May 15, 2008 VOLUME 48
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
On May 7th, one of Iran's most influential and active opposition group, the women-led PMOI, won a significant legal battle in UK and now awaits to be de-proscribed from the British list of foreign terrorist organization. According to The Sunday Telegraphy,"...three of Britain's most senior judges, led by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, gave a final rebuff to the Government's bizarre efforts, over seven years, to appease the murderous regime of the mullahs in Teheran by outlawing their main democratic opponents as terrorists."
Two years ago, WFAFI hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington DC, to raise awareness on the need for similar US policy on Iran. The panelists highlighted the need for reevaluation of the PMOI's status in US and lifting of the terror designation against the group. In light of the UK's ruling, their recommendation holds even a stronger ground today and should be considered as the group's status comes up for review in October 2008. Regardless of one's view of the group, the PMOI is not a terrorist organization. Their designation on the State Department's foreign terrorist organization was politically motivated and legally lacked due process. One hopes there is some political courage and will left in Washington to correct the past mistakes and allow all Iranian opposition groups a leveled playing field to publicly and freely challenge the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
NCRI Website - April 17 2008
Hossein Tayeb, deputy commander of the paramilitary Bassij Force, a domestic subordinate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced the formation of new "Security Patrols," reported the official news agency IRNA on Wednesday."The major goal for running the new Bassij patrols is to guarantee the safety and security of citizens in urban areas as well as combating 'hooligans and thugs.'...In addition, the [occasional] checkpoints run by the Bassij [in the neighborhoods] will be available, as before, at the time of possible crisis," said Tayeb. Separately, Ahmadreza Radan, chief of the State Security Force (SSF) -- mullahs' suppressive police -- in Greater Tehran announced what he called the new "phase" of the so-called "boosting public security plan," reported the state-run news agency Mehr on Wednesday. "In enforcing the "public security" boost, Tehran's metropolitan police will get tough on "mal-veiling" in private companies and small businesses such as coffee shops, internet cafes, clubs and restaurants. The goal is to combat the lawbreakers and criminals," added Radan. Running new security patrols by the Bassij force in the streets of the cities across the country, under the pretext of increasing public security, is aimed at combating the volatile state of the society. Fighting the so-called "mal-veiling" is designed to suppress the growing public uprisings by workers, students, women and youths in Iran.
NCRI Website - April 17, 2008
In a rear move, even by Iranian regime's standards,
female members of the State Security Forces (SSF) -- mullahs' suppressive police
– searched women shoppers' purchased items for what they called "immodest buys."
This was the sense outside a major department store on the busy Seven Tir Square
(Rezaiiha) last Sunday. SSF agents, besides checking young women for what they
had on carefully examined hand bags and shopped items of every woman leaving the
store. What followed was even stranger; the police women would questioned the
shopper with items deemed immoral outerwear about their reasons for buying such
goods. The new move was enforced last April with the so-called "boosting public
security" by the SSF in particular aimed at what was described as "mal-veiling."
The length and severity of the crackdown has been unprecedented in the under the
clerical rule in recent years. Vans of the moral police are still a common sight
in Tehran's main squares as officials monitor passing women. Women deemed
inappropriately dressed are usually hauled to a moral detention centre to sign a
written statement not to repeat the offence and await family members to bring
them more modest clothing.
Agance France Presse - April 17, 2008
An Iranian court has given a women's rights activist and journalist a suspended flogging and jail sentence for disturbing the public order, media reports said today. Nasrin Afzali "was sentenced to 10 lashes and a six-month jail term for disturbing public order. "The sentences will be suspended for two years," her lawyer Mohammad Mostafai was quoted by the Etemad newspaper as saying. Afzali was arrested in March last year along with 32 other women in front of a revolutionary court where five women's rights activists were on trial for organising a protest in a Tehran square advocating equal rights. "My client had appeared in front of the court as a journalist to cover the trial of five women who had participated in the Haft-e Tir square rally," Mostafai said. Afzali is also a member of the women's committee in a radical pro-reform student group, the Office to Consolidate Unity. Iran has put mounting pressure on women's rights advocates and in recent months several have been arrested for calling for changes to Iranian laws that discriminate against women or for taking part in public protests. It is not the first time that Iran has handed a women's rights activist a lashing sentence. Leading activist Marzieh Mortazi Langroudi was given a suspended sentence of 10 lashes and six months in prison in February for her participation in the solidarity protest outside the revolutionary court. The five feminists were accused of acting against national security for the June 2006 demonstration in Haft-e Tir square, where 70 people were arrested amid allegations of police brutality. Protesters demanded equal rights for women in marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody.
