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Monday, August 27, 2007

September 7th: International day of action against executions in Iran

“We, who are imprisoned and who are on the death row in … Iranian prisons, call upon you all to come out on September 7, 2007 in a global action to bring attention to our situation in order to prevent these executions… Execution is unjust and should be abolished in Iran and all over the world.”

This is part of a letter by 26 political prisoners and death-row inmates in Iran which was published on 25th August. The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) calls on all concerned people throughout the world, all Iranian opposition organisations and all international human rights and labour organisations to respond to this call of the political prisoners by protesting on 7th September everywhere and in any way they can against executions and for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran. We call on you to hold and/or take part in rallies, send email and fax messages to the Iranian regime and its embassies abroad and pressurize the governments of the world and international bodies.

We will hold demonstrations on 7th September in all the major cities in Europe and North America. We call on everyone who is appalled by the barbarity of the Islamic regime in Iran, all Iranians residing abroad and all organisations of the Iranian opposition to take part in these demonstrations shoulder to shoulder with the prisoners incarcerated in the Islamic regime’s dungeons and with the protesting people of Iran.

The political prisoners’ call is addressed to people around the world and to people in Iran. We call on workers, students, teachers and all women and men in Iran, who are fighting for human rights and freedom, to use all their initiatives to make September 7th a powerful day of action against executions and for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran.

This barbarity must stop.

27 August 2007

Your continued support is needed

25 August 2007

To global unions and world’s labour organisations

Your continued support is needed to beat the current wave of repression and executions in Iran

Dear friends

Your August 9th international day of action was hugely welcomed and appreciated. Even if this has not yet led to the release of Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi, it was a unique show of solidarity with workers and labour activists in Iran who are under constant persecution by the regime.

I’m sure you are aware that in the past few months the Islamic regime in Iran has stepped up its persecution of protesting workers, women and students. This is, of course, what the regime has been doing over the past 28 years. However, the current wave of repression and executions is specifically targeting the widespread protests and strikes and the general anti-government climate in the country. The regime wants to intimidate the people. That’s why it has put up gallows in most cities and hanged scores in public in the past few weeks. It has stepped up the number of arrests and is subjecting political prisoners to severe tortures. It is sentencing workers’ leaders to prison and to flogging. It has derided the August 9th day of action by dragging even more labour activists to court, hoping to dampen the resolve of international labour organisations…

The truth is that with the economic and political crisis it is in, the bitter hatred that people in Iran feel towards it and the international isolation it is under, the regime in Iran is in a very shaky position. International actions such as those on February 15th last year and August 9th this year are highly effective ways of exerting pressure on the regime in the face of its inhuman and anti-labour policies.

This is what the Islamic Republic regime has been doing towards workers just in the past few weeks:

On 9th August, the day of international action in support of Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi, five executive-committee members of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, namely Ebrahim Madadi, Yaghoub Salimi, Ebrahim Nowzari Gohari, Seyed Davoud Razavi and Homayoon Jaaberi, as well as two other individuals by the names of Taher Sadeghi and Fatemeh Hajiloo, were arrested for gathering outside Mansoor Ossanlou’s house. Three of those detained have since been released. However, Ebrahim Madadi, Yaghoub Salimi, Seyed Davoud Razavi and Homayoon Jaaberi continue to be detained in Section 240 of Evin Prison.

On 15th August Sheis Amani, president of the Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers, and Sedigh Karimi, member of the union’s executive board, were sentenced to 2½ years in prison on charges of “disturbing the peace”, “actions against national security”, “collecting donations for the family of Mahmoud Salehi”, “membership in the National Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers” and contacts with the Worker-communist Party of Iran, Communist Party of Iran” and others.

11 other members of the National Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers, namely Khaled Savari (deputy president), Eghbal Latifi, Yadollah Moradi, Tayeb Mollaee, Fares Gavilian, Sedigh Amjadi, Abbas Andaryari, Habibollah Kalkani, Mahiyeddin Rajabi, Tayeb Chatani and Sedigh Sobhani, were arrested in the May Day gathering in the city of Sanandaj on the charge of “disturbing the peace” and on 5th August were sentenced to 91 days in prison and 10 strikes of the whip each.

A number of teachers’ leaders have been dragged to court in an attempt to pre-empt resumption of teachers’ fight over pay and conditions when schools return in September. Alireza Hashemi, general secretary of the Teachers’ Organisation of Iran, was sentenced to 3 years’ in prison on charges of inciting teachers to strike, assembly and sit-in and actions against national security. Seyed Hashem Khaastar and Hadi Lotfi, teacher activists in the city of Mashad, have been tried on similar charges. Iraj Tobihay Najafabadi has been asked to submit within 10 days his defence to the Security Office (Herasat) of his workplace.

