Category Archives: Reports

Blogger Sattar Beheshti dies in custody

Sattar Beheshti, who ran a blog critical of the Iranian regime, was arrested on October 30 for comments made on Facebook, and handed over to the ‘cyber police’. After a night in Evin prison, where he complained about threats and beatings, he was moved to an unknown location. By November 3rd he was dead, with evidence of torture all over his body.

Beheshti was apparently not well known as an activist, showing how far-reaching the regime’s clampdown on dissent has become.

More:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/sattar-beheshti-dead_n_2117945.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20259533

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/sattar-beheshti-dead-iran_n_2095075.html

Hopi at Take One Film festival

On Wednesday 26th Sptember 2012 , Take One Action film festival showed the film. This is Not a Film, by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb & Jafar Panahi in Edinburgh Filmhouse. Over 100 people attended the film show which was Followed by discussion with Yassamine Mather (Chair of Hands Off The People of Iran) and Film/Theatre director Jeremy Raison.

Jeremy Raison spoke passionately about his meeting with Panahi and tried to explain some of the complexities of the film, Panahi’s satirical look at his own house arrest, the frustration of facing a 6 years jail sentence, ban of twenty years from making films, directing films for his support for the protests of 2009 . The film was rated as the number one film of 2011 by Rotten Tomatoes (considered a reliable film review aggregator.

Raison explained the significance of some of the hidden messages in the film shot on Panahi’s iPhone and a cheap DV camera and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes.

Yassamine Mather responded to questions about repression in Iran and emphasised that political activists face much harsher sentences , including long prison sentences and execution however highlighting the plight of this famous director gives a glimpse of the intolerance of the Islamic regime vis a vis any dissent. She also spoke about the economic hardship facing most Iranians, not just because of the corruption and disastrous effects of neoliberal (Islamic ) economic policies of the regime but also crippling sanctions However she reminded the audience that bombing Iran will make the situation far worse , Iranians  do want regime change but they are weary of US/Israel/Eu plans for regime change form above , especially as they look at their immediate neighbours Iraq and Afghanistan , where regime change US style has made an already intolerable situation even worse.

Simon Beaston of Take one Action reminded the audience that Ken Loach , one ‘Take one Actions’ Patrons is a supporter of HOPI and reminded the audience to take one action following the film on the basis of what was discussed .

Arab Spring is the theme of this year’s Take One Action festival and the film ½ Revolution, Omar Shargawi and Karim El Hakim‘s was shown after Panahi’s film to a pcked audience. According to reviewers in US, 1/2 revolution is  “a visceral ersonal documentary focusing on 11 days of the 18-day revolution, captures the ground-level events with a gut-churning immediacy and veracity often missing from news reports, as well as amateur footage posted to the Internet”. In the absence of Omar Shargawi who had not been able to travel to Edinburgh, HOPI chair Yassamine Mather responded to questions about the Arab spring, She argued that most of the uprisings had economic as well as political reasons, that the West’s economic crisis is having a devastating effect in the third world. That the success of Islamic fundamentalism has two reasons : decades of severe repression by pro US regime’s against secular, democratic , socialist forces at a time when Islamist benefited from the relative freedom of using mosques, Islamic schools for political agitation. She mentioned vast sums of Saudi and Gulf money given to the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria as reasons for their recent electoral and political ‘success’ . The audience applauded her interpretation of these events and HOPI gained a number of new supporter at the end of this session

Mass arrest of trade unionists in Karaj

Yesterday, Friday 15th of June at 12 noon 60 members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ organizations and a number of labor activists were arrested in the city of Karaj.

According to the latest news, Mitra Homayooni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Saeed Moghaddam, Cyrus Fathi, Ghaleb Hoss are amongst those arrested.

Arash Sadeghi and Hossein Ronaghi on Hunger Strike – Solidarity needed

Free all political prisoners!

Below is an article which appeared on the Iranian website Eshterak reporting on the barbaric treatment of two political prisoners.