Agance France Presse - April 27, 2008
Iran's toy market is being inundated by models of
Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and the young must be protected from
their harmful cultural effects, the prosecutor general was quoted as saying on
Sunday."Promoting figures like Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and
the uncontrolled import of CDs of video games and films should alarm all the
country's officials," Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi was quoted as saying by the
student ISNA news agency. "We need to find substitutes to ward off this
onslaught, which aims at children and young people whose personality is in the
process of being formed," he added. Dori Najafabadi's comments came in a letter
to an Iranian vice president, urging measures to protect "Islamic culture and
RSF - May 9 , 2008
The international press freedoms watchdog Reporters
Without Borders (RSF) urged Iranian authorities earlier this week to end a
recent spate of systematic attacks against women's rights publications. The
statement by RSF comes on the back of the jailing of three women for six months
and a two-year suspended sentence ordered earlier this month against the editor
of feminist website "Change for Equality", Parvin Ardalan.
Ardalan's sentence comes after she was accused last year of "illegal assembly and refusing to obey police orders with the intention of harming national security", a charge brought against her for her attendance at a demonstration in Tehran calling for equal rights between men and women. Ardalan's case hit the headlines after she was awarded the Olaf Palme prize for her work in forwarding women's rights, but was not permitted to leave the country to collect her award. Nasrin Afzali, Nahid Jafari and Marzieh Mortazi, three feminist activists were in March sentenced to six-month jail terms as well as suspended sentences of six lashes each. The three were accused of "disturbing public order" for their part in a demonstration in support of feminist colleagues on trial for their activities. RSF went on to add that a number of women's rights websites had become inaccessible. In October 2007, RSF ranked Iran in 166th place out of 169 countries on its annual world press freedom rankings.
Saoud al-Zahed, AlArabiya.net, May 11, 2008
Iran's Supreme Judiciary Council condemned a 28-year-old homeless woman to death for killing and dismembering her five-day-old baby. The woman, Suhayla, admitted to murdering her infant son, saying she wanted to save him from facing the same fate as her, Iranian daily Etemmad Melli reported. Suhayla has lived on the streets since the age of 15, when she ran away from home. She worked as a prostitute for years in Tehran and was arrested and committed to a social rehabilitation center where she had her baby. When the judge asked why she dismembered the child, she replied: "I am training myself to kill properly so I can take revenge on the one who made me what I am." According to sociology professor, Amanullah Quraee, there are 300,000 homeless women in Tehran. A report published on International Women's Day said more than 8 million Iranian women live under the poverty line and that 86% of homeless women were victims of sexual exploitation. The report added that prostitution in Iran had reached its highest rates ever and that there were around 8,000 pick-up places in Tehran.
E-Zan Featured Reports
Iran to confront 'bad veiling' in offices, cafes
Agance France Presse
April 17 2008
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian police will confront women in private offices, or even socialising in cafes, whose dress is deemed improper, as part of a continued morality crackdown, Tehran's police chief said on Thursday.
Police have been enforcing the crackdown for the past year and its morality patrol officers have handed tens of thousands of warnings to women on Tehran's streets.
Including offices and cafes -- which so far have not been targeted -- would mark a major expansion of the drive.
"As part of the campaign to increase security in society, the police in the capital will soon act against bad veiling in private companies, cafes, internet cafes and restaurants," Commander Ahmad Reza Radan said.