Mahmoud Salehi, 5 months since his re-arrest and despite his serious health problems, and Mansoor Ossanlou, one month since his abduction, are still in prison.

I look forward to your continued efforts in support of the working class and people in Iran. Your actions have boosted their spirits and strengthened their resolve. For our part, we will continue to mobilise the world public opinion, and have no doubt that with your support we can beat the current wave of repression and executions.

Long live international labour solidarity!

Best regards

Shahla Daneshfar
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Free all political prisoners unconditionally

The Islamic republic of Iran has embarked on a wave of suppression in the last few months to confront extensive popular mass protest movement in Iran. Executions have increased, arrest and detention, suppression of women and youth has increased and has taken a brutal turn. Arrested protesting teacher have been given long sentences or been sent into exile. The torture and punishment of the political prisoners increased.

In the last few weeks more than 50 people have been executed in many cities Iran branded as “thugs” and “corrupt and violators of moral of the society”. Many more are waiting execution and this is heavily threatening many political prisoners in Iran. A number of political prisoners from Gohar Dasht prison have asked us specifically that an international delegation visit the prisoners and investigate their conditions and their demands. We hope that their demands positively responded to.

All of the above requires a dedicated attention and action of the Amnesty International and human rights organizations.

The Committee for Freedom of Political Prisoners in Iran calls on Amnesty International and all humanitarian organizations to take immediate action to force the Islamic regime of Iran to abandon torture and execution of political prisoner and demand that:

Free all political prisoners unconditionally
End torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners
End capital punishment and creation of atmosphere of terror

The committee for freedom of political prisoners calls on all humanitarian organization and the Amnesty International to organize a international campaign for freedom of political organizations to confront the attack by the Islamic republic on the people of Iran and their struggle for freedom.

Behrooz Mehrabaadi
The Spokesperson
Committee for Freedom of Political Prisoners
23 August 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

On imprisoned students

To Amnesty International, Human Rights Organizations and Student Associations and Groups

I am writing you this letter regarding the situation of imprisoned students of Amirkabir University (Polytechnic) in Tehran. The Islamic Republic of Iran has launched a new wave of barbaric oppression in universities. Many students have been banned from studying; tens of others have been arrested and tortured. Three students of Amirkabir University, Majid Tavakoli, Ahmad Qassaban, and Ehsan Mansouri, have been accused of writing and distributing articles against Islamic Republic authorities and against Islam and they have been arrested. The aforementioned students have rejected the accusations; they have enough evidence to show that those articles were counterfeits made by the regime’s agents to be used as alibi against students.

These students have been kept in individual cells of notorious Evin Prison, Section 209 for the last four months. They have been subjected to cruelest tortures. They have been prevented from having access to lawyer and from being visited and they have been pushed to confession on TV. Recently, they have also been prevented from phone communication with their families. Judge Mortazavi, who is one of judiciary authorities of the Islamic Republic, has threatened the families of these students that if they do not keep quiet and go on protesting they will not be able to see their children. Ehsan Mansouri’s father says “it seems that the situation of detained students will be as unfortunate as before because Ehsan, in a former meeting, had told me that if the phone communication is cut it means that we are definitely in individual cells.” Brother of Majid Tavakoli, the other detained student, says “Judge Mortazavi told us in an aggressive manner that the students have not been tortured, but from now on they will be.”

Two other students, Hedayat Qazali and Sabah Nassiri, who study at Tehran University and who are persons in charge of student paper Rojhame have been detained by police forces more than a month ago. There has been no information about their situation, where they have been kept and the reason of their detention. The families of these two students are worried about the fate of their children; they are worried that these students are being subject to pressure and torture.

The Islamic Republic, which have been criticized and attacked by Iranian people, is trying to continue its being with the use of oppression, atrocities and a new wave of executions. The Islamic regime attacks the youth because they reject the Islamic veiling (hijab) and because they want to be happy. The regime arrests young people; labeling them vagabond and tramp; execute them in public, and publicize the execution scenes from its TV stations. Despite all these atrocities and barbaric acts the youth and the students do not step back from their struggle against the regime and to change the existing situation and they continue their fight in different forms.

Youth Communist Organization calls on Amnesty International, human rights organizations, student associations and groups all around the world to support the struggle of Iranian youth and students against the anti-humane Islamic Republic.

The Islamic Republic should be pressured internationally to stop its criminal activities, to stop harassing and oppressing the youth and the students, and to free the three detained Polytechnic students and all other political prisoners.

