rammell MP renewed calls on behalf of the UK government for the seven to be guaranteed a fair trial.

“A year ago today, 14 May 2008, six Iranian Bahá’ís; Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm were arrested,” said Mr Rammell. “Mrs Mahvash Sabet had been arrested in March of that year. The five men and two women made up an informal national committee, serving the needs of Iran’s 300,000 strong Baha’i community.”

“Despite being formally charged in February with spying for Israel, “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” – charges which could attract the death penalty – they are still awaiting trial,” said Mr Rammell.

Mr Rammell stated how the European Union has, on a number of occasions, expressed its deep concern for the wellbeing of the seven detainees, who have been denied access to legal counsel.

“I would like to reiterate these very genuine concerns today, and renew calls for the Iranian government to ensure that the lives and rights of these individuals are protected and that they are given a fair trial in accordance with international standard,” he said.

A letter to Fariba KamalAbady, one of the Seven Bahá’i Leaders, By her daughter

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

امروز یک سال میشه که پیشم نیستی و حالا من اومدم که یک سال درد و رنج رو بیان کنم، یک سال حرفای ناگفته، یک سال تنهایی، یک سال دوری از مادر!
پارسال همین روز بود که با زنگ تلفن از خواب بیدار شدم، تلفنی که بهم خبر داد که مأمورین اطلاعات توی خونتون هستن. تا بیام به خودم بجنبم و بفهمم که چیکار باید بکنم اساماس ترانه رسید: “مامان رو دارن میبرن، اگه میخوای ببینیش زود بیا!” آه که چه بر من گذشت! بعد از گذشت یک سال هنوز یادآوریش قلبم رو به درد میاره و اشکم سرازیر میشه.
سراسیمه به طرف خونتون راه افتادم، تمام راه نگرانیم این بود که نکنه دیر برسم و تو رو برده باشن! اونوقت دیگه کِی میتونم ببینمت؟
رسیدیم، دیوانه وار پله ها رو دو تا یکی طی کردم و وارد شدم. خدا رو شکر که هنوز بودی. مدتی پیشت بودم و بعد… داشتی میرفتی. با تمام وجود بغلت کردم، فشارت دادم، بوسیدمت و بهت گفتم که چقدر بهت افتخار میکنم. و تو رفتی… برای مدت نا معلوم! میدونستم حالا حالاها نمیای خونه ولی کِی فکرشو میکردم که یک سال طول بکشه؟!!
تو رفتی و من تنها شدم… با یک کوه درد و رنج! منی که این همه بهت وابسته بودم، منی که برای کوچکترین تصمیمی به مشورت با تو نیاز داشتم! کی میدونه توی این مدت بر من چی گذشت؟! حتی الان خودم هم از یادآوری درد و رنجی که کشیدم پشتم میلرزه.
منی که هر روز ولو ۱ دقیقه باهات صحبت میکردم ۸۰ روز تمام کوچکترین ارتباطی باهات نداشتم. و وقتی بعد از ۸۰ روز بهم زنگ زدی و من صدات رو نشناختم چقدر از خودم خجالت کشیدم! کلماتت کاملاً یادمه که گفتی: ” مادر جان منو نشناختی؟” و من لبریز از شادی، غم، هیجان و صدها احساس ضد و نقیض دیگه صدام از گلوم در نمی اومد.
خدایا توی این یک سال بر من چه گذشت! وقتی روز مادر همه راجع به کادویی که برای مامانشون خریده بودن حرف میزدن من به زور بغضم رو قورت دادم تا محکم باشم! همونجور که تو میخوای و تو هستی!
وقتی روز تولدت نتونستم بهت کادو بدم دلم رو با یاد تو خوش کردم.
وقتی که در نبود تو و به خاطر نبود تو بدترین روز زندگیم رو تجربه کردم، روزی که احساس کردم قلبم مچاله شده، راه افتادم تنهایی قدم زدم و گریه کردم و بهت اساماس دادم، اس ام اسی که میدونستم هیچ وقت به دستت نمیرسه: “مادر بی تو تنها و غریبم.”
آه که بر من چه گذشت! وقتی که توی این یک سال با بدترین مشکلات مواجه شدم و تو نبودی که کمکم کنی. وقتی که با دیدن هر کدوم از وسائلت و با یادآوری اینکه یک روزی تو این رو استفاده میکردی آه از نهادم بلند می شد!