"The police will deal strictly against those who do not respect the law," he said, according to the Mehr news agency.
He added that police would also be acting against "satan-worshipping" groups but did not give further details.
The length and severity of the crackdown has been unprecedented in the Islamic republic in recent years. Vans of the moral police are still a common sight in Tehran's main squares as officials monitor passing women.
Women deemed inappropriately dressed are usually hauled to a moral detention centre to sign a written pledge not to repeat the offence and await family members to bring them more modest clothing.
Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, every post-pubescent woman, regardless of her nationality and religion, has been required to observe the Islamic dress code in public in Iran.
But the law is flouted by many, especially in middle class and affluent urban areas.
The police have insisted that their drive is almost universally popular with the public but women who sport loose headscarves and tight short coats are still a regular feature on Tehran's streets.
Stop the Presses
Le Monde Diplomatique
By Wendy Kristianasen
government has shut down the magazine Zanan after 17 years and 151 issues,
ending its advocacy of women’s rights and its fearless exposures of wrongs
against women under the current regime.
The closure of the magazine Zanan (Women) on 28 January clearly shows that women’s rights activists in Iran face growing repression. The grounds for closure were that it “endangered the spiritual, mental and intellectual health of its readers” and gave them the idea of “insecurity in society, disturbed public rights, weakened military and revolutionary institutes.” It published articles that “led people to believe that the Islamic Republic is unsafe for women.”.
This was just a pretext to close the magazine because the women’s rights movement was working, through the Campaign for Equality (mainly but not all female), to get a million Iranians to sign a petition calling for a change to laws that discriminate against women. The peaceful gathering of signatures has been under way since 2006, attended by online blogs and YouTube videos.
Shahla Sherkat, 52, a divorcee with two children and a degree in psychology from Tehran University, is a veteran campaigner. She began Zanan in 1991 so that women could find out what mattered to them; given the inclement atmosphere of Iranian journalism, the magazine’s longevity, 151 issues over 17 years, is a tribute to her careful, effective stewardship. She used to say: “I cannot write about everything so I am not going to modify the truth in what I can write.” This is why Zanan was widely respected, and, just as important in Iran, respectful.
Its closure is backward step for the authorities and the loss of an important advocate for women’s rights. Sherkat is fighting for its reopening, as one would expect of her. In the days after the revolution, she struggled to find a post in a newspaper, the state-run Zan-e Rouz (Today’s Woman). In 1990, when it restricted articles to women’s rights within an Islamic framework, she opened Zanan.
In 2001 she was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment on vaguely worded security provisions for taking part in a conference in Berlin, a forum for discussion of the February 2000 parliamentary election at which the reformist Muhammad Khatami swept to victory: the event was disrupted by opponents of Khatami and the new Tehran government. Sherkat has been recognised: in 2005 she received the Louis Lyons Award from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Rights that others take for granted
Zanan’s writers have sought to expose honour killings, the sex trade, marital abuse, etc. Back issues have such stories as “Ending the stoning of women” and “I defended my self-respect” (about a woman who relinquished her right to seek the execution of a murderer). It covered activist Shirin Ebadi’s Nobel peace prize award and wrote of the meaning of this for Iranian women. There have been reports about women parliamentarians; violence against women; the plight of women in south Lebanon. Its last issue featured Benazir Bhutto and ran an interview with Asma Jahangir, a member of the UN human rights team.
Zanan addressed rights that people outside Iran take for granted. In Iran, women still face widespread discrimination under the law and are excluded from areas of public life; they cannot be full judges in a criminal or revolutionary court or stand for the presidency. They do not have equal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody or inheritance. The legal age for marriage is 13 but fathers can apply for permission to marry their daughters younger, and to much older men. Criminal harm suffered by a woman is less severely punished. Evidence given by women in court is worth half that of men. There are random attacks too: last year intelligence minister Gholam Hossein Ejei accused the women’s rights movement of being part of an “enemy conspiracy to bring about a soft subversion of the Islamic Republic”.
