Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NUS and Trade Unionists Against Habibollah Latifi's Execution

The Islamic Republic regime has tried to exploit the UK student protests for its own propaganda. The joint statement below is a slap in the face of IRI's opportunistic exploits. If the regime does goes ahead with the execution of Habibollah Latifi, it would have only shot itself in the foot by further showing its true savage nature.

This statement has been sponsored by the NCAFC and the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran, an international campaign to support workers, students and resistance activists in Iran.

Please add your name by emailing againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com
We the undersigned call for the release of, and dropping of all charges against, Iranian student Habibollah Latifi. This is urgent: Latifi’s execution was scheduled for 26 December 2010; it was postponed after international protests and after 300 supporters protesting outside the prison gates, but could be rescheduled at any time.
Latifi, who was a law student at Azad University in the south western province of Ilam, in Western Iran, was arrested in October 2007 and sentenced to death in July 2008 after being convicted of moharebeh (‘enmity against God’), a vaguely defined ‘crime’ for which the penalty is death. This was in connection with alleged activities on behalf of a Kurdish liberation group (Latifi is from Iran’s oppressed Kurdish minority; according to Amnesty International, sixteen Kurdish men and two women are on death row in Iran in connection with alleged ‘separatist’ activities).
On 26 December, members of his family including his father and sister were also arrested.
We call on the Iranian authorities to drop all charges against Habibollah Latifi and release him and his family. We will continue to make solidarity with Iranian student activists, who alongside workers have been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Iran.
Initial signatories:
Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers National Executive member and Leeds NUT Secretary
Olivia Bailey, National Union of Students Women’s Officer
Barnaby Raine, School and FE Students Against the Cuts
Sean Rillo Raczka, National Union of Students National Executive Committee and Birkbeck Students’ Union Chair
Alan Bailey, NUS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Officer (Open Place)
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer (Women’s Place)
Claire Locke, London Metropolitan University SU Communications and Campaigns Officer
Louis Hartnoll, University of the Arts London SU President
Robyn Minogue, University of the Arts SU Education Officer
Wanda Canton, Queen Mary SU Women’s Officer
Katherine McMahon, Edinburgh University anti-cuts activist
Michael Chessum, NCAFC co-founder and UCL Union Education and Campaigns Officer
Daniel Lemberger Cooper, Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance and Save our services in Surrey
Bob Sutton, Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts
Tali Janner-Klausner, London NCAFC activist
Rowan Rheingans, Newcastle University anti-cuts activist
Jade Baker, University of Westminster SU Vice-President Education
Chris Marks, Hull University occupier
Help us to stop the Iranian state murdering Habibollah Latifi! Please add your name by emailingagainstfeesandcuts@gmail.com
We call on NUS and other student networks like the Education Activist Network to support the campaign and promote this statement.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Latest on Latifi's Situation

Execution of Habibollah Latifi, who has been in jail for three years, was delayed after protests but his entire family are now arrested. See:

Islamic Republic has invested a lot of propaganda in exploiting the recent protests by UK students. A single statement by the NUS distancing itself from the Islamic Republic and in support of Iran's students can totally spoil all that regime propaganda and show them that executing Iranian students will have a price tag for them. Yet, despite all this, still no statement form the NUS.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fears for Iranian Student's Execution on Sunday

On Sunday most people in the free world will be recovering from celebrating the festive season. Quite right too, life is all about working, contributing, loving, resting and enjoying its moments. The terror machine of the Islamic Republic, knows no such things however. Its one efficiency, bringing death and misery to its people remains unhindered.

Iranian student, Habibollah Latifi's family are not looking forward to Sunday. They are fearing that Habibollah will be executed. Habibollah Latifi's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht has been notified that the execution of his client will be carried out on Sunday.

