Archive for the ‘ English news ’ Category

Kidnapped and killed by security forces

Mohammad Naderipour was kidnappaed by plain cloth security forces. His body was found after 48 hours in a veichle.
The identity of an Iranian student, who had been killed by Iranian regime’s suppressive agents following the recent nationwide uprising, was revealed. The body of Mohammad Naderipour, a civil engineering at Sirjan School of Engineering was found 48 hours after his abduction on July 1st, an Iranian website reported.
The report quoted a close relatives of Mr. Naderpour that he was abducted by plain clothes agents at 7:00 PM on July 1st while leaving the school. “His body was found in his car 48 hours later.”
He added that the corpse was carried to the coroner’s office for examination and the cause of death was reported as “a direct blow to his head.” Iranian regime’s agents have told the family to bury the body immediately.
A number of plain clothes agents and security forces were present at the funeral service that was held in the village of his birth place, he said.
This report added that Mr. Naderipour’s family has been silent because they were concerned that another member of their family would be abducted.

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Iranian News Agency Reports Admission of Prisoner Abuse

CAIRO — In what may be the first admission that a prisoner died from abuse by Iranian prison authorities in the wake of postelection unrest, a semiofficial news service reported Monday that the son of an adviser to a prominent conservative politician had died of “physical stress, conditions of imprisonment, repeated blows and harsh physical treatment.”

The report, by the Mehr News Agency, quoted “informed sources’ saying that the medical examiner had determined that Mohsen Ruholamini, 25, died from abuse and neglect after being held in the Kahrizak detention center and then being transferred to Evin prison under “unsuitable conditions.” He was one of hundreds of people arrested as mass protests swept major Iranian cities after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed a landslide victory in June, and one of scores who died.

“As a result of his poor physical condition, at the end of the journey, and after a delay of 70 minutes in transferring him to hospital, he unfortunately died,” said the report by Mehr, which has close ties to conservatives.

The apparent admission of abuse appears to fit squarely with the recent strategy of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, of trying to calm the political crisis that has refused to let up, and to try to restore some of his lost credibility, political analysts said.

As a religious and civil leader, he is supposed to be seen as above the political fray and as the embodiment of justice, qualities that analysts and reform supporters say were badly compromised when he sided with the president during the crisis.

The admission — if it is confirmed and leads to punishment — could also shore up the supreme leader’s support among senior clerics and pragmatic conservative politicians who are upset about the treatment of prisoners, President Ahmadinejad’s attempts to consolidate power and the ayatollah’s handling of the post-election crisis. Mr. Ruholamini’s case helped galvanize their anger.

Mr. Ruholamini’s father, Abdolhossein, was a senior political adviser to Mohsen Rezai, a defeated presidential candidate and former commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards. Authorities told the elder Mr. Ruholamini on Aug. 9 that his son had died from meningitis. But Mr. Ruholamini, who leads a prestigious scientific center in Tehran, later said that he had found his son’s bloodied and bruised body in a morgue.

On Sunday, one day before the report was released by Mehr, Mr. Ruholamini met privately with Ayatollah Khamenei, where he was assured that those responsible would be held accountable, even if they were part of the system, according to Iranian news services.

If the Mehr report is officially confirmed, it could pave the way for the arrest and conviction of government agents — perhaps even relatively high-ranking prison officials, a step that may be necessary to restore confidence among senior clerics and pragmatic conservatives, political analysts said.

“The supreme leader got what he wants: Ahmadinejad is president now, but he will not allow this conflict to deepen and continue,” said Mustafa Alani, director of security and defense studies at the Gulf Research Center in the United Arab Emirates. “He sees the bad side of this crisis and wants to start a new page.”

When the government tried to silence the postelection conflict through arrests, trials and intimidation, the crisis grew more heated amid a steady stream of charges, including that male and female prisoners had been raped and sodomized, that bodies had been buried in secret graves and that bruised and contorted corpses were being turned over to families.

Leaders of the reform movement said that at least 69 people had been killed during the postelection crackdown, while the government reported that 30 had died.

The president and his allies in the police force, prison system and military have consistently denied all charges of abuse, and they repeated those denials this week. However, Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the closing of the Kahrizak prison, where several prisoners died, and authorities ordered an investigation into the deaths there.

But with the political crisis refusing to subside, and the credibility of the Islamic republic’s system of governance questioned by the general public and the clerical elite, Parliament has launched two investigations into charges of prisoner abuse and the supreme leader shifted course, political analysts said.