چه گذشت بر من روزی که دیدم اونقدر لاغر شدی، لاغر و ضعیف! و وقتی دستت رو گرفتم توی دستم دیدم که از شدت ضعف میلرزه. چه تلاشی کردم تا تونستم جلوی خودم رو بگیرم و جلوی تو گریه نکنم.
بر من چه گذشت روزی که آخر ملاقات، از پشت کابین، وقتی پرده رو پائین می کشیدن سرت رو خم کردی که تا آخرین لحظه ما رو ببینی و برامون دست تکون بدی و لبخند بزنی. خدایا چقدر این فکر که شاید این آخرین تصویر در ذهن من از تو باشه من رو زجر داد.
وقتی روز تولدم بهم جورابی رو که از توی زندان خریده بودی- بهترین چیزی که اونجا می شد خرید- کادو دادی چقدر خوشحال و در این حال ناراحت شدم. چقدر محکم بغلش کردم و بوسیدمش و تصمیم گرفتم هیچوقت ازش استفاده نکنم. اون روز دائماً به یاد تولد پارسالم می افتادم که با وجود کمر دردی که داشتی برام تولد گرفته بودی، و قلبم با این فکرها به درد می اومد.
چقدر دیدن سبزهای که به ترانه کادو داده بودی خوشحالم میکرد. اون برام شده بود نماد تو. تنها که میشدم میرفتم بغلش میکردم، باهاش حرف میزدم، نوازشش میکردم، میبوسیدمش و احساس میکردم این تویی که روبروی منی. و چطور غم و درد تمام وجودم رو فرا گرفت وقتی دیدم اون سبزه داره پلاسیده میشه، و سراسیمه با یک روبان سبز شاخه هاش رو به هم بستم بلکه دوباره قوت بگیره، انگار که داشتم از تو مواظبت میکردم.
چه روزی بود وقتی توی عید رضوان بهم عیدی دادی و من احساس میکردم دنیا رو بهم دادن و با نهایت غرور عیدیم رو به دوستام نشون میدادم.
چه شبی بود اون شبی که خوابم نمی برد و ایمیلهایی که قبلاً برام فرستاده بودی رو میخوندم و اشک میریختم و چقدر دلم میخواست که دوباره یک ایمیل ازت دریافت کنم.
همهٔ اینها و صدها روز دیگه با خاطرات ریز و درشت و خوب و بد دیگه گذشت و خدا میدونه که توی این یک سال حتی یک بار هم نخواستم که اگه ارادهٔ او نیست برگردی خونه و همیشه این شعر رو زیر لب زمزمه کردم:
“من درد تو را ز دست آسان ندهم
دل بر نکنم ز دوست تا جان ندهم
از دوست به یادگار دردی دارم
کان درد به صد هزار درمان ندهم” (1)
این چیزی بود که توی این یک سال بر من گذشت، خدا میدونه بر تو چی گذشت…!!!

(1) مولوی

KHRP Welcomes International PEN Campaign in Support of Writers on Minority Rights in Iran

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Source:
15 May 2009
Press Release: For immediate release

KHRP Welcomes International PEN Campaign in Support of Writers on Minority Rights in Iran

KHRP welcomes a campaign launched by International PEN today to raise awareness of the plight of writers in Iran who speak out on the issue of minority rights.

Since President Ahmadinejad came to power in Iran in 2005, there has been a marked crackdown on those who criticise the political status quo. Members of minority communities have been particularly vulnerable, with Kurdish, Azeri and Arab writers targeted for calling for greater protection of their cultural and political rights. In the weeks leading up to presidential elections in June, International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee is campaigning to focus attention on such cases.

‘Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of an open, democratic society,’ said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yıldız. ‘We wholeheartedly support this campaign and call upon the government of Iran to abide by its obligations under international human rights law and respect the basic right of individuals from all sectors of society to freely voice peaceful opinions.’