Born on 21St March, Iranian New Year, 1981, Habibollah was a gifted child. He loved sports and excelled in football. He played for Sanandaj Municipal football team but quit playing after it was required of him to join the local Baseej militia. In 2002, Habibollah entered the Ilam University after having graduated with a Maths/Physics diploma to study Industrial Engineering. He was also keen on working with NGOs and cared much for environmental issues. He joined two environmental NGOs, Zhianeh Vah and Shahoo.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And They Complain About UK Police Brutality

For those British students who were getting too enthusiastic to appear before Press TV and describe UK police brutality, this is police brutality in the state which funds Press TV:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Religious Tax on Subsidy Cash

I have never tried to interfere in people's spiritual beliefs nor do I ever publicly talk about mine. How people want to make themselves feel comfortable with the mysteries of afterlife and the tragedies that hit us all during our lifetime is a private matter and no one else's business so long as others are not hurt. At the same time I have never concealed my despise for organised religion and men who want to profit from making God into a business.

'Khums', literally meaning one fifth, is a religious tax demanded by the Grand Ayatollahs or Sources of Emulation from the Shiite faithful. Every Shiite faithful is duty bound to pay one fifth of his income to his chosen Source of Emulation.

On Saturday, Ahmadinejad finally announced the removal of subsidies which have been keeping the prices artificially low in Iran's economy. To ease the pain of this move, each Iranian will receive a cash pittance amount in their bank accounts. In his televised announcement, Ahmadinejad, true to his messianic nature, referred to this cash as the Hidden Imam's money. A zero interest loan endowed to the people of Iran by the Lord of All Ages, Imam Mehdi, who will return and rid the earth from corruption and injustice. How far this cash will go and whether this cash injection into the economy will cause inflation or hyperinflation is not what I want to talk about however.

What I want to talk about is what I read on this Iranian news website:
The cash subsidy is nevertheless an income and so it has brought up the question to the Shiite faithful, will they have to pay 'Khoms' on this cash subsidy?! Will they go to hell if they don't?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Norwegian Eyewitness to the Massacre of Ashura Protesters in Iran Last Year

Norwegian student who witnessed the masacre of Ashura protesters in Iran last year, talks to amnesty international.

The Norwegian student, named as Lars, agreed to give his first interview with the media about what he experienced on 27th December, last year in Iran, when he was arrested and taken to an intersection in central Tehran.

The student's unprecedented depiction of the horror experience in Iran during December 2009, is now known through a document from the website Wikileaks alerts that VG Nett has been granted access.

Read the exclusive report in Norway's VG Nett:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Global Solidarity with Iran's Prisoners of Conscience

They thought they kept them away from their families, what they didn't realise is that now they have an even bigger family:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nourizad's Heroic Stand Against the Evil Judge

I have written about Mohammad Nourizad before. Shortly after I translated his letters from prison, barbed wire and flowers, Nourizad was put before yet another kangaroo court.

The evil judge was the overweight and notorious Judge Moghisseh, who started reading Nourizad's file during his summary trial. Nourizad asked the judge 'Should you not have read my file before this court?' Moghisseh answered ' We are busy, we don't have time'.

Moghisseh then told Nourizad 'You have to prove these allegations you have made'
Nourizad knowing that this is nothing more than a show trial, where the sentence was already dictated beforehand to the judge by the intelligence ministry, replied:
'I recognise neither you nor this court'
Judge Moghisseh told the clerk to write down Nourizad's reply and then told Nourizad:
'If you don't prove your allegations you will be whipped'
Nourizad defied the judge again 'You fear the intelligence ministry, I do not recognise you as a just judge'
Moghisseh getting more irrated continued with his threats 'You pathetic creature, do you know what I will do with you?'
Nourizad remained resolute however 'Do whatever you can, one year, ten years, twenty years, life imprisonment, with each unjust sentence you issue, you fan the flames of your own hell fire'
Moghisseh answered 'You foreign lackey, I will show you. Prove to me what you have written about Abdollah Momeni and Hamzeh Karami'
Nourizad mocked the judge again 'And what if I call the interrogators here and prove it to you? Are you up to giving a judgement against them? No, you are not! for that reason I have not the slightest regard for you.'

Moghisseh 'I have hanged bigger fish than you. I have been a judge for thirty years'

It took judge Moghisseh ten seconds to hand down another further two years imprisonment for Nourizad.

