April 15, 2008 VOLUME 47
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
In the past several days, pundits and commentators have provided their analysis on General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker's report on Iraq. No one, however, seem to be paying attention to the rise of female suicide bombers in Iraq. Since January 2008, there have been seven women suicide bombers in Iraq, compared to only six in all of 2007. The misogynous fundamentalists in Tehran have managed export their ideology to use women as weapon of terror.
It is however, heartwarming to see in reaction to fundamentalism, Iraqi women are becoming more vocal about their rights. According to Italian news agency ANSA, in a press conference in Rome, a groups of Iraqi Shiite and Sunni human rights activists testified on Iranian regime's terrorist activities in Iraq and called on the European community to intervene and defend human rights in their country, particularly the rights of women. "There are at least 30 Iranians, members of Iraq's National Assembly sitting in the parliament to protect Iranian regime's interest in our country," said Ms. Abdolghader a member of Tikrit city council in the conference. Fa'eze'h Abidi, President of the Iraqi National Accord's Women's Movement said, ''The Iranians infiltrated Iraq to gain control over the country's oil resources and the holy shrines. Moreover, they occupy the country to oust the Iranian resistance movement who have are refugees in Iraq," ANSA added. Mona Adnan-Hossein, whose father and husband, Sunnis, were killed before her eyes said she lives in fear of Iranian militias. ''Women can not leave home without the fear of being raped and murdered. About a month ago 10 women were killed in Basra, the government has done nothing to find those responsible and even a peaceful demonstration against the murders was suppressed without any explanation," she said.
These courageous Iraqi women speak of the real conflict in Iraq. From their perspective the real threat in Iraq is the spread of Tehran's Islamic fundamentalist ideology. Iranian women join them and those voice of indigenous and secular Iraqis who speak out against the Islamic Fundamentalism. Let us focus on the real threat in Iraq and not the "Sunni vs. Shiite" conflict that Tehran's regime wants us to believe.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
Daily Times - March 18, 2008
A former top Iranian police commander appeared in
court on Sunday after his arrest reportedly on suspicion of a morality-related
crime, the ISNA news agency reported. “A former commander in the police appeared
this morning before the 76th branch of the Tehran court and the investigation
against him has started,” the student news agency said. Judiciary spokesman Ali
Reza Jamshidi confirmed last week that a high-ranking police officer had been
arrested, released on bail and put under investigation. “We will announce the
accusations against him at a later date as the investigation is still at a
preliminary stage,” he said. But the conservative Internet news site Tabnak
reported that the prominent police commander had been arrested “on accusations
of immorality”.[Please see
WFAFI Vol. 46 for more details]
BBC News- March 18, 2008
An Iranian woman under threat of being stoned to death for adultery has been freed, her lawyer has said. Mokarrameh Ebrahimi was released from prison in Qazvin province on the orders of Iran's judiciary's amnesty commission, said her lawyer Shadi Sadr. Ms Ebrahimi's partner, Jafar Kiani, was stoned to death in July 2007, causing an international outcry. The reasons for Ms Ebrahimi's release are unclear, but Ms Sadr said rights campaigns had certainly played a part.Death by stoning is still enshrined under Iranian law. Ms Sadr says it is unclear what led the judiciary to free Ms Ebrahimi. But "you cannot deny the role of public opinion and domestic and international pressures", said Ms Sadr, herself a prominent women's rights and anti-stoning activist. Amnesty International says a total of 12 people - mainly women - are currently at risk of being stoned to death in Iran.
International Herald Tribune - March 19, 2008
Switzerland's foreign minister, already under fire for a natural gas deal with Iran, also is provoking an outcry at home because she wore a headscarf at the meeting with Iran's hardline president when the accord was signed. "Like a submissive woman," the Lausanne daily tabloid Le Matin said Wednesday in a front-page story showing a photo of Micheline Calmy-Rey wearing a white, semitransparent headscarf. "Calmy-Rey wears the veil of discord," Tribune de Geneve said in its lead headline. Numerous members of parliament also have voiced anger and incomprehension over Calmy-Rey's choice of attire when she met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday in Tehran to witness the signing of the multibillion-dollar deal between Swiss energy trading company EGL and the state-owned National Iranian Gas Export Co.