KHRP has long sought to raise awareness of human rights violations committed against Kurdish and other writers in Iran, including arbitrary detention, torture and application of the death penalty. KHRP also liaises with UN human rights mechanisms to share information and to urge action in relation to individual cases of writers who face such abuses because of their work.

More information about ways of participating in the International PEN campaign – including lobbying the Iranian and other governments, and raising the issue of freedom of expression in Iran in your local press – can be obtained by emailing cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk

Journalist Roxana Saberi Not Ready to Tell Her Story Yet

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-05-15-voa8.cfm

American journalist Roxana Saberi has arrived in Austria to recuperate after spending four months in an Iranian prison.

The newly-freed journalist arrived in the Austrian capital, Vienna, early Friday on a flight from Tehran. She was accompanied by her parents.

Saberi told reporters at the airport that she plans to spend several days in Austria and then go to the United States. She said she is not yet ready to talk about her experience, but will do so in the near future, recounting her time in jail, and the events leading up to her detention.

The 32-year-old journalist, a dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in January while buying a bottle of wine, which is illegal in Iran. She was convicted last month of espionage.

After Saberi’s lawyer appealed the court’s decision, a judge reduced her sentence and freed her from prison on Monday.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Saberi said she had no immediate plans and just wants to relax with her family.

One of Saberi’s lawyers said the spy charges against her were based on documents she obtained on the U.S. war in Iraq.

The attorney, Saleh Nikbakht, said the journalist made copies of the confidential report, prepared by a strategic research center at the Iranian president’s office. He did not say how Saberi managed to obtain the documents, and said she never used the information.

Iran’s intelligence minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, maintained Wednesday that Saberi was guilty of spying, noting that her reduced sentence meant she had not been acquitted of all charges.

Iran: Free Baha’i Leaders

Friday, May 15th, 2009

source: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/14/iran-free-baha-i-leaders

(New York) – Iran should immediately free seven detained Baha’i community leaders, or bring them promptly to trial so they can defend themselves in fair and open proceedings against the serious charges against them, Human Rights Watch said today. Today is the one-year anniversary of the detention of six of them, while the seventh was detained earlier. None have had access to a lawyer.

The seven men and women have been charged with spying for Israel, “insulting religious sanctities,” and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic. In addition, prison officials at Evin prison in Tehran informed relatives visiting the detained men and women last week that they would also be charged with “spreading corruption on Earth” (mofsede fel arz), said Diane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community’s representative to the UN in Geneva. This offense is punishable by death under Iran’s Penal Code.

“These Baha’i leaders have been languishing in prison for a year now, with no access to their lawyers and no glimmer of a trial date,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These reported new charges only add to the fears for their lives under a government that systematically discriminates against Bahai’s.”

As with other religious communities throughout Iran, Baha’i observance is grounded in local community organizations. On May 14, 2008, six leaders of the national organization of Bahai’s – a group that operates in the absence of the normal Baha’i practice of having a National Spiritual Assembly – were arrested at their homes in Tehran. They are: Fariba Kamalabadi; Jamaloddin Khanjani; Afif Naeimi; Saeid Rezaie; Behrouz Tavakkoli; and Vahid Tizfahm. A seventh, Mahvash Sabet, the secretary of the national community organization, was arrested on May 5, 2008, in Mashhad, northeast Iran, after responding to a summons from the Ministry of Intelligence.

The Baha’i faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Baha’ullah in 19th-century Iran and has approximately 300,000 followers in Iran. The Iranian government considers Baha’is to be apostates from Islam. Today, Baha’is face discrimination in their pursuit of higher education and many areas of employment. In addition, the inclusion of Israel as a “holy place” in the Baha’i faith in 1868 has, since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, been used to fuel persistent accusations against Baha’is in Iran of spying for Israel, with which Iran has hostile relations.

