Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iran Watch: Another Activist Dies in Prison

Iran Press News, World Politics Watch:
Iran Watch is a biweekly collection of news and information on Iran that is generally not reported by the western media. Compiled and translated by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi of Iran Press News, and published in English exclusively by World Politics Watch, Iran Watch fills the information gap regarding news from inside Iran. Zand-Bonazzi translates news that comes directly from the Islamic Republic's own news media, as well as from activist organizations, human rights and labor groups, Iranian bloggers, and other sources. The goal is not only to deconstruct and explain the often harsh and brutal realities that the Iranian people face living under the Islamic Republic of Iran, but also to report on items that show the peculiarities and ironies of the Mullahs and their functionaries.

33 days after the death of activist Akbar Mohammadi, another political prisoner dies in Iranian prison (Farsi source)

According to human rights activists in Iran, the family of young activist and political prisoner Valiollah Fayz-Mahdavi, who suffered a stroke at Rejaii-shahr prison, was not able to obtain any information about the condition of their son for two entire days.

Despite ongoing effort on the Fayz-Mahdavi, prison officials and the Tehran revolutionary court authorities continued to feign ignorance on the status of the young activist. Even the prisoner's lawyers were stonewalled by the enforcement group of the revolutionary court. However upon referral to the Shariati hospital where the body of the activist was delivered, the cause of death was confirmed to have been a stroke following brutality by the prison interrogators while the activist had been on the ninth day of a long hunger strike. READ MORE

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After ongoing pressure, on Sunday, Sept. 3, Sohrab Soleymani, the director general of the prisons of greater Tehran province, claimed that Valiollah Fayz-Mahdavi had simply committed suicide in the Rejaii-shahr prison baths and died by the time he was transferred from prison to Shariati hospital.

Finally, on Monday afternoon, Sept. 4, one of the intelligence and security officials for Evin prison announced that after his transfer to the hospital, Fayz-Mahdavi died of a massive coronary; however there was no mention of any information surrounding the stroke. The regime therefore is attempting once again to prevent all information regarding the circumstances surrounding this young prisoner's death from leaking to the public.

Based on received reports from human rights groups in Iran, on Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, the regime's agents are said to have appeared at ward 5 of Rejaii-shahr prison, the political prisoners ward of this penitentiary, threatening all prisoners and coercing them to confirm that the young activist did indeed commit suicide. The two esteemed activists, Behrooz Javid-Tehrani and Dr. Mehrdad Lohrasbi, who are also detained at that prison, were said to have been bribed with release from prison if they agreed to go along with the "official" line; they were told, however, that if they do not comply they will be moved to the criminals ward where murderers, rapists and violent criminals are detained.

It was also reported that on Tuesday the Fayz-Mahdavi family was summoned to prison so that their son's body could be released to them by prison officials.

The July 30 death of another young political activist, Akbar Mohammadi, who died at the hands of the Islamic regime's torturers in Tehran's Evin prison, has caused great worry and concern among the families, the political prisoners themselves and human rights activists.

Regime officials threaten the physician who treated student leader Ahmad Batebi (Farsi source)

Ahmad Batebi, student leader of the July 1999 Tehran University uprising, after a year of being out of prison on medical furlough, was re-arrested on July 29 and has been in solitary confinement ever since. Batebi's parents, who were finally able to visit their son in prison, expressed grave concern about his health. Batebi's wife, Someyeh Beenot, who also had the chance to visit her husband on Wednesday, Aug. 30, said that her husband is in critical physical and mental condition. Ms. Beenot wrote and delivered a letter regarding her husband's incarceration to Kofi Anan during the U.N. Secretary General's trip to Tehran earlier this week, but the letter went unanswered.

Ms. Beenot said that since his re-arrest, the judiciary authorities have not only refused to explain the reasons for Batebi's re-arrest, they have also threatened her against giving any media interviews about the situation.

Dr. Hessom Piroozi, the physician who had been treating Batebi during his year on medical furlough from prison, emphasized that the activist suffers from numerous diseases and physical and mental ailments as a result of five years of severe torture while incarcerated in deplorable prison conditions.

Dr. Piroozi said that despite all his efforts to get the permission to visit Batebi in prison for a medical examination, he was forbidden; the physician stresses that Batebi suffers from severe pulmonary and digestive conditions and requires diligent treatment. Dr. Piroozi announced that he too has been threatened by the agents of the ministry of intelligence and security and the Islamic regime's secret police.

When the 12th Iman surfaces, he will present the principle copy of the Quran (Farsi source)

The Islamic regime-run news agency Ayandeh'yeh No wrote: "Mohammad-Mehdi Aziz-zadeh, the director of management and public relations of Quran researchers institute stated that unfortunately in the cultural and religious field, especially where the Quran is concerned, there are many personal opinions. He said in the teaching of Quran, the more one has educational familiarity and reverence for the Quran, the more one will work to learn it by heart. One can spend a couple of hours a week in class; however it is imperative to continue practicing when out of the classroom environment. Learning the Quran is as imperative as that which is a mother's instructions.

Aziz-zadeh added: "Due to all these irrelevant personal opinions on this matter therefore, often we act unjustly and dare to offer up our subjective views. That is why with the passage of the time we will have strayed from the original text of the Quran so much so that we will have begun to lose its radiance." Aziz-zadeh emphasized: "Although when our 12th Imam* rises up, he will bring with him the main copy of the Quran; his holiness, the world's savior will be the walking oratory Quran."

*The 12th Imam is also known as either The Mahdi, The Hidden Imam or "Imam Zaman" (Lord of all ages).