Zanan was both stimulus and encouragement for a generation of current events and investigative journalists. Its reports on women’s concerns and practical solutions usually managed to stay just on the right side of what press bodies considered acceptable and to avoid grounds for closure and prosecution.
A new generation
Sherkat’s and Zanan’s legacy is apparent in a new generation of women activists; they include 33 arrested in March 2007 outside a courthouse where they were protesting at the unfair trial of five women charged with organising a peaceful demonstration in June 2006 for an end to legal discrimination.
Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, 50, a writer and activist with a BA in Islamic sciences and MSc in communications, was among the 33. An active member of the Stop Stoning Forever campaign, which tries to win reprieves for those sentenced to death, and of the Campaign for Equality initiatives, she has been imprisoned for a month; she went to jail as an NGO activist and came out a feminist. Last year she was charged with “illegal assembly, collusion against national security, disruption of public order”; her case remains without closure, which is used to intimidate her.
Parvin Ardalan, 36, another activist, took part in the June 2006 demonstration and was sentenced on vaguely worded national security provisions to six months’ imprisonment (she is now awaiting an appeal). She won the 2007 Olof Palme award for outstanding achievement but was taken off the aircraft about to fly to Sweden. Her sister went instead and Parvin gave her acceptance speech by video. In an interview with the Madrid newspaper La Razon, Ardalan said: “The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up the pressure on women”. She admitted she was sometimes afraid but “we have nothing to hide. We know we’re leaving ourselves open to imprisonment again but we carry on meeting because fear is already a part of our lives.”
Shadi Sadr, 34, has a BA in law and MA in international law from Tehran University; she founded Iran’s first women’s legal counselling clinic in 2004. She takes on cases pro bono, from teenage runaways to women sentenced to death by stoning for prostitution or for murdering abusive husbands. She is a key activist in the Stop Stoning Forever campaign.
That Iranian women have an active a role in public life is tribute to generations of campaigners who ensured that their rights were not forgotten during and after the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Shahla Sherkat was part of that tradition.
There have been gains. Women MPs introduced 33 new bills in the 2000-04 parliament, 16 of which became law: the minimum age for marriage for girls increased from 9 to 13; divorced mothers won custody over their sons to age seven (previously it was until two). There was even a proposal that Iran sign the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (Cedaw).
Women can now be judicial advisers, seek divorce, or refuse to let their husband take a second wife. They can stand for public office (and are beginning to do so in the city councils, notably in Tehran) and hold managerial positions in the white-collar sector. And they are 64% of Iran’s university students. In spite of the latest blow signalled by Zanan’s closure, Parvin Ardalan affirms that “the women’s movement in Iran is powerful and unstoppable.”
Iran women activists get suspended lashing
Reuters News Agency
By Fredrik Dahl
Apr 22, 2008
Three Iranian women's rights campaigners have received suspended lashing and jail sentences for taking part in a rally, a fellow activist said on Tuesday.
It was the latest sign of the authorities clamping down on activists demanding greater women's rights in the conservative Islamic Republic, which rejects Western accusations it is discriminating against women.
"Women's rights activists particularly object to sentences that include lashing," said Sussan Tahmasebi, who herself is appealing a partly suspended two-year prison sentence for involvement in a banned demonstration in the capital in 2006.
"These sentences are intended to embarrass and humiliate human rights activists," she told Reuters.
She said Minou Mortazi, Nasrin Afzali and Nahid Jafari were sentenced to six months in jail and 10 lashes for attending a gathering outside a Tehran court in March last year where Tahmasebi and three other activists were standing trial.
The sentences were suspended so they will only be carried out if they are found guilty of another crime within two years.
A fourth activist who attended the March event, Zeinab Payghambarzadeh, was handed a two-year suspended jail term.
The court issued its ruling on the cases of Afzali, Jafari and Payghambarzadeh a few days ago while Mortazi received her sentence
They were all charged with taking part in an illegal gathering and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security, disruption of public order and refusal to follow police orders, Tahmasebi added.
"They are going to appeal their sentences," Tahmasebi said. "I think they are unjust. It was a peaceful demonstration."