I call upon all human rights organizations and all the libertarians around the globe to stand by Iranian people in any form they can and to take part in the international struggle and to participate in the actions against the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic should be flooded with protesting letters coming from all around the world.

The Iranian youth deserve the strongest support from humanitarians and libertarians all around the world.

Navid Minayee
Secretary General of the Communist Youth Organization
August 20, 2007

Media soft on criticising Islam

To read Guardian coverage of the panel discussion I participated in at the Edinburgh International TV Festival this past Friday entitled 'Don't Mention Islam', click here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Don't mention Islam

I will be speaking on a panel called Don't mention Islam at the Edinburgh International Television festival this Friday.

Other panellists:

Andrew Anthony, Author and Journalist
Arzu Merali, Islamic Human Rights Commission
Inayat Bunglawala, Vice Chair, Muslim Council of Britain
Kevin Sutcliffe, Deputy Head of News & Current Affairs, Channel 4
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain
Peter Horrocks, Head of Television News, BBC News

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Letter from death row political prisoners in Iran to EU and human rights organisations

“Work for the abolition of the death penalty and save the lives of those sentenced to death!”

For around two years now the Islamic Republic government has stepped up the execution and torturing of political prisoners and dissidents on the pretext of security. The largest numbers of executions have taken place in the provinces of Khuzestan, Kurdistan, Azarbaijan and Tehran. All those sentenced to death have been sentenced behind closed doors and without any regard for international conventions.

These days in Tehran a number of prisoners on death row, mostly political prisoners, have been transferred from around the country to Rejaee Shahr Prison. Two of those prisoners, Mr Fazel Ramazani and Mr Hajat Morad Mohammadi, both political dissidents and activists who had spent 9 years in prison, were executed along with prisoners which the government labels as “rogues and ruffians”.

A few months ago Hojjat Zamani was executed. The torture of the prisoners is so severe that last year two prisoners, namely Akbar Mohammadi and Valiollah Feiz Mahdavi, were killed under mysterious circumstances. It is feared that the executions and tortures will continue.

We, the undersigned political prisoners, who have been sentenced to death, request the European Union, all international bodies and human rights organisations in democratic states to act urgently and appropriately for the abolition of the death penalty and the following up of our demands and those of other prisoners on death row.

Khaled Hardani
Nasser Kheirollahi
Shahram Pour-Mansouri
Latif Mohammadi
Mostafa Salimi
Farhang Pour-Mansouri

It should be noted that Shahram Pour-Mansouri was under 18 at the time of his arrest.

13 August 2007

A new wave of atrocities of the Islamic regime in Iran

As you know, the Islamic Republic regime in Iran has launched a new wave of torture and executions in Iran’s prisons. This has led to deep concerns amongst prisoners who are under a sentence of death.

On Tuesday July 3rd a number of political prisoners, as well as ordinary prisoners, in Evin Prison managed to contact me by phone to let me know of their concerns over the events of the last few weeks in prisons and of their request for immediate international measures to stop the Islamic regime committing further atrocities.

A number of political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison called me to tell me about their fears over a rumour that the wholesale executions of political prisoners which were carried out in1981 and 1988 may be repeated.

Also political prisoners from prisons in Tabriz, Shiraz and Zahedan have in the past few days told their friends and families about their concerns over the new wave of executions in Iran and called for actions both inside Iran and internationally to put an end to this barbarity.

A number of civil rights activists in Iran have also asked me to help set up meetings with the representatives of the UN, of the embassies of the European states and of the European Union in Iran.

There is now more urgency than ever for concerted efforts to exert strong pressure on the Islamic Republic to stop the executions. However, we should also bear in mind that the Islamic government in Iran often yields to international pressure temporarily but resumes its atrocities once the pressures have subsided. As long as the death penalty has not been abolished in Iran, the Islamic regime will continue killing people as a means of intimidation.

We are calling for pressure to be put on the Islamic regime in Iran not just for the revoking of all the death sentences, but also for the abolition of the death penalty altogether. This murder weapon must be taken away from this criminal regime for ever. I hope that by your extensive international actions you will respond positively to this concern and request of the prisoners.

I have promised all these people, the political prisoners, those sentenced to death and human rights activists that the International Committee against Execution and the Campaign against the Islamic Republic’s Atrocities will inform the general public and human rights organisations about their concern and request and that a series of measures will be put on our agenda.

I would ask all to intervene in these events with greater speed, putting further pressure on the Islamic Republic until it stops the deliberate murder of people and an immediate end is put to these crimes.


Mina Ahadi
August 3, 2007

In Iran they hang people in front of kids!

Help us end this barbarity!

