Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Iran Watch: Activists Arrested, Execution Scheduled

World Politics Watch: In Association With Iran Press News

According to the Students Committee for Human Rights Reporters in Iran, Amir Sawron, political activist and Secretary General of the National Solidarity Organization of Iran, was re-arrested without warning on Sept. 7 at his home by agents of the Islamic regime's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and their secret police. In recent months, Sawron had been granted medical furlough from prison*. According to the Sawron family, the arresting agents, who appeared at the home of the activist, announced that they had been given his arrest warrant by the public prosecutors office and had been instructed to deliver him directly to prison.

In a recent interview with the Farsi broadcast of Radio Free Europe, Sawron courageously announced: "Since I do not consider myself to be guilty of any of the charges leveled against me, I refuse to return to prison when the official term of my medical furlough is over." The official termination date of his furlough was Sept. 2.

Amir Sawron was charged by the revolutionary court with "action against national security and the threatening the regime's interest through involvement with unlawful anti-regime groups"; he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Prior to this round of sentencing, he had been sentenced to another eight years of a suspended prison term and reportedly is now being detained to serve the entire 16 years consecutively. READ MORE

Sawron's wife, Elaheh Nazjou, in a phone interview, reported: "Amir was allowed to phone home and as such informed us that he was being detained at the Rejaiishahr prison in the Tehran suburb of Karadj, where he had been previously held."

More on Human Rights

*The Islamic regime refuses to provide medical treatment to any of its political prisoners who are in need of serious medical attention. Prisoners often develop medical problems as a result of brutal torture and physical abuse, as well as dirty prison conditions. Depending on the severity of diagnoses, recommendations made by the attending doctors at the prison infirmaries, and pressure from international human rights groups, prisoners are often given medical furlough to seek medical treatment outside prison, at the expense of their families and friends.



Activist Khalid Hardani's execution will be carried out in October or November, according to reports from the Students' Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran.

The Hardani family announced that the office of the director of the Judiciary contacted them to inform them that the amnesty they had requested for their son, Khaled, had been denied and that the death penalty imposed upon this activist will in fact be carried out sometime during the Persian month of Aban (Oct. 21 -- Nov. 20).

Khaled Hardani has been sentenced to death for his part in the January 2001 attempted hijacking of a 30-seat passenger aircraft. He was scheduled to hang on Jan. 19, 2005, but the director of the judiciary ordered a stay of execution the day before the set date of the execution to allow lawyers to appeal.

Khaled was one of 11 members of an extended family who attempted to commandeer a scheduled flight between the southern Iranian cities of Ahvaz and Bandar Abbas, and force it to fly to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Security guards already on board ended the attempted hijacking while the plane was still on the runway in the Ahvaz airport. Reportedly, Khaled was shot in the process. The family was apparently trying to escape the poverty and hopelessness they were experiencing as members of Iran's Arab minority.

Khaled Hardani was sentenced to death, together with his brothers-in-law, Shahram and Farhang Pourmansouri, on charges of "acts against national security" and "Moharebeh," or enmity with God.

Before the recent stay of execution, the three men's death sentences had been upheld by the Supreme Court, while the Amnesty and Clemency Commission reportedly has rejected an application for a pardon from their lawyer. Still, six years after their arrest, the three accused were re-investigated and Khaled now is to be executed.

Previously, the judiciary had suggested to the family that if a cash settlement of four million Tomans* was paid to the stewardess and the Islamic air marshal of the plane, as a form of conciliation, it may make a difference in the brothers' sentences. However, after the payment of this amount and the receipt of the letter of consent from the stewardess and air marshal, the judiciary took no action in reducing their charges and nothing in their cases changed.

*Equal to $4500 -- one year's salary for many in Iran.



The judicial system of the mysognist Islamic regime has sentenced a woman to be stoned to death in the town of Varawmeen, south of Tehran. The regime-run news agency Entekhob, reported: "The case of a young couple who killed a malicious youth, whose sentence was originally breached by the Supreme Court, was sent for re-assessment to branch 72 of the greater Tehran criminal court. On Oct. 4 the couple named Fatimeh and Asghar will stand trial for the second time. A police investigation uncovered that on April 29, 2004, the young couple lured the 22-year-old Mahmood, who had continually harassed the husband and wife, to their house and murdered him. The original sentence, which will be reconfirmed, was that the accused Fatimeh would be stoned to death for murder and adultery* and her husband Asghar would serve life in prison."

*It is not clear why the court would accuse Fatimeh of adultery since she was faithfully married. However, the Islamic courts are notorious for their openly fallacious and malicious rulings against women.



The regime-run site, Vawhed'eh Markazi'yeh Khabar (Central News Unit), reported last week: "Eight armed robbers attacked and entered the Islamic Republic of Iran's embassy, located in Pretoria, the South African capital, at about 19:00 last night (Sept. 7) local time. During this incident, the armed individuals held the only embassy diplomat, who was present at the location, for an hour and a half, terrorizing, threatening and putting him under severe psychological pressure. Fortunately, during this occurrence, our diplomat was miraculously saved from death. The armed individuals succeeded in taking the monetary contents of the embassy's safe and escaped, leaving behind the Islamic Republic's diplomat with tied hands and feet. It is as yet unclear how this group succeeded in gaining access to the embassy grounds. The local police forces and officials of the Pretoria crime-fighting unit arrived on the scene after the embassy staff contacted them, moments after the thieves fled the scene. The police investigation is ongoing."



The Minister of Energy of the United Arab Emirates will take over as term President of OPEC in January.

The Iranian regime-run news agency Fars wrote: "The members of OPEC in their one hundred and forty-second session of the organization, elected Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, United Arab Emirates minister of energy, as the chief of OPEC. According to the oil ministry's spokesman from Vienna, Shakib Khalil, the Algerian minister of energy, was chosen as vice president of OPEC. Hussein Kazempour-Ardebili, the representative of the Islamic Republic to OPEC, was chosen as the head of the board executives, and Fallah al-Amri, the representative of Iraq on OPEC's board of executives, was also chosen as vice president."

The new appointees will begin their posts in January 2007. Iran has lobbied for the largely symbolic job of OPEC president, arguing that it deserves a leadership post as the organization's No. 2 producer. But OPEC has not granted the position to an Iranian in recent years.



The regime-run news agency MEHR reported: "Fifteen Iranian researchers were prohibited from participating in 'The Trends in Nanotechnology Conference, TNT2006,' The organizers' decision to prohibit the presence of the Iranian researchers was made following a conflict of legal transparency vis-à-vis security measures. Though the decision was later revoked, it appears that an article published in a French publication, which caused political concern about Iran's nuclear program, was the leading reason behind the final decision to exclude the Iranian delegation."

The international nanotechnology conference was held Sept. 4 through Sept. 8 in Grenoble, France. It was the first time the conference has been held outside of Spain and was so organized to receive the seal of approval for the role of Europe in this field from the Center for Innovation in Micro and Nanotechnonogy, which is based in Grenoble. The MINATEC center opened in June of this year.
This post includes many under-reported news stories. Read them all.