On Thursday May 24th, Arash Sadeghi, Iranian student and political prisoner finally was allowed to receive a visit from his grandfather after 130 days of detention. This visit took place in section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran and lasted less than 5 minutes in presence of the interrogator.

According to Arash’s grandfather, they had shaved all his head. He seemed so slim and weak, that he first couldn’t recognize Arash. During his short visit Arash told his grandfather that all this time he had been kept in solitary confinement and in order to slow the process of his case have limited his interrogations take place only every 20 days. During the visit Arash announced that he had launched a hunger strike on May 24th to support Hossein Ronaghi until his rightful demands are not met.

Hossein Ronaghi is an Iranian political prisoner and blogger who suffers from severe kidney disease and according to doctors needs immediate surgical attention. Despite this, the Iranian authorities have refused to allow him to receive medical treatment. To protest against such inhumane situation Hossein Ronaghi has gone on hunger strike. Doctors say a hunger strike would seriously endanger his life and could be fatal to Hossein.

Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki (Babak Khorramdin) Iranian blogger, human rights activists and one the members of Iran Proxy, was arrested on December 13, 2009, but under pressure exerted by intelligence agents, his family and his friends had been forced to keep the news of his arrest secret.

Throughout his detention, Ronaghi-Maleki has been subjected to excruciating physical and psychological torture techniques by his interrogators who want him to participate in televised confessions. He has gone on hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions of his detention and unlawful actions of the intelligence and judicial authorities. On May 24 he was placed in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Priosn, 3 days after he started a hunger strike.

Please sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/36771.html

Clandestine gay rights rally in Tehran

‘It’s not easy to be gay in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A recent United Nations report decried “harassment, persecution, cruel punishment and even the death penalty.” Because Islamic law requires four adult male witnesses to prosecute sodomy, Iranian police typically seek confessions, often through torture. Women, easier to convict, are given 100 lashes for each case. Outside of the legal system, LGBT Iranians face widespread and socially accepted discrimination, bullying, and an elevated risk of suicide, according to a UK-based study. “Loneliness is killing me,” a 27-year-old man from Qazvin told researchers.’

More photos and comment from the Atlantic magazine:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/photos-of-a-clandestine-gay-rights-rally-in-tehran/257500/#slide1

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana!

Fariborz Raisdana

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana!

On Monday the 20th of May, Dr Raisdana – academic, leftwing economist and writer – was arrested and sent to the notorious Evin prison. He is a well known intellectual, economist, social activist and member of the Iranian writers’ association. He has published several books and articles on political economy and sociology. He is well known as a leftist socio-economic expert who always considers the plight of the Iranian working class in his economic analysis. Dr. Raisdana’s field of expertise is econometrics. He has tried hard to disclose how workers and wage earners have been affected by the relations of political economy in the turbulent Iranian society and how they have been increasingly suffering.

He has consistently criticised the Iranian government socio-economic programmes and often points out how social and political oppression is implemented to impose policies such as the unfair plan to abolish/reduce the allocation of national subsidies. There is no doubt that military economic planning has reduced social welfare and added  pressure on the poorer classes. Dr. Raisdana has always been their voice in the society and it is his stance against unfair economic policies that has landed him in jail.

HOPI condemns Dr. Raisdana’s arrest and demands his immediate and unconditional release.

A letter by death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi for May 9

“They need sacrificial lambs and they have chosen us” - Loghman Moradi

Execution is a weapon of choice for the Iranian regime when dealing with trade unionists, leftists, and  Iran’s ethnic minorities. Below we link to a letter by death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, of Iran’s Kurdish minority. After a trial lasting 20 minutes,  the pair were convicted for allegedly assassinating the son of a senior cleric. False confessions were procured by torture during a 30-month imprisonment.  Zanyar and Loghman maintain their innonence, and Amnesty International has highlighted their case.

While fighting the threat of war on Iran, the left in this country should give no succour to such a regime, which uses those threats to clamp down on internal dissent. HOPI demands the immediate release of all political prisoners and the abolition of the death penalty in Iran.

Read the letter below (English & Farsi)

http://persian2english.com/?p=23852