The New York Sun - March 19, 2008
The study, "Discrimination and Intolerance in Iran's
Textbooks," examined about 95 different school textbooks that are mandatory for
first- through 11th-grade students in Iran. Authored by Paris-8 University
sociologist Saeed Paivandi, it is the most comprehensive look to date at the
books being used in Iranian schools..."The discourse of the textbooks has not
been written with the concept of equality of all human beings, as enshrined in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the study concludes. "In the
textbooks' reasoning, human beings cannot be equal with one another on this
earth, in the same way that, on the day of reckoning, they will be subject to
divine judgment for their identity and actions."
Based on the analysis of the Iranian textbooks, Paivandi surmises that different people have different places in society; those who aren't high on the status ladder will be victimized by prejudice."Some individuals are born first-class citizens, due to their identity, gender and way of thinking, while others become second- and third-class citizens," the study states. "Those who are excluded from the inside are victims of this discriminatory system."
RFE/RL - March 19, 2008
Iranian authorities have closed down nine, mostly
lifestyle, magazines this week for publishing photos of "immoral" Western
celebrities and reporting about their private lives. Thirteen other publications
were warned to avoid printing similar photos and stories -- or face losing their
publishing licenses. The Culture Ministry announced the closures, accusing them
of publishing stories about "immoral and corrupt" Hollywood stars and for
NCRI Website - March 31, 2008
Seyed Ahmad Alam-al-Hoda, Friday prayer leader in the holy city of Mashhad called for criminal prosecution against those he described as offenders of Islamic dress codes, reported the official news agency IRNA on Friday. Alam-al-Hoda told the worshipers that it is a crime not wearing a proper Islamic dress and the security forces must prevent it at all costs."Mal-veiling is the root of many other criminal behaviors in the society," said he."Some officials based on an incorrect logic believe that 'mal-veiling' should be cured through a cultural campaign. However, such appearance in the public is a crime which should be suppress swiftly," Alam-al-Hoda furiously added.He reminded the zealot worshipers, mainly members and families of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other security agencies, of the bills ratified by the High Islamic Council on Cultural Affairs and mandatory for all government employees on proper Islamic dressing in 2006. Alam-al-Hoda said that as soon as the "Chastity Plan" was approved the State Security Forces (SSF) throughout the county was ordered to make its implementation a top priority. As a final word, Alam-al-Hoda threatened the security forces with legal action for not properly dealing with the offenders. Last year alone, over 1,200,000 people were stopped on the streets by the mullahs' police to receive verbal warnings and many were arrested, beaten or humiliated in public for what they chose to wear.
AKI News - April 9, 2008
Iranian men and women may from Wednesday contract short-term marriages online, according to a religious edict (fatwa) signed by Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Sadeghi Rouhani. The edict says that couples must clearly establish how long the marriage will last. They must also guarantee there are no legal impediments to the marriage, and agree on the amount of money the man must pay the woman when it ends. No comment has so far been issued by religious authorities in the holiest Shia city of Qom. Shia Islam allows a man and woman to marry for a fixed period of time, ranging from an hour to a century. A man can also have any number of temporary marriages - or sigheh, as they are known. Iran first started promoting temporary marriage as an alternative to co-habiting 15 years ago. Then president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, said it was a way for men and women to satisfy their sexual needs.
AKI News - April 10, 2008
A top Shia cleric in Iran has said that unveiled women are a serious danger to Iranian society as they cause men to be "transformed into beasts". "Women without the veil are a danger that the authorities underestimate," said Hojatolislam Seyyed Ahmad Elmalhoda, a powerful cleric who leads the Friday prayers in Mashad, a site considered sacred for Shia Muslims as it houses the shrine of Imam Reza. "This situation is very serious in that if men see these bad women, they will turn into beasts, and then the whole of society will have to pay the consequences." According to the Shia cleric, women who do not respect conservative Islamic dress rules are "sources of all that is bad in society." "Respecting the chador (a long, black cloak that covers the arms and legs and is usually worn with a hijab) is the law of the state and the authorities must severely punish anyone who does not respect this law, in the same way that they punish thieves and murderers," said Elmadhoda. He is who is also a member of the Council of Experts - a powerful body of 86 senior clerics which elects, supervises and can dismiss the country's supreme leader. He was speaking to journalists who were reporting on president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the shrine of Imam Reza. "A women who does not wear the entire veil is like a fire which burns anyone who comes into contact with her," said Elmalhoda. "Our youth, even those who are educated by families who believe and respect the words of the Prophet, when they come into contact with this fire [the women who are not properly veiled] they burn and become ash," he said.