BBC Persian report on the news conference at the BNC

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/tv/2008/12/000001_ptv_newshour.shtml

A bleak future for Baha’is

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Source: http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2009/05/roxana-saberi-baha-iran-tehran

Earlier this week, US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi was freed from prison in Iran after having her sentence for “spying” reduced. The charge, which she strongly denied, sparked international attention and calls for her release, which has now been widely welcomed.

But Ms Saberi leaves behind her many other inmates in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison whose “crimes” against the Iranian state are also open to question.

Thursday (14 May) marks the first anniversary of the arrest and detention of seven prominent members of the Baha’i faith, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.

The five men and two women made up an informal national committee, serving the needs of the country’s 300,000 strong Baha’i community in the absence of formal Baha’i institutions, which are outlawed. Their committee – which had operated with the full knowledge of the authorities – along with all local ad hoc Baha’i administrations – was disbanded in March this year in a gesture of good will from the peaceful and law-abiding Baha’is to their government.

In the one year since their incarceration, the seven detainees have faced no charges nor have they been allowed access to their legal counsel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr Shirin Ebadi. They have faced spurious accusations of “espionage for Israel”, and “insulting religious sanctities”.

Iran’s prosecutor-general, Ayatollah Dorri-Najafabadi, has asserted that there is evidence that the seven have been involved in “intelligence-gathering” and “infiltration”, thus more or less declaring their guilt before any trial date has been announced. The evidence he refers to has yet to be disclosed to the public or produced in a court of law.

In recent days, however, a report from the Baha’i’s UN office indicates that another charge is being levelled against the seven prisoners; that of “spreading corruption on earth.”

To the Western reader, such an accusation may seem to be a confusing or even nebulous basis for criminal charges. But in theocratic Iran it has a basis in the penal code and leaves the accused in an extremely vulnerable position.

The term, found in the Koran, has increasingly been used within Islamic legal practice to brand any undesirable “offender”: Muslims considered to be too lax in their practices; those who are considered socially evil, such as drug-traffickers and prostitutes; or those with whom the authorities have a fundamental theological disagreement, such as the Baha’is.

Vague as these charges may be, they still have the potential to lead the accused to the executioner.

The allegations against the Baha’is are as nonsensical as they are unjust. The accusations play to the fears of certain areas of the Iranian population about enemies – internal and external – conspiring to undermine the country.

Iran remains a state with a great sense of its own historic legacy and with a clear goal of attaining a mantle of regional leadership – of both moral, as well as political, dimensions.

For the seven Baha’is being held in the grim confines of their Evin cells, their best hope for release might lie in a public protest as widespread as the one that led to the freeing of Roxana Saberi.

Such an outcry may help Iran’s leaders to reflect that imprisoning and persecuting the innocent is not in their national interest.

Moojan Momen is an Iranian author and academic, and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic

Ayatollah Boroujerdi Goes On Hunger Strike In Yazd Prison

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Source: http://bameazadi-english.blogspot.com/2009/05/ayatollah-boroujerdi-has-gone-on-hanger.html

Human Rights Activists in Iran
According to the last reports received, Ayatollah Boroujerdi has gone on hunger strike since May 5, 2009 and the continuous efforts of his family in order to visit or have phone call with him have had no result.
Also after continued disseminations of his matters from prison, this opinion prisoner was transferred from general section of Yazd central prison to a confined cell moreover the governor and authorities of the Yazd central prison received notifications from judicial authorities and the prosecutor of the special court for clergy.
The relatives of this imprisoned clergy say that the reason of the authoritiess’ reaction is dissemination of his messages about public participation of the people in future elections, because protesting messages of Ayatollah Boroujerdi were immediately stopped after reflex of his audio message about presidential elections and dissemination of protesting letter to the Chairman of the Experts Assembly of the regime.
posted by Paydar

Report on the First Nationwide Forum on the Right to Education

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Source: http://hra-iran.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1016:575&catid=66:304&Itemid=293

Wednesday May 6, 2009
Report from Tehran

Following the diligent work of the Committee on the Right to Education for the Bahá’ís that works under the Human Rights Activists Association in Iran, two simultaneous forums were held in Tehran and Shiraz with the committee members and several guests present

This unprecedented forum was held today in Tehran. The pictures of student prisoners on display punctuated the importance of this meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Niloufar Mehrabi, who opened the session with remarks on the right to education and the importance of its implementation.