In what analysts call an attempt to calm the concerns of his more pragmatic conservative allies and senior clerics, Ayatollah Khamenei recently said that he does not believe the opposition had been conspiring with foreign enemies, undercutting the most serious charges against former officials, journalists and academics that have been leveled by Mr. Ahmadinejad and his government.

And in another sign of efforts to soften the edges of the crackdown directed by the president, the judiciary — headed by a rival of Mr. Ahmadinejad — on Monday released Hamzeh Ghalebi, a prominent member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front who was very close to Mir Hussein Moussavi, a reform leader and presidential candidate, according to Parleman News, a Web site affiliated with conservative members of Parliament who are critical of the president.

Mr. Ghalebi’s health had deteriorated after almost 60 days in solitary confinement and like others, he had been forced to confess, according to a Web site affiliated with Mr. Moussavi.

Another element of Ayatollah Khamenei’s shift in tone was spelled out Wednesday, in a meeting with university students, when he vowed that torture and abuse would not go unpunished.

“Be sure that no crime or atrocity will go unpunished, but with issues of that importance the judiciary should rule based on solid evidence,” the supreme leader said, insisting that rumors would not be enough.

But Ayatollah Khamenei was also clear about where he placed the greatest blame for what had convulsed the country since the election, and it was not the issue of torture or abuse. “Some people — who tend to turn a blind eye to the oppression of the people, the Islamic establishment and the tarnished reputation of the establishment — seem to portray the Kahrizak issue as the main problem, whereas this on its own is another form of oppression against the nation,” he said.

The bigger problem, he maintained, was the postelection unrest, which he said had tarnished an otherwise valid election — a point millions of Iranians disputed when they took to the streets in protests that were later crushed by the police and armed militias.

Tehran’s Hard-Line Prosecutor Moved To State Role, But Little Changes

Features

 

Known as the "Butcher of the Press," Said Mortazavi will now take on a national role, though it’s unclear how much his powers will change.

August 31, 2009

By Golnaz Esfandiari

Iran’s judiciary chief has named hard-line Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi — the man behind mass trials of post-election detainees — deputy prosecutor general.
Officially the move is a promotion for Mortazavi, but legal experts say his power has diminished.
Mortazavi is known as "the Butcher of the Press" because he was the bane of Iran’s independent and reformist publications.
He has ordered the closure of more than 100 pro-reform publications as well as the summoning to court and jailing of journalists and bloggers.

Among them was the New York-based journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, who was jailed in Iran in 2004 with several of his colleagues and forced to make false confessions.
The case’s aim was to implicate reformist figures in spying and other actions that violate Iran’s national security laws. Mortazavi was in charge of the case.
Mirebrahimi tells RFE/RL he was happy to read the news about Mortazavi’s removal as Tehran prosecutor, describing Tehran’s prosecutor’s office as "the jugular vein of the judiciary of the Islamic republic."
He adds that he believed that as long as Mortazavi was Tehran’s prosecutor, "judicial reforms wouldn’t be possible."
Another Iranian journalist, Fereshteh Ghazi, says that for Iranian journalists, Mortazavi brings up painful memories — such as the closure of newspapers, imprisonment, the loss of their jobs, and being forced to leave Iran and become homeless.

Mortazavi has led the mass trials of opposition protesters in Tehran.

On August 29, state media reported that the new head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, had appointed Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi to replace Mortazavi. Dolatabadi is said to be less ideological than Mortazavi
A day later it was announced that Mortazavi had been appointed deputy state prosecutor.

Superficial Changes

Prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Seyfzadeh says that Mortazavi will now have less executive power and won’t be making any judicial decisions.
Still, he dismisses the changes as being of little importance. Seyfzadeh says if the system was to change, then Mortazvi should have been held accountable.
"The judicial disciplinary court should have moved to suspend him," Seyfzadeh says. "He should have been summoned to court to explain the majority of his actions."
The 42-year-old Mortazavi reportedly played a role in the 2003 death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in a hospital as the results of head injuries she sustained after she had been jailed.
Mortazavi had ordered Kazemi’s arrest while she was photographing a protest in front of Evin prison by the families of detainees.
Mortazavi is described as a cruel and vengeful person who would use psychological pressure and harassment during interrogations. Mirebrahimi says he remembers how Mortazavi indirectly threatened to kill both him and his family.
"I had many encounters with Mortazavi that ranged from positive, in order to force me ‹to cooperate,› to threats — where he would threaten me and my family and say that we could die in an accident," he says.
Mortazavi was also reportedly involved in the arrests of dozens of women’s rights activists, workers, peaceful protesters, and reformists after the disputed June 12 presidential election that led to mass demonstrations.
Pawn Of The Regime?
He has often been criticized by independent lawyers and rights activists for lacking independence. Reformist politicians inside Iran had said that Mortazavi should be summoned to court over his role in the death of Kazemi and other issues.
But he was said to be untouchable. Some observers say Mortazavi had the support of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mortazavi is said to have the firm support of the conservative establishment.