BBC News - April 12, 2008
Hundreds of civil society activists in Iran have signed an open letter calling for the release of women's rights defender Khadijeh Moghaddam. Mrs Moghaddam, who is also a campaigner for the environment, was arrested on 8 April and accused of acting against national security. She is very involved in the drive to gather one million signatures opposing laws that discriminate against women. The open letter was sent to newspapers and websites across Iran. Bail for Mrs Moghaddam, 56, was set at more than $100,000 (63,000 euros). Human rights groups say Mrs Moghaddam was arrested at her home on Tuesday. Earlier this week Amnesty International said it believed she was being held solely on account of her peaceful activities in support of equal rights for Iranian women. Among those calling for her release are prominent writers, journalists, lawyers and reformist politicians.
NCRI Website - April 13, 2008
On Saturday, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan, chief of the State Security Forces (SSF)—the suppressive police -- for the greater Tehran, in an interview with state-run television, promised more suppressive measures for next year in comparison to those carried out during the last Iranian year which ended on March 20, 2008. Enforcement of public security and moral ethics in matters concerning improper clothing, hooligans and thugs, petty drug dealers, thieves as well as security in parks, and all matters related to the people's soles and minds will continue to be pursued strongly through new Iranian year, 1387. You must have witnessed the [unacceptable] behavior of some motorcyclists on the roads and the worries of car drivers. One other area that we would be taking into consideration, besides the public security, would be the social discipline…," said Radan. Since the start of the new Iranian year the mullahs' inhuman regime has taken every opportunity to threaten the public, specially the youth and women with suppressive measures. The mullahs' regime takes advantage of every opportunity to threaten public with more suppressive measures in order to cover fear of its downfall. However, public upheavals by Iranian people and in particular those of women and youths have given unforgettable lessons to the leaders of the Iranian regime in the past year.
Agance France Presse - April 15, 2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday
ordered the police to protect Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, who said she had
received death threats, the state IRNA news agency reported. "Following reports
about threatening notes to Ms Shirin Ebadi, the president ordered the police
chief to immediately adopt measures to provide security to this Iranian citizen
and alleviate concerns," IRNA said
NCRI Website - April 15, 2008
Thirty-one girls and thirty-six boys were arrested
in a crackdown by the State Security forces (SSF) -- the suppressive police --
in the northern suburbs of Tehran, Iran's capital, reported the semi-official
daily Jomhouri-Islami on Monday. SSF agents raided the party arresting some 67
teenagers for dancing together in what the authorities described as "improper
behavior."SSF agents were dispatched to the house where the party was already in
progress in Moqadas-Ardibily Street, according to eyewitness accounts. All The
participants, not having a "decent appearance," were arrested by the security
forces, added a local official. "Some bootlegged liquor bottles were also seized
by the SSF agents in searching the premises for illegal items," said a SSF
official on the scene. Attacking parties has been a longtime practice of under
the mullahs' rule in Iran.
E-Zan Featured Reports
Arrests, Torture and Heavy Verdicts for the families who visited their Children
Situation of Human Rights Activists in Iran:
Translated By WFAFI from Peykeiran site
March 30, 2008
Based on the reports received from Gohardasht prison in Karaj, on February 5th, 2008, the 50 year-old Mrs. Zahra Asadpour Karaji and her 22 year-old daughter, Ms. Fatemeh Joshan were kidnapped by the notorious Intelligence Ministry agents in Sasan Square in Karaj. That afternoon the agents of the Intelligence Ministry attacked and inspected their home and destroyed their possessions. They took with them the family’s computer, CDs, books and other personal belongings. They transferred Mrs. Asadpour to the solitary confinement in the ward 8 of the prison known as the Guards ward (this ward is similar to ward 209 of the Evin prison and is run by the Intelligence Ministry agents and Revolutionary Guards Security forces). She was imprisoned in solitary confinement for 30 days. In the February cold weather, she was placed in a cell where the glasses of the windows were broken and the cell lacked insulation. During the period in the solitary confinement, she was under constant interrogation. The interrogations happened at night and were accompanied by severe physical and psychological tortures. They would first expose her to extreme physical tortures and then during questioning would try to force her to admit to the interrogators accusations. The Intelligence Ministry agents would also expose her to various psychological tortures such as threatening to kill her or her daughter. They would also tell her how they had raped or hanged numerous girls and women in the same cell.