The first speaker, Mr. Abolfazl Abedini, the head of public relations of the Association, recounted the executive activities of the Association and the various functions of its committees. He specifically named publication of books, monthly newsletters, educational workshops, legal support for victims of violation of human rights, and an international presence and reporting on the issue of human rights as the most prominent activities of the Association. He also mentioned the burden of costs that has been imposed on the Association for its activities and noted that the resilience of the Association despite the costs demonstrates its resolve and commitment to the rule of law.

The second speaker, Mr. Hessam Missaghi, a member of the Committee on the Right to Education for the Bahá’ís, introduced his Committee, its history, and its mission statement. He stated that one of the missions of the committee is consolidating its activities in addressing the deprivation of large numbers of Bahá’í young men and women from the right to education. Mr. Missaghi further elucidated the need for unity amongst various student organizations and noted that the Committee he represents serves as a bridge between students whose right to education has been violated and human rights organizations. Another mission of the Committee, he continued, is collection of statistics on the students who are currently deprived of their right to higher education.

Mr. Missaghi, who has been deprived of higher education, requested other activists in the forum to continue to write articles on this matter and assist the committee with their active reporting and follow-up.

The next speaker was Dr. Nemat Ahmadi, attorney and university professor, who received an ovation from the crowd upon standing at the podium. Dr. Ahmadi began his remarks with an expression of disappointment as an educator to learn that there are students, who, on the basis of their religious affiliation, are deprived of access to education. He further continued that such course of action is in stark contrast to the Iranian Constitution. He noted that Article 9 of the Iranian Civil Law clearly states that the International Covenants to which Iran is a signatory must be observed. He also noted the third chapter of the Constitution with Articles 15 through 43 that point to individual rights and liberties and consider the right to education as universal. He recounted his memories that as a student he had been involved in significant activism and since the university was considered as an independent entity, his activities never led to his suspension or violation of his rights as a student.

He quoted an Islamic tradition stating, “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” He interpreted this statement that anyone who desires to obtain an education has the right to do so.

(more…)

Urgent: Stop Wednesday’s Execution of Two Juvenile Offenders

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Source: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/iran-stop-wednesday%E2%80%99s-execution-two-juvenile-offenders-20090505

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Press Release

Tuesday 05 May 2009

Iran: Stop Wednesday’s execution of two juvenile offenders

The Iranian authorities must halt the execution of two juvenile offenders due to be executed on Wednesday, five days after the execution of Delara Darabi who had been convicted of a crime she was alleged to have committed while still under 18, Amnesty International said today.

“The international consensus against executing child offenders reflects the widespread recognition that because of children’s immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation, their lives should never be written off – however heinous the crimes of which they are convicted,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “The scheduling of these executions, just days after the appalling execution of Delara Darabi, show that the Iranian authorities have total disregard for international law which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed under the age of 18.”

Juvenile offenders, Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti are both due to be executed on Wednesday 6 May at 4am local time in Evin prison. At least 135 other juvenile offenders are known to be on death row in Iran.
According to their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, Amir Khaleqi killed a man during a fight when he was drunk. Amir does not remember how the incident happened but was so remorseful that he turned himself into the police. He was 16 years old at the time. Amir was eventually convicted, despite the court taking into consideration that he was intoxicated, and a juvenile offender.

The Head of Judiciary granted a two-month stay of execution for Amir in February which has now expired and his execution is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Wednesday 6 May.

Safar Angooti was convicted of murder at age 17. According to the newspaper Etemad, in April 2008 Safar Angooti stabbed a rival suitor who was talking to a girl he liked and was sentenced to death. Safar claimed that he had killed the man but not intentionally.

According to reports, Mohammad Mostafaie was himself arrested this morning when he left a meeting with Judiciary Spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, in which he tried to get the executions halted. He was released after a few hours.