A judiciary spokesman had no immediate comment on the cases.
Women are legally entitled to hold most jobs in Iran, but it remains dominated by men.
Activists, backed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, say women face institutionalized discrimination that makes them "second-class citizens" when it comes to divorce, inheritance, child custody and other aspects of life.
Iranian officials reject allegations of discrimination against women. Clerics say women in Iran are protected from the sex-symbol status they have in the West and insist the Islamic state is implementing God's divine law.
Western diplomats see the detention of women activists as part of a wider crackdown on dissent, which they say may be in response to international pressure over Iran's nuclear work. Tehran rejects Western accusations it is seeking to build bombs.
More Repression By Iranian Regime
25 April 2008
Voice of America
government of Iran continues its assault on the rights of the Iranian people.
An Iranian court has upheld prison sentences of up to thirty months for three Amir Kabir University students. Majid Tavakkoli, Ahmad Ghassaban and Ehsan Mansouri were convicted of what they say are trumped-up charges of publishing material insulting to Islam. The three have been confined to Evin prison since their arrest in the spring of 2007. Their families claim they have been subject to severe physical and psychological torture.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International recently called for an investigation into allegations of torture involving three other imprisoned Iranian students. Behrouz Karimizadeh, Peyman Piran, and Ali Kantouri were arrested and detained in December 2007. Mr. Piran and Mr. Karimizadeh are believed to be in solitary confinement in Evin prison. Mr. Kantouri, who is being held in Ghezel Hesar prison in the city of Karaj, reportedly had his ribs broken under interrogation when he refused to be filmed admitting to false charges.
Women’s rights activists are also suffering at the hands of government authorities. Parvin Ardalan, who was recently awarded Sweden’s Olof Palme prize for her work in support of women’s equality, has been charged with spreading propaganda against the government.
Two Kurdish Iranian women’s rights activists, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi remain in prison after five months, and were recently accused of endangering national security. Three other women – Marzieh Mortazi, Nasrin Afzali, and Nahid Jafari have been given suspended lashing and jail sentences after taking part in a peaceful equal rights rally. The sentences will be carried out if they are found guilty of another crime within two years.
U.S. President George Bush was recently asked why he refused to meet without preconditions with the leaders of Iran. His answer speaks to the plight of Iranians who suffer to promote human rights:
“What’s lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? What’s lost is it will send the wrong message. It will send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.”
Iran’s leaders are keeping the Iranian people from “realizing their true rights,” says President Bush. The U.S. strongly supports the aspirations of Iran’s citizens to live in freedom.
'Rapping' Iranian Men
May 11, 2008
Radio Free Europe
allowed to sing in Iran about the harsh treatment of women in society, the
Iranian rap group Tapesh 2012 (Pulse 2012) is doing just that -- from its base
in Germany. The group's latest song, "Ma Mard Nistim" ("We Are Not Men"),
focuses on the Iranian feminist movement and its struggle to overcome violence
The band's founder, Omid Pur-Yusofi, says "We Are Not Men" is a critique of Iran's traditional male-dominated society and the harsh conditions many Iranian women face.
He says those difficult conditions exist even in his own family, which has lived in Germany for 20 years.
"My parents are educated, but I can feel patriarchy in my family," he said. "After all these years [living in Germany] there is still a sense of patriarchy in my father's heart. It's been a problem for my mother even after more than 50 years of living with him."
A quick look at the comments posted on YouTube about the song shows that it has thus far attracted a lot of praise -- and has been viewed more than 32,000 times since it was posted on that website just a little over one week ago.
But the group's lyricist, 27-year-old Shahin Najafi, says he expects some negative reaction from Iranian men about the song. He admits that the title, "We Are Not Men," is provocative, as "men" refers to males' power in the traditional Iranian society.
"This is the reality," he said. "If you are cross-eyed and somebody reminds you about it, you'll get angry because that is the reality. When somebody of the same gender talks about your faults as a man, you will get angry."
Concert In Iran?