Mirebrahimi thinks Motazavi was a pawn of the regime. "I don’t think he was on his own in all he did," he says. "It’s true that it was personal to some extent. But he had a powerful backer."
Mirebrahimi says Mortazavi told him several times: "I am one quarter of the country. One fourth of the country’s power is in my hands." He adds a person cannot say such a thing without having "prominent backers."
Mortazavi was the head prosecutor in the trial of a number of top reformist figures who have been accused of involvement in planning postelection protests and plotting a "velvet coup."
Tehran-based lawyer Nemat Ahmadi told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that the removal of Mortazavi and the creation of a special committee to investigate the postelection unrest could have a positive impact on the fate of the prominent reformist detainees.
But Seyfzadeh, from the Center of Human Rights Defenders, is less optimistic. He believes that those in power now are "determined to eliminate the opposition that is from within the establishment, having already sidelined the children of the revolution and the opposition."
Seyfzadeh thinks the process will go on till "the end," unless "something else happens."
A blogger has reacted to Mortazavi’s new appointment by thanking the new head of the judiciary for the reminder that "the Islamic establishment cannot be reformed."
The blogger writes, "Tehran’s executioner becomes the state executioner!"

سرعت در انتشار اخبار، تهديد جدى براى رژيم سركوبگر آخوندى

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پاسدار احمدى مقدم سركرده نيروى انتظامى رژيم با نگرانى گفت: شبكههاى مجازى تهديد جديد امنيتى هستند.
وى در مراسم توديع و معارفه معاون اجتماعى نيروى انتظامى افزود: با تحولات در عرصه فناورى و فناورى اطلاعات، تغييرات اساسى در انتقال اطلاعات، حجم، توليد و تبادل اطلاعات به شدت افزايش يافته و اخبار به سرعت منتشر مىشود و يك خبر عادى محلى به سرعت در سطح بينالملل منتشر مىگردد و مدتها افكار عمومى را تحت تأثير قرار مىدهد. برقرارى امنيت در فضاى جديد نياز به باز تعريف دارد. امروز جنبههاى جديد و شكلى جديد از تهديدها را شاهد هستيم.
One of the leader of the iranian Gestapo Complaind today about hwo fast the news are spreading through the entire world!!
He added: " one simple news from a anywhere in Iran reach the the entire world in a very short time…

Iranians must heed leader’s guidelines: Rafsanjani

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has urged people to follow Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s guidelines, five weeks after he challenged the authority of Iran‹s most powerful figure.

Rafsanjani, who last month defied a call by hardline clerics to back Iran‹s disputed presidential election result, also called for action to foster unity, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The conciliatory statement appeared to be in contrast to a hard-hitting sermon Rafsanjani delivered on July 17, when he declared the Islamic Republic in crisis and demanded an end to arrests of moderates following the election.

Shortly after that sermon, 50 members of the 86-seat Assembly of Experts, the body which appoints the supreme leader, called on Rafsanjani to show more support for Khamenei, who endorsed hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in the June vote, which reformers say was rigged.

Rafsanjani, a rival of Ahmadinejad, backed moderate Mirhossein Mousavi in the poll.

Rafsanjani heads the Assembly of Experts, a constitutional watchdog which in theory can dismiss the supreme leader, as well as the Expediency Council arbitration body.

"The head of the state Expediency Council referred to the observance of the guidelines set by the supreme leader and confronting lawbreakers as a necessity under the present conditions," IRNA reported.

The election and its turbulent aftermath plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposing deepening divisions within its ruling elite and further straining relations with the West.

Mousavi and another defeated pro-reform candidate, cleric Mehdi Karoubi, say the election was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad’s re-election. The authorities reject the charge.

IRNA said Rafsanjani called for: "sympathy between officials and the public as a necessity for the country’s passage from the current domestic problems and for confronting the problems created by foreigners."

He added: "All persons and officials must regard themselves as duty-bound to the observance of these criteria and those in control of podiums, influence and media should avoid stirring schisms … and take steps toward the creation of unity."

Iran arrested thousands of people in a crackdown on mass opposition protests that erupted after the June 12 poll. Hundreds, including prominent reformists, remain in jail. Iran staged three mass trials of detainees earlier this month.

Mousavi, Karoubi and reformist former president Mohammad Khatami have denounced Ahmadinejad’s next government as "illegitimate."