“There may still be time to save the lives of Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti who, like Delara, may be killed for crimes they allegedly committed when they were still minors,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

The organization urged the Iranian authorities to adopt new legislation that would ban, once and for all, the execution of juvenile offenders, including those convicted of murder (qesas). The compelling need for such legislation has recently been highlighted yet again by the execution of Delara Darabi, and the further prospect of two other young deaths.

Since January 2009 Iran has executed at least two people for crimes they were alleged to have committed while under 18. No other country has done so since 2007.

Amnesty International’s members are launching worldwide activities on Wednesday 6 May in front of Iranian embassies to protest the execution of Delara Darabi, hoping the publicity will stop tomorrow’s possible execution of Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti.

Secretary General Irene Khan will lay white lilies in front of the Iranian embassy in London to protest against the execution of Delara Darabi and other juvenile offenders in Iran.

For more information, please contact:

Nicole Choueiry, Middle East and North Africa Press Officer on +44 (0) 7831 640 170, or nchoueir@amnesty.org

Iran: Secret Execution of Juvenile Offender

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Source: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/01/iran-secret-execution-juvenile-offender

Delara Darabi

(New York) – Iran secretly hanged a juvenile offender early today despite a flawed trial, a stay of execution and an unequivocal international ban on such executions, Human Rights Watch said. Delara Darabi, 22, was executed for a killing that she was alleged to have committed when she was 17 years old.

The execution was carried out at Rasht Central Prison despite a two-month stay of execution in the case issued on April 19, 2009, by the head of the Judiciary. This is the second known execution of a juvenile offender in Iran this year. Iran leads all countries of the world in executing juvenile offenders.

“It appears that Iran’s head of Judiciary has no ability to control even his own judges,” said Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy director of the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. “This is an outrageous violation of Iranian as well as international human rights law, and a callous affront to basic human dignity.”

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – an international treaty to which Iran is a party – clearly bans the execution of offenders who committed a crime when under the age of 18. Since January 2005, only four other countries are known to have executed juvenile offenders: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

Neither Darabi’s lawyer nor her family were informed prior to the execution, despite the fact that Iranian law requires that authorities inform a prisoner’s lawyer at least 48 hours ahead of an execution.

The Iranian human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, who has been a leading advocate in Iran against imposing the death penalty on juvenile offenders, told Human Rights Watch that he spoke with Darabi’s parents after her execution. They had paid a routine visit to her in prison on Thursday, April 30. She told them at that time that a judicial official had informed her that an appeal would be granted in order for new evidence to be heard in her case.

Mostafaei said that at 7 a.m. on May 1, Darabi called her parents to say that she could see the hangman’s noose, pleading: “Mother they are going to execute me, please save me.” Speaking to her father, she said she wanted to see them, and added: “In the name of God please save me.” Mostafaei told Human Rights Watch that a prison official abruptly took the handset from Darabi’s hands and informed the parents: “We will easily execute your daughter and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Darabi’s parents rushed to the prison and begged to see their daughter. Officials rejected their pleas.

Iranian authorities may have ordered the secret execution in order to avoid the international outcry that occurred when Darabi was scheduled to be executed on or around April 20, Human Rights Watch said.

“Iran continues to deny that it executes juvenile offenders, but the secret nature of this execution demonstrates that the government knows that these killings are illegal and shameful in the eyes of the world,” Coursen-Neff said. “Iran urgently needs to change this policy, which isolates it from the rest of the world.”

Darabi had spent the last five years in prison for the alleged murder of her father’s cousin in September 2003. According to her lawyer, Samad Khorramshahi, her trial was marred by a lack of evidence of her guilt and repeated refusal by the court to accept evidence that could have exonerated her. Her plight had gained international attention, and exhibits of her prison art work attracted attention to Iran’s record of routine executions of juvenile offenders.

On January 21, Iran executed a 21-year-old Afghan citizen, Molla Gol Hassan, in Tehran’s Evin prison for a crime allegedly committed when he was 17 years old. According to figures available from human rights lawyers in Iran, at least 130 juvenile offenders are on death row in Iran.