Iran Diesel Motor workers go on strike (Farsi source)

Boztawb, an Islamic regime-run web site, has reported that a month after the workers of Iran Diesel Motor productions aired their complaints and grievances, they began a widespread strike on Sunday morning, Sept. 3, resulting in the closing of most manufacturing units, specifically the truck and bus division of this factory.

This company employs 7000 workers and runs in 5000-person shifts. During the last month, due to a noticeable decrease in workers wages, the company has reached a crisis point, experiencing continued strikes on small and large scales.

One of the workers said: "The major reason for us going on strikes today is that the managers of this company have recently put workers on one-month contracts while the employment statutes specifically state that all contracts should be for a minimum of one year."

According to this report, workers gathered, chanting slogans against the incompetent management, demanding that they be forced out for a new executive director to be brought in.

According to protesting workers, the company has ignored the ministry of labor's legislation to increase workers' wages by thirty thousand Tomans (equal to approximately $3); not only have the wages not been increased but the CEO of the company has ordered that the length of contracts as well as the wages of a number of workers be cut.

As the intensity of the strike and protests increased, anti-riot disciplinary forces of the regime appeared on the scene to contain the situation.

Kobra Rahmanpour, woman who in self-defense killed her husband, to be executed (Farsi source)

According to a report in the Islamic regime-run news agency FARS, the lawyer for Kobra Rahmanpour, Abdul-Samad Khoram-Shahi, announced on Saturday, Sept. 2, that Tehran's criminal enforcement unit of the public prosecutor's office has given Rahmanpour one month to obtain an "order of recompense" from the parents of the deceased; if she does not succeed in obtaining such document during this period, the order of her execution will be carried out.

Kobra Rahmanpour was arrested on Nov. 5, 2000, for killing her mother-in-law with a knife. Despite a plea that she was acting in self-defense and was protecting herself against the repeated and vicious attacks by her husband's mother, she was nonetheless sentenced to death by branch 1608 of Tehran's criminal court in January 2002. Her case met with protests from the international community though in January 2003 the death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of the Islamic regime.

Kobra Rahmanpour's death sentence was been temporarily stayed by Ayatollah Shahroudi, the Head of the Islamic regime's Judiciary in February 2004; Sharoudi issued a letter of instructions on the stay of the execution to allow adequate time to obtain the consent of the heirs to forego their right to retribution in kind. Accordingly, the judgment of death sentence is precluded from being executed upon the order from the Head of Judiciary until further notice. The letter also stated that all legal proceedings on the case had been completed, and therefore the sentence can only be commuted if the victim's heirs forgo their right to retribution and ask instead for the payment of blood money, which in Islamic statutes is referred to as a "Diyeh".

So far, all efforts to obtain the deceased's family consent have failed. Rahmanpour is one of the victims of disastrous social conditions Iran.

Ahmadinejad's bid to remove all secularist professors from universities in Iran (Farsi source)

According to the Islamic regime-run web site Aftawb, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, Ahmadinezhad launched his administration's effort to remove all secular members of the faculties of science from universities throughout Iran.

Ahmadinezhad said: "Over the last 150 years, our education system has been infected by the secular belief system [of the separation of religion and state] and colonizers want to force us to follow their secular systems by extension. Today university students should persecute and castigate the president of any university for the presence of liberal* and secular professors in our universities."

Agence France Presse also reported this item.

*In this case, the word liberal is used to describe anyone who does not fit into the Islamic ideology and who would also teach other traditions of thought as well.

Political activist goes to trial without legal representation (Farsi source)

According to reports from the independent news web site Amir Kabir, the first session of tribunal hearing of Reza Abbassi, a political activist in the city of Zanjon (Province of Zanjon), began on Monday morning, Sept. 4, in the branch one of the revolutionary court. Abbassi was with legal representation and his family was forbidden from being present.

After the hearing, the public relations department of the Zanjon judiciary refused to provide any information regarding this privately-held judicial hearing to local reporters. The court also categorically refused to respond to any questions and concerns of the Abbassi family; in fact the judiciary even refused to announce the name of the presiding Mullah judge.

During the hearing, a number of other political and social activists, as well as journalists, gathered in front of the judiciary headquarters of the province, waiting for either news on the case or to get a glimpse Abbassi himself. But that too was prohibited. They were informed around noon that Abbasi has been transferred to prison.

Despite the fact that Reza Abbassi has served 70 days in detention, he has not yet been permitted to meet with a lawyer and the office of intelligence and security of Zanjon has intimidated and warned his family not to pursue his case through a lawyer. Also, the intelligence and judiciary authorities still insist on evading all details on charges being leveled against Abbassi.

The Islamic republic of Iran executes yet another youth in public (Farsi source)

Oppression and terror continues in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. On Monday, Sept. 4, a young Baluchi was publicly executed in the city in Saravon.

The Islamic regime-run news agency, IRNA, reported: "The public prosecutor of the province of Sistan-Baluchistan publicly executed a smuggler on Monday. The written judgment was issued by the Islamic revolutionary court branch of the township Saravon and sentenced Gholam-Reza Rigi, son of Mohammad-Ismail, to death by hanging in public for smuggling one kilo and 960 grams of heroin. The verdict was issued after the approval by the Supreme Court on Monday morning and the execution took place in the presence of local officials, members of the conservancy council and the general public."

It is worth mentioning that during the last 4 months, the inhumane Islamic Republic has publicly executed more than 150 activists and anti-regime protestors based on trumped up charges such as smuggling, murder, etc.