practice was repeated during the 30 days of her imprisonment. In response to the
severe tortures, Mrs. Asadpour went on a dry hunger strike for several days and
committed suicide. Mrs. Asadpour’s poor health forced the agents of the
Intelligence Ministry to take a doctor to her cell. While in prison, Mrs.
Asadpour was not informed of the whereabouts and the situation of her daughter.
The interrogators who tortured Mrs. Asadpour were Mohebi and Reza Aref. They are
located in the Karaj office. The head of Gohardasht prison, Haj Kazem and Ali
Mohammadi also had a direct role in their torture.
Mrs. Fatemeh Joshan was transferred to the ward in Gohardasht prison where women criminals were kept. She was attacked and beaten by the prison guards and dangerous prisoners on several occasions.
Since the kidnapping of his spouse and daughter, Mr. Joshan and his family regularly visited the Revolutionary Judiciary and other offices where they were treated with threats and insults and given no information about their whereabouts. Two weeks after their detention, he was informed that they were arrested by the Intelligence Ministry. Mohebi and Reza Arefi, the agents of the Intelligence Ministry ordered the father and son of the family to their office on a daily basis and questioned them. The rest of the family members are also being physically threatened and on the verge of losing their jobs. After 33 days of persistently referring back and forth, the family finally briefly met with the mother and daughter who had lost a lot of weight. The visit was at the presence of the interrogators. The visits of the family with a person named YarMohammadi in the Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Judiciary who is in charge of the case and with the Judge, Mir-Ghafari in the 3rd branch of Karaj Revolutionary Judiciary have been so far futile. The family is treated harshly and amid 25 million Rials of bail set for each one, their loved ones are still kept in detention. They are also told that they will be tried after the Norouz holidays and are subjected to harsh treatment because they visited their children in Ashraf camp in Iraq last year.
It is noteworthy that in the past 2 years, several members of the families who visited their children in Ashraf* have been arrested, tortured and condemned to long imprisonments. Some of those are: 62 year-old Ms. Zahra Aghili, 50 year-old Ms. Shahla Zarinfar who was recently exiled to Gohradasht prison, 64 year-old Mr. Abbas Asgarizadeh, 65 year-old Mr. Javad Aligholi, 60 year-old ShirMohammad Rezaei who is a survival of the 1988 prisoner massacre, former prisoners Asghar Banazadeh and Hamid Banazadeh.
* The City of Ashraf is situated northeast of the Iraqi town of al-khalis, approximately 80 km from the Iraqi capital Baghdad and 70 km to the West of the Iran-Iraq border. Ashraf was founded in 1986, the year that the PMOI moved its headquarters to Iraq.
The women suffering in Iran
By Baroness Cox, Former Deputy Speaker of the UK House of Lords
The Church of England Newspaper
April 7, 2008
time when the Iranian regime has been sanctioned for the third time over its
nuclear weapons programme, the Iranian opposition group which first exposed
Tehran's programme could offer a solution to the crisis that now faces us.
From 2002 when the world's attention was drawn to Iran's nuclear programme till the current day scarcely a day seems to pass when Iran does not hit the headlines. From comments made by President Ahmadinejad to its terrorist activity and nuclear programme Iran is world news day in, day out.
However, during a period when Iran is condemned over such activities we must not forget those who have suffered most at the hands of this callous regime. The Iranian people and most significantly Iranian women have been brutally suppressed over 29 years of the Mullahs rule.
From public executions to stoning to death, Iran has long been one of the worst perpetrators of human rights abuses in the modern world. However, one story struck me more than most earlier this month. An Iranian man had stoned his 14-year-old daughter to death over his belief that she had been conducting a relationship. A young girl was brutally killed by a man's belief in Islamic fundamentalism, a belief instilled in him by this Iranian regime. The ideology of Islamic fundamentalism has led to young women being beaten and bloodied in Iran's streets by Iran's notorious Bassij forces for failing to adhere to the regime's strict dress-codes.