The picture speaks for itself. A regime struggling to survive has embarked on mass executions (in public and televised), daily harassment of women for flouting the Islamic dress (hejab) or for wearing makeup, torturing of jailed students and political prisoners, staging of confession shows on TV, locking up of labour leaders, sentencing of workers to flogging and prison terms for celebrating May Day, and a catalogue of other crimes.

In the past few weeks, the thugs ruling Iran have carried out every kind of atrocity in order to intimidate the people. Of course, they have failed! People are growing even more resolved to get rid of this regime. On the other hand, there is growing support for the struggle of the people in Iran from around the world. On August 9th world wide demonstrations were held outside the Iranian embassies in over 30 countries as part of an international day of action called by global unions for the release of jailed labour activists Mansoor Ossanlou and Mahmoud Salehi. There have been other examples of international solidarity in protests that have taken place against the ongoing executions in Iran. The Islamic regime knows no other way but more massacre, jailing and violence against people. We must mobilise even more strongly to halt this savagery.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) is standing up to this new wave of repression, execution and barbarity of the Islamic regime with all its power. We call on all those around the world who defend freedoms and rights for people to actively support the people of Iran. The workers, women, students, teachers and the youth in Iran, who are fighting this regime, need even greater support from you. The people of the whole world must mobilise to condemn the Islamic Republic. With your help we can stop this current wave of executions and repression in Iran.

On behalf of the people of Iran, WPI is determined to mobilise the world’s public opinion against the Islamic Republic and in support of the people in Iran, working with international labour, human rights and women’s rights organisations and other progressive groups and individuals.

We call on you to protest against this wave of executions and intimidation; to put pressure on governments to officially and publicly protest at these atrocities; to write protest letters to the regime in Iran calling for an immediate end to the executions and the repression; to take appropriate action at your workplace, university and school, and to join the protests outside the Islamic Republic’s embassies to show your support to the people in Iran in their fight to get rid of this government of executioners. Such a massive international solidarity will greatly boost the struggle of the people in Iran in driving this regime back and ridding the people of Iran and the world of this monstrosity.

16 August 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pegah must not be deported!

Defend the right to asylum of Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian, who faces deportation from Britain on August 23, 2007.

Needless to say, her life is in danger. Support her now. You can find out more by going to the Iranian Queer Organisation's website.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Joint call for international protests against executions in Iran

International Society for Human Rights (ISHR)
International Committee Against Execution (ICAE)

A new wave of executions has started in Iran. Only in the last few weeks 25 people have been hanged in various cities. Gruesome scenes from the hangings, which are taking place in public and are aimed at intimidating people, can be seen in papers and on the Internet. Iranian judicial authorities are talking about more executions to come. The threat is now hanging over many prisoners, including political prisoners. This savagery must be stopped.

The “International Society for Human Rights” and the “International Committee Against Execution” are calling for international protests, from 13 August, to stop this massacre in Iran.

Such scenes should not be allowed to be repeated. Let us remember the massacres in Iran in 1981-83 and in the summer of 1988 in which tens of thousands of political prisoners were shot and hanged and buried in mass graves. Unfortunately, the western governments and international media kept quiet and left the public in complete ignorance about what had happened.

Join us to stop this killing machine of the Islamic Republic of Iran! Don’t let planned and deliberate state murder take people’s lives. Don’t let fear take over society and families be left in sorrow! Don’t let children’s world be shattered by grief! Don’t let!

Take action in any way you can to stop the executions in Iran: by organising meetings, rallies and sit-ins; by writing protest letters and articles; through meetings with human rights organisations and commissions; by putting governments and international authorities under pressure; and in any other way that you can.

The atrocities of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be stopped. The death penalty and deliberate state murder must be abolished. We invite you and all those appalled by these atrocities of the Islamic Republic, all those sickened by these horrific hangings, to actively take part in this international campaign.

We will update you of the specific actions in various countries in further announcements.

Aug 2007
For more information:
Tel: 0049-1775692413 (M)
Fax: 0049-69-420 108-33

Forum for ex-Muslims

Just to let you know that a forum has recently begun on the Council of Ex-Muslim's site. We are looking into developing a more professional one but until we do, please feel free to join and make your comments on it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rebellions of women in Iran

To hear an interview with me on the rebellions of women in Iran on BBC World Service in a programme on rebels in art, click here. it begins at 24:15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The veil and violence against Women in Islamist societies

To read my article on the veil and violence against women in Islamist societies published in the latest issue of the International Humanist News, click here. To see clips of women's protests in Iran, click here and here.

There's also a piece on Mina Ahadi and the Council of Ex-Muslims in it.