(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb and Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Quantcast Report of secret burials in Iran brings call for inquiry

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A reformist lawmaker vows to examine allegations that 44 unidentified bodies were buried in a cemetery amid heavy security following post-election unrest.
Reporting from Beirut – An Iranian lawmaker vowed today to examine allegations that dozens of unidentified people killed in the recent post-election unrest were secretly buried in the country’s largest cemetery last month.
The reformist website Norooznews.org on Friday cited an unnamed employee of the capital’s Behesht Zahra cemetery as saying that 44 unidentified corpses were buried under heavy security July 12 and 15.
Majid Nasirpour, a reformist lawmaker who serves on parliament’s Social Affairs Committee, filed a request for an inquiry into the mass burial allegation, the website Parlemannews.ir reported.
"This news story needs to be verified," he told the website today. "I will ask the committee to investigate the allegations." The number of those killed in weeks of violence is a source of controversy: Iranian officials claim that as few as 20 died, with nine of them pro-government militiamen. Iranian opposition figures say that at least 69 have been killed, while Western officials in Tehran estimate the number of those dead nationwide to be in the hundreds.
Norooznews, the online incarnation of a respected newspaper shut down by authorities in 2002, said it had obtained the registration numbers of the burial permits to back up its claim. The website had reported earlier that bodies were piled up at a mortuary in southwest Tehran.
Iranian authorities have made a concerted effort to downplay the numbers and accounts of those killed in the violence, pressuring families not to hang mourning banners on their homes and ordering mosques not to allow memorial services.
Nonetheless, mourners Thursday night marked the 40th-day burial anniversary of Sohrab Arabi, a 19-year-old who was apparently shot in the chest during a June 15 demonstration. They took to the streets and chanted political slogans in the expansive Tehran apartment complex where his family lives, videos posted to the Internet showed.

Iranian boy who defied Tehran hardliners tells of prison rape ordeal

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The 15-year-old boy sits weeping in a safehouse in central Iran, broken in body and spirit. Reza will not go outside — he is terrified of being left alone. He says he wants to end his life and it is not hard to understand why: for daring to wear the green wristband of Iran’s opposition he was locked up for 20 days, beaten, raped repeatedly and subjected to the Abu Ghraib-style sexual humiliations and abuse for which the Iranian regime denounced the United States.

“My life is over. I don’t think I can ever recover,” he said, as he recounted his experiences toThe Times — on condition that his identity not be revealed. A doctor who is treating him, at great risk to herself, confirmed that he is suicidal, and bears the appalling injuries consistent with his story. The family is desperate, and is exploring ways of fleeing Iran.

Reza is living proof of the charges levelled by Mehdi Karoubi, one of the opposition’s leaders, that prison officials are systematically raping both male and female detainees to break their wills. The regime has accused Mr Karoubi of helping Iran’s enemies by spreading lies and has threatened to arrest him.

The boy’s treatment also shows just how far a regime that claims to champion Islamic values is prepared to go to suppress millions of its own citizens who claim that President Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged.

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Reza’s ordeal began in mid-July when he was arrested with about 40 other teenagers during an opposition demonstration in a large provincial city. Most were too young even to have voted. They were taken to what he believes was a Basiji militia base where they were blindfolded, stripped to their underwear, whipped with cables and then locked in a steel shipping container. That first night Reza was singled out by three men in plain clothes who had masqueraded as prisoners. As the other boys watched, they pushed him to the ground. One held his head down, another sat on his back and the third urinated on him before raping him.

“They were telling us they were doing this for God, and who did we think we were that we could demonstrate,” Reza said. The men told the other boys they would receive the same treatment if they did not co-operate when interrogated the next day.

Reza was then taken outside, tied to a metal pole and left there all night. The next morning one of the men returned. He asked whether Reza had learnt his lesson. “I was angry. I spat in his face and began cursing him. He elbowed me in the face a couple of times and slapped me.” Twenty minutes later, he says, the man returned with a bag full of excrement, shoved it in Reza’s face and threatened to make him eat it.

Reza was later taken to an interrogation room where he told his questioner he had been raped. “I made a mistake. He sounded kind, but my eyes were blindfolded. He said he would go look into it and I was hopeful,” Reza said.

Instead, the interrogator ordered Reza to be tied up and raped him again, saying: “This time I’ll do it, so you’ll learn not to tell these tales anywhere else. You deserve what’s coming to you. You guys should be raped until you die.”

He was subjected to further brutal sexual abuse — and locked up for three days of solitary confinement.

Reza was then forced to sign a “confession” in which he said that foreign forces had told him and his friends to burn banks and state media buildings. He was told to identify as the ringleader a 16-year-old friend who had been so badly beaten that he was in hospital.