Nourizad has been on hunger strike since Saturday. He said 'I want the Ashura this year to coincide with the day my corpse falls on their heads'.

BBC Persian and Shirin Ebadi's Problem with the Media Focus on Sakineh

When Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, I was utterly disappointed with her for losing the best opportunity until then to highlight the Human Rights abuses in Iran. There she was with the whole world's attention focused on her winning the prize and yet she chose to highlight the problems of Palestinians and remain silent on the  plight of her own people.

Many years ago, I attended a meeting by Shirin Ebadi for an Iranian audience at Imperial College, London . There she spoke beautifully about the fundamental wrongs of Iran's legal system, why elections in Iran are fraudulent from the start and the plight of Iran's prisoners of conscience. We were told to hand in our questions in writing during the break. My question was 'why does she not say these things when she faces an international audience?' and she chose not to answer that question.

With the start of the Green Movement, Shirin Ebadi however stood resolutely by the people of Iran. The regime's brutality in suppressing all dissent and all peaceful protesters in such a barbaric way, united the people of Iran in an unprecedented way in the last thirty years. Old differences and criticisms of each other was forgotten, and defeating the coup administration became the common goal that united all of us despite our previous tactical differences.

And so I too became supportive of Shirin Ebadi and backed her efforts to highlight the human rights abuses in Iran and her attempts to solicit international help for the pro-democracy movement.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Iran's Student Remembrance Day at SOAS

Press TV has been making a big song and dance about the recent UK student protests, although conveniently Press TV didn't mention a dicky bird about the nationwide student protests that took place in Iran last Tuesday. Below is a footage of Green Movement supporters in London, commemorating the Iranian Student Day at SOAS by displaying pictures of jailed Iranian students. I hope at least the UK students who came across these pictures will become aware as to why they should shun the mouthpiece of a repressive state that kills and jails Iranian students for expressing their opinions.

Islamic Republic, nor its mouthpiece television, Press TV, is no friend of students, it is the enemy of knowledge.

A Tree for Neda and Other Martyrs of Iran's Pro-Democracy Movement

I remember watching a documentary about the massacre of Polish officers by Stalin. The documentary showed the children of the Polish officers who for the first time, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, were able to visit the Katyn forests where their heroic fathers had been buried by Stalin's henchmen. Huge trees had grown by the graves of these Polish officers, as tall and proud as the men who lied beneath them. One Polish woman hugged one of the trees, and said 'This is my father' and cried with joy. There is something about trees that represents eternal life, dignity and pride and those Polish children of the massacred officers saw their martyred fathers live on in the lofty trees of Katyn forest in Russia. 

Just opposite the Iranian embassy in London, coinciding with the International Human Rights day, a tree was planted today in honour of the martyrs of Iran's Green Movement. The tree was named Neday-e-Iran, the 'Calling of Iran'.

The ceremony started by traditional Persian music played by the flute followed by some speeches and ended with the singing of Ey Iran anthem. Amnesty International's representative, Drewery Dyke, was also there and emphasised the importance of remembering the fallen heroes.

I hope Neday-e-Iran tree will one day become huge and enormous, tall with lots of branches and full of green leaves, and remain there overlooking the Iranian embassy long after the present occupiers are gone.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Iran's Students, the Bravest of Them All

Borzou Daragahi from LA Times, has made it easier for me by his well written round up of the events in Iran over the last two days. See 'IRAN: Despite crackdown, students stage anti-government protests nationwide'. The courage shown by Iran's students yesterday has shown the world, that the Green Movement is still alive and the yearning for change will not go away despite all the crackdown and all the repression. Iran's students, the bravest of them all.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Islamic Republic of Iran: Where the Witness is Jailed and the Killer is Free

Leyla Tavassoli is a young female Iranian engineer and a newly wed. It is less than a month since she has been married but instead of enjoying the best days of her marriage, she has to spend the next two years in jail. Her crime is that she was a witness to the IRI police running over and killing Shahram Farajizadeh during the Ashura uprising last December. Leyla Tavassoli spent two months in section 209 of Evin prison last year before she was released on bail and now her sentence of two years imprisonment has been confirmed by the appeal courts.