During a telephone conversation today between Human Rights Watch and Khorramshahi, Darabi’s lawyer, Darabi’s mother could be heard crying and asking why this had happened to her daughter.

“This travesty of justice in Iran has taken the life of a woman who was not given a fair chance to defend herself,” Coursen-Neff said. “Those responsible didn’t even give Delara’s mother a chance to say goodbye to her daughter.”

Iran shells Iraqi Kurdistan village

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/middleeastCrisis/idUSL4126550

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, May 4 (Reuters) – Iran shelled a Kurdish village in a remote area of northern Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdistan region on Monday, causing damage to buildings but no casualties, the region’s border police said. Brigadier-General Ahmed Ghraib, head of the border police of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniya province, where the shelling took place, said the shells landed in a mountainous area bordering Iran.

On Saturday, Iran shelled Kurdish rebel positions in Iraqi Kurdistan and used helicopters to fire on them on the Iranian side of the border.

“Iranian shelling started at 11 a.m. (0800 GMT) until 1:15 p.m. (1015 GMT) against the villages of Penjwin. No casualties occurred except damage (to buildings),” Ghraib told Reuters

“The people of these villages have deserted the area because of the shelling,” he added.

The Iranian attacks followed clashes between Iran’s police and guerrillas from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which took up arms in 1984 for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.

Gunmen killed 10 Iranian police in that firefight in western Iran on April 25. Ten PJAK fighters were also killed, Iranian state media said. (Reporting by Sherko Raouf; Writing by Tim Cocks)

Man Stoned to Death in Northern Iran

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Source: http://ncr-iran.org/content/view/6307/1/

NCRI – On Tuesday, Ali Reza Jamshidi, mullahs’ judiciary spokesman in response to a question regarding a man who had been stoned to death recently in the city of Rasht (northern Iran) said, “Stoning was carried out during the Iranian month of Esfand,” which ended on March 20.

Iranian Resistance had previously reported, “On March 5, a 30-year-old man from Pars-Abad of Moghan, northern Iran, was stoned to death in the Lakan prison in the northern city of Rasht. He was identified as Vali Azad, an employee of the Commerce Department. The mullahs’ local judiciary refused to release the body to his family and buried him in an unknown location.”

The state-run daily Aftab-e Yazd reported on Tuesday that a 30-year-old government employee identified only as “V”, was stoned to death in Rasht prison on March 5, further confirming the report.

In another case, on January 13, the mullahs’ judiciary spokesman confirmed reports first exposed by the Iranian Resistance about the secret and brutal stoning on December 26, 2008 of three people in the Behesht-e Reza cemetery in the holy city of Mashhad.

Prior to this, in a deceptive move, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, head of the mullahs’ judiciary, had announced a ban on implementing stoning sentences. The regime’s judiciary spokesman explained about this clear inconsistency as well as the rationale for implementing the cruel punishment by stoning, and said, “Considering the independence of judges, it is possible that as long as the ban on stoning has not become law, the recommendations of the head of the judiciary would not be acted upon.”

Anti-Baha’i and anti-Wahhabi warnings and accusations by officials in south of Iran

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Source: http://www.shia-online.ir/article.asp?id=5375&cat=1

Iran: Using Technology to Bolsters Women’s Movement

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Source: http://www.awid.org/eng/Women-s-Rights-in-the-News/Women-s-Rights-in-the-News/Iran-Using-Technology-to-Bolsters-Women-s-Movement

Next time you find yourself stuck in the crowded subway cars of the Tehran metro system, turn on your Bluetooth.

Not only will you find everything from political news to scandalous cartoons of President Ahmadinejad, love letters to pornography, but you will also be exposed to the burgeoning and increasingly techno-clever Iranian women’s rights movement.

Women’s rights defenders in Iran have long utilized technology for their activism. The Change for Equality (www.campaign4equality.info) and Women’s Field (www.meydaan.org) websites are updated daily with news, opinion pieces, and commentary on the status of women and women’s activism in Iran, often in multiple languages for both the domestic as well as international reader. Iran boasts one of the most prolific blogging networks in the world, with 60,000 routinely updated blogs featuring a rich and diverse mix of bloggers. Email and cell phone messaging are ubiquitous among the urban Iranian population, and SMS texting is currently the largest independent network for exchanging information in Iran.