Such savage acts are only a few of the truly horrific crimes carried out in Iran. However, there is hope for the Iranian people, a hope which shows itself in the thousands of demonstrations that have taken place across Iran over recent months. Intriguingly, the female population which has been most suppressed has now become the most forceful in its resistance, as women lead their male counterparts in demonstrations and strikes, which have on occasion brought much of Iran to a standstill.
The Iranian resistance movement, whether internal or external, now has women at its heart. The largest Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), best known for exposing Iran's nuclear programme, is led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. The female leadership of such a significant exiled group has been built on by the female population inside Iran who see such leadership as a great sign of hope for their future.
Unfortunately, the Iranian women's movement has been deeply hampered by a spate of recent arrests of Iran's leading women's activists. Many currently remain in Iran's prisons where there can be little doubt that they will face some of the many forms of torture used by this Iranian regime.
Clearly there is an intrinsic link between Islamic fundamentalism and the Iranian regime. Therefore, any solution to one problem cannot occur without a solution to the other. It is for this reason that we must look to the people of Iran for an answer. The Iranian people are clearly demanding democratic change in their nation and we must support them in this struggle.
This is what has now become the 'third option' of Maryam Rajavi. Her leadership of Iran's largest opposition group offers great opportunity. However her work and that of her Parliament in exile has been hindered by a terrorist label on the largest member group of the NCRI, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).
This terror label has now been struck down by the UK's Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). With two courts of law finding in the group's favour it is evidently time for this illegitimate terror tag to be removed.
An option for democratic change in Iran clearly exists. The women of Iran offer a hope that must not be lost as we search for a solution to these international crises. The irony may well be that the female population, which this regime views with such scorn, will be the downfall of its rulers.
Give Iranians Their Freedom Back
By Soona Samsami
April 11, 2008
American commentators and politicians love to opine about Iran. Everyday there
are more articles and op-eds by so-called 'experts' on what to do about the
nuclear issue, Iran's influence in Iraq, religious extremism, etc. I would like
to offer my perspective as an Iranian woman, with deep knowledge and
understanding of her own people and its leadership about what the future course
should be for American policy towards Iran.
As one who left my native Iran in the wake of the fall of the Shah in 1979 and came back, periodically, to find a foreign and dark country based on religious rule and intolerance, I know first-hand, what people on the street are thinking and feeling about a nation that has become increasingly isolated, aggressive and intolerant. My country is run by illegitimate and despotic extremists who silence dissent, imprison opponents, and crackdown on anyone who challenges the status quo. Last spring's release of the American-Iranian scholar, Haleh Esfandiari from a Teheran prison, was positive--but it was followed by more round-ups of students and scholars, journalists and pro-democracy activists, seeking to express themselves, freely.
So, for example, while Americans debate the wisdom of electing a woman President, Iranian women live with the reality that the Constitutions bans women from holding the office of President. Yes, we have 9 female parliamentarians in the Majlis, the Islamic Consultative Assembly -- the Iranian parliament) but they hold little sway over the government. Yes, we have women writers and professors -- but they pay a heavy price for speaking out. Women are banned from many walks of life -- relegated to raising children who are taught not to challenge authority.
Iranian misbehavior extends beyond its treatment of Iranians inside the country to those around the world. Take Iraq, where over 3,500 Iranians, who are political refugees, protected under the Geneva Convention, live at Camp Ashraf in Asraf City, Iraq. These pro-democracy Iranians are continuously subjected to harsh threats of expulsion because of Iranian government demands on the Iraqi government.
Beyond the Iranian community, the mullahs in Teheran are directing a campaign of extremism that affects U.S. troops who continue to face the backlash of Iranian-supported militias in Iraq where support for terrorists continues through an infusion of money and arms.
So what can America do? The answer is not war, even though there are some in America who beat the war drums. But neither is the prevailing Western policy, which has relied, hopelessly, on "constructive engagement" to change the behavior of the Iranian regime, effective. We need a firm policy that meets the escalation of the threat from Iran. As Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian opposition leader, said in her speech to the European Parliament last year, "neither war nor pacification of Tehran's religious extremists holds the answer."