Shahram Farajzadeh's sister has called Leyla Tavassoli, Ashura's contemporary equivalent of Zeinab, the prophet's grand daughter who was taken hostage and forced to march to Damascus by Yazid's forces after the battle of Karbala on Ashura.

'I am lost for words as how to thank Leyla for her courage in bearing witness to my brother's murder and as how to express my sadness as the pain this has caused Leyla and her family. Men looked up to Zeynab for her courage and sacrifice and today Leyla has emulated Zeynab's courage by bearing witness to what happened on Ashura. I know not how these 'gentlemen' - regime officials - manage to sleep at night?' Shahram Farajzadeh said.

'They have had no trial for those who murdered my brother and no one has even been investigated, yet the witness to my brother's murder is jailed for two years. I congratulate these 'gentlemen' for making all other tyrants look innocent in comparison with themselves' Mrs Farajzadeh continued as she fought hard to stop herself from crying.

Iran Students Will Die Before They Accept Humiliation

One Day Ahead of Iran's National Student Day, a traditional time for student protests:

Death to the Dictator:

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, Moussavi's Advisor at UCL

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand is a former law professor at Beheshti University and a top adviser to Mir Hussein Mousavi. He was detained after the post-election protests last year but managed to flee Iran. Pro-Ahmadienjad sites like Javan Online, described him as Moussavi's legal adviser in his campaign HQ, and as usual, accused him of having links with the MKO and foreign intelligence services etc.

Yesterday he spoke at the Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, where he described the Green Movement as a pluralistic movement with no centralised leadership command centre and a modus operandi of non-violent struggle based on tolerance of other views and adherence to basic human rights principles. 'The hardliners have shown they have nothing but violence as their only means to remain in power. They also realised that they are unable to use all of Baseej and all of Revolutionary Guards to crackdown on peaceful protesters and hence they had to deploy criminal thugs and hoodlums to confront peaceful protesters. They have passed the peak of their ability in suppressing the movement and the only way for them now is down. This is what they are scared of and this is why we should remain optimistic about the future. If we lose our hope, we would have handed the authorities a winning card they desperately need'

After his speech he fielded a range of questions without any hesitation or red boundaries which included questions like Mousavi's role as the Prime Minister during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, Moussavi's economic policies for the future, the next phase of the struggle for change and evidence of cheating in the elections.

On the evidence of election fraud, he said not only there were numerous irregularities but the results were engineered as well. He then listed a number of these irregularities and said there was even an audio recording which commanded what the provincial counts should be announced as regardless of what the actual counts were. Most of all, the very fact that the regime refuses to set up an independent commission to review the complaints made about the election fraud, itself is indicative that the elections were engineered.

Arjomand then used the case of Taraneh Moussavi, as an example of how the regime tries to block the truth and any investigation into the truth. He mocked the pathetic attempt by the administration to pretend the only Taraneh Moussavi in a similar age range resides in Canada and swore on his honour that he, himself had personally interviewed an eye witness who was detained with Taraneh Moussavi at the time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

IRI Police Priorities

Below is a glimpse of one of many savageries shown by IRI police and Law Enforcement Forces against ordinary people. Where else in the world would you find police smashing up people's cars and throwing rocks at people's homes?

Here is another one. IRI special units are seen jumping on cars and smashing them up like juvenile thugs. A man is seen lying unconscious, only one brave bystander is seen coming to his aid, while the IRI police continue with their orgy of violence and destruction:

Here is the IRI police standing by as a murder victim is left to bleed to death. Bystanders who want to help are threatened by the murderer as the two policemen stand by and watch

And today this is the latest video from Iran, where police dare not apprehend the killer for some reason. The dead body is left on the road as cars swerve past. Quite a contrast from their trigger happy, batton happy approach towards peaceful protesters last year as is blatantly evident.

The IRI police and Law Enforcement Forces seem so busy and overstretched cracking down on pro-democracy activists that they have no time to deal with day to day crimes.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New Video from the Ashura Uprising Last Year

New video of 25 year old Amir Arshad Tajmir, who was ran over by a police car during the Ashura uprising last year.