Najafi started his career in Iran as a poet. He also was the leader of an underground music band before moving to Germany three years ago following what he describes as increasing pressure from Iranian authorities.
Tapesh 2012 -- which also includes German and Russian members -- wants to hold a concert in Tehran by 2012. Pur-Yusofi says he is optimistic about this goal despite the uncertainty of the current regime in Iran allowing such a thing to take place.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge," he said. "Because if we believe in something we may eventually realize it."
Tapesh 2012 has recorded two albums, "We are Iran" and "From Tehran to Berlin." It is currently working on its third album. They also have recorded a song called ""The Power Of Students In Iran"" that talks of about the plight of progressive Iranian students in today's Iran and the harrassment they face.
"We Are Not Men" was released amid increased pressure from authorities on the Iranian women's-rights movement, especially the campaign to collect 1 million signatures in support of equal rights for men and women.
A leading figure in that campaign, Parvin Ardalan, said this week that an Iranian court had given her a suspended jail sentence for her role in a protest in Tehran in 2007.
At least three other Iranian women's rights activists -- Nahid Jafari, Nasrin Afzali, and Marzieh Mortazi-Langarudi -- received suspended flogging and jail sentences earlier this year for their participation in the same protest.
A great victory -- but at what terrible price?
By Melanie Phillips
May 7, 2008
eminently predictable, but it is still a great victory. Today the Court of
Appeal unanimously and emphatically declared that the ban under the Terrorism
Act of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahideen of Iran
(PMOI), was illegal. Since the judges also refused to allow the Home Secretary
even the possibility of an appeal, the government must now de-proscribe the PMOI
as ordered by the court.
This not only brings to an end a shameful chapter in Britain’s long appeasement of the tyrannical Iranian regime but also offers a sliver of hope that that regime might now be toppled. One might have thought that this was an outcome devoutly to be wished for by the governments of the west. Far better, after all, that the ayatollahs should be deposed by popular will of the Iranian people than that the west should be forced to go to war to prevent Iran from going nuclear and thus holding the entire world to ransom in pursuit of the mullahs’ aim of bringing about an apocalypse and the defeat of the west. But the proscription of the PMOI, not only by the UK but also by the EU and the US, has meant that it has been unable to raise money and organise resistance to help the Iranian people to rise up against the regime that enslaves them.
That regime is weak, as can be seen from the (almost totally unreported in the UK) atrocities against dissidents who are being hanged or gruesomely mutilated almost every week. If the PMOI had been able to campaign publicly against the regime and to bring its atrocities to light, the pressure might already have brought about its demise. But far from helping bring this about, the UK government shamefully chose to suck up to the mullahs when, in 2001, the then Home Secretary Jack Straw banned the PMOI as a terrorist organisation at the request of the Iranian government — the true terrorists of Iran.
Yes, the PMOI has a past history of violence (renounced in 2001) but never against the west, only in defence of life and liberty in Iran — first against the cruel repression of the Shah’s regime, and then against the unspeakable savagery of the ayatollahs. Forced to establish a base in Saddam’s Iraq, the PMOI — Shia Muslims who are committed to uphold human rights, to renounce the death penalty and medieval Islamic punishment and to separate mosque and state, thus replacing Islamic theocracy by secular democracy — are now using that base in Ashraf to encourage the Iraqi Shia to repel Iran and al Qaeda and to work with America in stabilising the country.
As a result, the US now affords the PMOI protected status in Ashraf. Yet in 2003, the US and the UK actually bombed the PMOI bases in Ashraf — having pledged to do so before the start of hostilities in Iraq as a quid pro quo for Iran staying out of the war. In the aftermath, however, coalition forces signed an agreement of ‘mutual understanding and co-ordination’ with the PMOI. This prompted General Odierno — then commander of the US Army 4th division and now the designated successor to General Petraeus as commander of the coalition — to say that the PMOI appeared to be committed to democracy in Iran and its cooperation with the coalition should prompt a review of its terrorist status. Yet although in Iraq the PMOI are now ‘protected persons’, the group is still proscribed in the US and EU.