The IHN is the paper of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Taslima Nasrin attacked

From the National Secular Society

Taslima Nasreen, whose book launch was stormed in Hyderabad, India, said she feared for her life as she took shelter in a backroom as pressmen and organisers tried to fend off the fanatics.

“I have been attacked before,” said Taslima, “but it was never like yesterday. There were no police to help because the organisers had not foreseen anything of this kind. If I have returned alive to Kolkata it is because of media persons who fought those men for half an hour and got injured to save me. I was wondering how they would kill me. Would it be with a knife or a gun. Or would they simply beat me to death. They had encircled us. After I escaped from a back door and took shelter in a room, they even broke down one of the doors. I thought I was dead," said the 45-year-old writer.

According to reports, around a hundred members of the Majlis Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (MIM) invaded the Hyderabad Press Club, where Taslima was releasing the Telegu translation of her book Shodh, (Getting Even) and threw chairs and other objects, overturned tables and chanted slogans against her. MIM activists were led by three state legislative politicians.

Organisers tried to push back the protestors and during the melee, Taslima was slapped. MIM leader Akhtar Khan, an MLA, said: "She is enemy of Islam, she is a black spot on Muslims. We cannot bear anyone talking against Islam. She has written books against Islam. We will not tolerate her in Hyderabad."

Taslima was eventually rescued by the police and journalists present at the press club and was escorted to the airport. Three Islamists have been detained by the police for questioning.
Taslima has been living in exile for the last twelve years after death threats forced her to flee Bangladesh. She is an outspoken champion of equal rights for women and a fearless fighter against religion. Taslima has faced numerous death threats from Islamic radicals. Recently, in March 2007, an Indian Muslim group offered a bounty of 500,000 rupees for her beheading.

To support Taslima, you can sign an online petition here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Situation in Iran and US militarism

To see TV International English 10 August 2007, click here.

The programme is:

Interview with Bahram Soroush on the International Day of Action for the release of labour activists Salehi and Osanlou in Iran, the situation of workers there and the positive effects of international solidarity actions

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee on George Galloway’s defense of the Islamic regime of Iran and Islamic terrorism, the US threat to Iran and the third camp.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Report on the International Day of Action

To see reports of some of the demonstrations held for Salehi and Osanlou, click here. Sorry it is in Farsi but you can still see pictures of some of the events.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Join August 9 demonstrations anywhere you can

As I have reported a few days ago, today, August 9, is an international day of action to demand the release of two labour activists in Iran. To find out more, click here.

Join demonstrations being held in cities across the world.

Osanlou, Salehi and others must be supported and the Islamic regime in Iran must be condemned immediately and unequivocally.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hands off Ehsan Jami

22 year old Ehsan Jami, the chairman of the Dutch Committee for ex-Muslims, has been ambushed and beaten a third time by Islamists this Monday.

This time, however, the Dutch government has finally agreed to give him the protection he needs.

Hand off Jami and all those who renounce religion and Islam and or criticise it!

BTW, Mina Ahadi and myself will be going to Holland early September to join the formal launch of the Dutch Committee. More details to follow.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

August 9th: International day of action for the release of Mansoor Osanlou and Mahmoud Salehi

The International Trade Union Confederation and the International Transport Workers Federation are organising an international day of action for the release of Mahmoud Salehi and Mansoor Osanlou on August 9. Visit their site to find out more and to sign a petition in their defence.

There will be demonstrations in various cities across the world. Join them if you can to show your support.

Monday, August 06, 2007

TV International English begins again

I have begun hosting International TV English again. It is a weekly half hour programme with a focus on Islam, political Islam, US militarism, secularism and rights from a left and progressive perspective. To see this week's programme, click here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Clips from Council of Ex-Muslims launch

To see Mina Ahadi's speech at the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims last month, click here.

To see Maryam Namazie's reponses to questions raised, click to see part 1 and part 2.

The above were just uploaded on YouTube thanks to Patty Debonitas.

Also, Bahram Soroush's responses can be seen by clicking here.

I had posted my speech at the launch before but here it is in case you hadn't seen it before.

The above were just uploaded on YouTube thanks to Patty Debonitas and Reza Moradi.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Could have been any one of us

Two Kurdish journalists, Adnan Hassanpour and Hiva Boutimar, have been sentenced to execution for the 'crime of being Moharebeh' which means 'fighting' religion and the Islamic state.

Meanwhile, 7 more were hung today under a banner stating 'Implementing Justice = Elevating Security'.

This brings the numbers executed by the Islamic regime of Iran to at least 148. Death penalty offenses include apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, prostitution, treason and espionage.

In other words, these could have been any one of us...