The current U.S. strategy towards Iran has failed because it ignores the immense power of the disenchanted people of Iran. Unlike some of its neighbors, Iran has a history dotted with periods of genuine democracy. Today, the Iranian people are endowed with democratic aspirations and a well organized, capable, resistance movement that needs support. As a matter of necessity, U.S. strategy towards Iran must include empowering the Iranian people. On that score, the United States cannot seem ambivalent, publicly or privately. The Iranian people have demonstrated that they are willing to take on a ruling regime that is violent and expansionist because of its weakness. Decisiveness is key in expressing American support for the willingness of people to challenge their rulers. We need statements and actions that reflect American support for democracy groups that are pressing for change inside Iran.
It has been 30 years since the United States has had relations with Iran. In those decades, the Iranian people, despite being silenced, have let the world know that they are unwilling to live with religious zealotry and control. Now the world must get behind them and give them the tools and resources to gain back their freedom.
Iran: Arrests, Jailings Of Political And Rights Activists Continue
By Farangis Najibullah
April 14, 2008
The Iranian authorities this month have added several more names to the list of political activists, human rights campaigners, and journalists who have been imprisoned for voicing dissent.
The leader of the unregistered Democratic Party of Iran, Abbas Khorsandi, is among the latest targets of the Iranian security services. Khorsandi was sentenced last week to eight years in prison after being found guilty of threatening Iranian state security by setting up "an illegal political group."
A 50-year-old economics professor in the northern town of Firuzkuh, Khorsandi was arrested about seven months ago and has spent more than two months in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
Khorsandi's wife, Forozandeh Seylespur, tells RFE/RL that her husband has become a prisoner of conscience because of his stated opposition to the Iranian government.
"He got this sentence only for holding opposing views," Seylespour says. "He hasn't done anything to justify getting such a sentence. He was only involved in writing. He has acted -- in a totally peaceful manner -- as a writer and human rights activist. He has voiced his views only through the pen and in speeches."
The news of Khorsandi's lengthy prison sentence followed reports about the arrest of another peaceful campaigner, Khadija Moghaddam.
The women's rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign was arrested by security officers, who Moghaddam said "forcibly entered her home" and treated her in a "despicable manner."
Moghaddam has reportedly been charged with spreading propaganda against the state, disrupting public opinion, and acting against national security. The court has set a bail of some $110,000 for her release.
The One Million Signatures Campaign was launched in 2006 as a nonpolitical movement that calls on parliament to change what it calls "discriminatory laws in Iran," including laws on inheritance, divorce, and child custody, which the campaign says treat women unfairly.
In an interview with RFE/RL earlier this year, Moghaddam said it is time to abolish such laws, which were set up many centuries ago.
"What I say now is the opinion of all Iranian women," Moghaddam said. "We live in a century when women take an active part in political, economic, social, and cultural affairs alongside men. We work, we study, and we should not be considered as half of a man. Sixty-four percent of [Iranian] university students are women. They cannot accept a 1,400-year-old rule that considers a woman as half of a man."
Some 600 Iranian activists have signed an open letter condemning Moghaddam's arrest and calling for her release. "Moghaddam has been active for years in creating jobs for women and forming women's cooperatives," the letter says. "Who would believe that she has harmed national security or caused public offense?"
Rights activists say that the arrests of peaceful campaigners, independent journalists, and anyone who is critical of the government have become routine under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's government. International organizations including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have harshly criticized Tehran for cracking down on all voices of dissent in the country.
RSF has called Iran "the biggest prison in the Middle East" for journalists and authors whose views differ from the government's. According to the media rights group, dozens of Iranian journalists and rights campaigners have been imprisoned and accused of undermining national security for "simply being outspoken."
On April 5, 30-year-old Elham Yaqubi was arrested and accused of threatening national security for taking part in a peaceful demonstration.
On the same day, Parvin Ardalan, an award-winning rights activist, was charged with spreading propaganda against the state, a month after she was banned from traveling to Sweden to collect her Olof Palme Award.
Ardalan has been summoned to court at least three times this year. She received a summons two days after the Olof Palme Foundation announced that she had won the prestigious award for human rights activists.
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Volume 47, April 15, 2008
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