Given the strict censorship the Islamic Republic government places on state television, print, and radio, Iranians are using nuanced techniques for spreading information, and the women’s movement is no exception. Years ago, women’s activists were among the first to use the power of the internet to spread their message of gender equality. In response, the government placed extensive internet filters on any sites featuring dissent and critiques of the Islamic Republic, as well as on pornography and other “immoral and anti-religious” material.

However, these limitations may have catalyzed the emergence of an even farther reaching network of technology-based information sharing for social and political movements. Last year, the official in charge of internet matters in the Tehran city prosecutor’s office announced that the state’s extensive filtering of internet sites had had the unintended consequence of increasing SMS message traffic, as texting less vulnerable to government control.

Most recently, the use of Bluetooth wireless technology—which allows individuals to exchange music, pictures, and video between computers and phones—has provided the Iranian women’s movement with an even more powerful tool to communicate with one another and the public at large. Bluetooth technology is almost impossible to track and control, so it provides a relatively safe and private sphere in which activists can communicate. For now, it is almost impossible for the government to monitor, allowing a kind of freedom of speech rarely seen either during the Shah or since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. And in Iran, anonymity is power.
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Nazanin Afshin-Jam: Thoughts on Delara

Monday, May 4th, 2009

On May 1st 2009, artist Delara Darabi was executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran after spending almost six years in prison for an alleged offence committed at age 17. She maintained her innocence up until the very end. Below is a note written by Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions organization about Delara and the injustices of her case.

After reading the below please sign the petition to end all child executions at www.stopchildexecutions.com

Delara Darabi
Delara Darabi

I am at a loss for words. My heart is empty and my tears are flowing.

I have just finished reading the details by attorney Mohammad Mostafaei of the minutes leading up to Delara’s execution. It is just too painful http://scenews.blog.com/4885252/

Delara, I have known you for almost three years. We tried our best to keep you alive. We informed and had the High Commission on Human Rights at the UN, the European Union and Parliaments worldwide act on your behalf. We spread awareness through the media, to human rights groups worldwide. We kept in touch with your family and your lawyers. We conducted speeches and rallies worldwide. We sent you art supplies in prison and letters from supporters to keep your spirits high. We tried our best to get in touch with the family of the deceased and convince them to understand the severity of taking a young life away. We tried Delara. We tried but we failed.

You are no longer with us in body, but your presence will live on forever, in the hearts of all the volunteers at Stop Child Executions, all the lawyers and human rights defenders fighting for justice, and millions of supporters around the world fighting for your life.

If there is one thing I can promise you and your family, is that your death will not be in vain. Your departure from this temporary world we call Earth has emboldened and strengthened our fight to not only seek justice for the 140 children who remain on death row in Iran, but the 70 million captive citizens of Iran who remain held hostage under a regime that stifles voices, represses rights and executes the most vulnerable.

The Islamic Republic of Iran must be held accountable for their violations against humanity. Clerical Judge Javid Nia, who approved your execution will be held into account one day.

In Delara’s case, Iran has breached many laws.

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Three Baha’is Released in Semnan

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Source: http://www.iranpresswatch.org/
May 3, 2009
The following updates were made available to Iran Press Watch on Sunday, May 3, 2009.

As reported by Iran Press Watch (here), Mr. Ali Ehsani was arrested in Semnan on April 6. It is now reported in Persian (http://www.bab.blogfa.com/) that he was released from incarceration on condition of bail for 50 million tumans (equivalent of about $50,000).

On April 27, Mr. Siyamak Iqani and Mrs. Susan Tebyanian-Jabbari were arrested (here) in Semnan and now it is reported that they been released on condition of bail.

Unrelated to Semnan, Mr. Mushafeq Samandari was arrested on April 14 (here) in Babol and his family reports that so far he has not been allowed to meet with them, but permitted to have two telephone conversations with his family (http://www.bab.blogfa.com/).