War, as we all know, should only ever be a last resort; but sometimes that last resort is unavoidable. So it is with Iran. A nuclear Iran is — or should be — simply unthinkable and in the last resort war may therefore be unavoidable. But if that war should indeed come about, the governments of Britain, America and Europe will bear a very heavy responsibility indeed. Because such a war could have been avoided had they done everything in their power to bring about the end of the mullahs’ regime by peaceful means. They did not do that; instead they tried to appease it by outlawing and even bombing the very people who offered the best chance of bringing about its end — and who also, incidentally, stand for the democratic and secular Islamic society which the western world purports to be so desperate to see develop.
The result has been the continued oppression and misery of the people of Iran; the death, torture and mutilation of tens of thousands of brave Iranian dissidents fighting for freedom; and a gift to the Iranian regime of that most precious of all commodities — time to build its nuclear arsenal while continuing to blow up western soldiers and attack western interests. Now, with the Israelis warning that Iran may be as little as one year away from building a nuclear bomb, time may simply have run out for the possibility of toppling the regime. If so, history will record the behaviour of the UK, US and Europe towards Iran ever since the revolution of 1979 as one of the most shameful, cowardly and lethal episodes of appeasement in western history.
One of the most distressing aspects of the war of civilisation is the way in which the west persists in appeasing its enemies while cutting off its allies at the knees. Today the English judiciary (for once) struck a blow for freedom and against tyranny and its appeasement. The beleaguered people of Iran who yearn to live in peace and freedom should know that today at least, Britain has said: ‘We are with you’.
Human Rights and Sharia Law in Iran
The American Chronicle
By Ursula Siebert
May 13, 2008
BBC America reported in February that Great Britain is discussing the introduction of Sharia Law for its Muslim population.
The most reverend Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the world´s Anglicans opined that the introduction of Sharia Law into the British legal system seemed to be unavoidable. Williams said adopting parts of Islamic Sharia Law could help social cohesion. How can a Western democracy embrace or even tolerate a law that is the total opposite of our legal system in the West defying Human Rights?
Sharia law is executed in various Muslim countries, e.g. in Saudi Arabia and Iran. In an interview with a German magazine, the Iranian attorney Dschabbar Solati, gives a rare insight into the legal system in Iran, or what is perceived to be legal under Sharia Law.
Death by stoning, an antediluvian sounding method, is the penalty for adultery. Solati has two clients who were found guilty and subsequently convicted to death by stoning. The only proof in court was a tape taken by the husband of his client. It shows the "adulteress" as being in the same room with a man who is not a relative. No sign of any indecent behavior otherwise. Nobody except the judge was allowed to see the video. The defendant´s attorney himself, Solati, was not allowed to examine the incriminating evidence. Often witness testimony, even hearsay can be enough to convict an accused. The lucky ones receive punishment of 99 lashes. According to Amnesty International, women are over-represented in the sad statistic for a crime that does not even exist outside the Muslim world.
The execution follows rigid rules: Three faithful believers must be present as witnesses. Stones are usually the size of oranges, not bigger because delinquents are not supposed to die from the first or second stone. They are buried standing up: men up to their hips, women to their chest. For more details of the cruel, bloody spectacle read "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, or go and see the film staged in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.
Other execution methods are shooting, the electric chair, and — the most popular — hanging, routinely from construction cranes. According to Sharia Law, the discriminatory age of legal responsibility is 9 years for girls and 15 for boys. Iran´s murderous mullahs may even stone children with impunity!
Iran assured the European Union in December 2002 there would be no further stonings. The actual number of people who have been stoned since then is unknown. According to AI it, there were at least three. What is known is that 317 people were executed in Iran in 2007. Only China kills more fervently (470). In Iran it´s not against the law to stone a person, only to use the wrong stone.
God help us! Which God? The Muslim or the Anglican one? As far as I´m concerned, I believe in the prevalence of the rule of law and human rights. Human rights and Sharia Law are mutually exclusive.
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Volume 48, May 15, 2008
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