“I was shaking so much I couldn’t even hear what they were saying,” said Reza. “I just signed whatever they put in front of me without looking at it. I was scared they would rape me again.”

The next day Reza and other detainees were transferred to a police detention centre, where he was held for a further week.

On the third day, police officers entered the cell in the middle of the night, blindfolded him and led him to the toilet, where he was again raped. “My hands began shaking, my legs were weak and I couldn’t stand up properly. I fell down and smashed my head hard on the ground to try and kill myself. I started screaming and shouting for them to kill me. I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I hated myself,” he said, weeping at the memory.

The following morning he was summoned by a police commander, who asked why he had been screaming the previous night. When he explained, he was asked to identify his rapist. The boy said he had been blindfolded, so the chief commander hit him and accused him of lying. He was forced to sign a letter admitting he had made baseless accusations against the security forces.

Reza’s ordeal was far from over. He was taken with about 130 other prisoners to the city’s Revolutionary Court, where they were herded into a yard. The judge told them that he would hang those who had violently resisted the Islamic revolution and read out the names of ten teenagers, including Reza. The message was clear: if they continued to say they had been raped they would be executed.

The judge sent them to the city’s central prison, where Reza was handcuffed and held in a small cell with six other boys for ten more days. In the evenings officers beat the boys and taunted them with the words: “You want to cause a revolution?.

Periodically, the most senior officer would take the boys away, three at a time. “When they returned they would be very quiet and uneasy,” Reza said. When his turn came he and the others were led into a small room and ordered to strip and have sex with each other. “He told us that with this we would be cleansed — we would be so shattered that we would no longer be able to look at each other. This would help calm us down.”

After 20 days Reza’s family finally secured his release on bail of about £45,000 — and with a final warning that he should say nothing about his treatment. His brother said: “A friend of mine who is a guard in the prison where Reza was being held had told me he was ill. The night he was released he was crying uncontrollably; then he broke down and told my mother everything.”

The family persuaded a hospital doctor they knew to treat him, despite the danger to herself. She has treated his physical injuries and given him antibiotics and sedatives but cannot perform an internal examination. Reza is deeply traumatised, terrified of being returned to prison and barely sleeps.

The doctor told The Times that other detainees had suffered a similiar fate. “We have many cases in the hospital but we can’t report on them. They won’t let us open a file. They don’t want any paperwork,” she said.

Drewery Dyke, an Amnesty International Iran researcher, said that Reza’s case was “consistent with other reports we have received in terms of the severity of disregard for human dignity, the unrestricted abuse without any recourse to justice, the involvement even of judicial persons in rape abuse and the denial of the basic right to healthcare”.

Reza, at least, survived to tell the world his story. The 16-year-old friend he had to name as the ringleader has since died in hospital from his injuries.

The identities of all people mentioned in the article have been withheld.

NATION IN TURMOIL

June 12 Presidential elections held after a campaign marked by huge rallies in support of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi

June 13 Mr Mousavi calls for vote counting to stop, saying there are “blatant violations”. Government says Mr Ahmadinejad won with 62.63 per cent of the vote. Angry crowds assemble in Tehran

June 14 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives his blessing to the disputed results

June 15 He agrees to investigate the election as tens of thousands of Mousavi supporters take to the streets in the largest protest since the 1979 revolution. At least eight are killed and 368 detained, says Amnesty International

June 16 Mass rallies continue while foreign media are banned from reporting on the streets of Tehran

June 19 State television says more than 450 are detained during clashes in Tehran. At least ten are killed, including Neda Saledi Agha Soltan, apparently shot by a militia sniper. Her murder is seen around the world on the internet

June 21 Mr Ahmadinejad accuses US and Britain of fuelling protests

June 23 Britain expels two Iranian diplomats after two of its diplomats are thrown out of Iran. Britain and US condemn beatings and arrests of demonstrators

July 22 Amnesty International says it has received the names of at least 30 killed during the demonstrations

August 1 Thirty people put on trial for alleged opposition “conspiracy”. Amnesty denounces the trials as “grossly unfair”

August 5 Mr Ahmadinejad is sworn in for second term

August 10 “Confessions” from defendants on trial, including a British Embassy employee and a French student, are said to prove a Western plot to topple the Iranian government

August 11 Former opposition candidate Mehdi Karoubi says detainees have been systematically raped and tortured in jails

August 14 Reformist MPs denounce government brutality and call for Ayatollah Khamenei’s qualifications for position of Supreme Leader to be investigated

August 20 Mr Karoubi says he is ready to present evidence of rape

Sources: Amnesty International, Reuters, Times database