Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bazr No. 49: Difficult Days

Translation of an article from Bazr Student Publication (Bazr #49 / May 22-June 21). The article is from Bazr's last issue, for the month of Khordad (in Iranian calendar), and is a good overview of the current situation.

Difficult Days
by Rahaa Kiaa
Bazr Student Publication #49 / Khordad 1389 (May 22-June 21, 2010)

The Iranian year 1388 (March 21 2009-March 20 2010) was a year filled with ups and downs. Many things happened that will never be wiped from people's memory. And in this year too the question remains in many minds, "Will the people's protests continue?" The year 1389, however, has so far progressed very tumultuously. The regime, which has had time to get itself and its forces together, from the very beginning has showed ferocity and been boasting its sharpened fangs to the people. When the slogan of "Extra effort, extra work!" was proposed, people knew that the meaning of this slogan was nothings but more work and less pay. Meaning, get exploited more and say nothing! In protest to this slogan, people started writing on currency notes, in emails, SMS messages, slogans such as, "Extra protests against the regime and religious guardianship (velaayat-e faqih)", or "Extra tyranny, extra pressure."

The plan for rationalizing the subsidies, which was supposed to take effect from the new year, was in flux between the differences between the majlis (parliament) and the government [of Ahmadinejad]. However, inflation has people worried more than ever and they know that with the plan going into effect, they will be under even more pressure than before, especially in the case of lower classes of society. Eventually, the plan passed the parliament, but the government, which due to its memories of what happened in the aftermath of putting quotas on gasoline, is terrified of operationalizing it and facing people's reaction, and has decided to put it into effect in only three cities on experimental basis. However, in relation to this past year's events, the government continues its ideological campaigns.

The most important move by the regime is the campaign against inadequate head and body cover (bad-hejaabi) [for women]. All the parliament and the government talk about is hejaab (Islamic cover). The television and radio talk [incessantly] about bad hejaab. Reactionary government think-tanks hand out fatwa's (religious edicts) and propose plans for fighting against this phenomenon. They organize demonstrations and shout slogans. In the streets, under the name of 'moral security', in lieu of morality patrols, they arrest girls. They say that the hejaab issue has become political and that it must be dealt with seriously, and that, "Hejaab is the cornerstone of Islam," which of course is true. They stop girls with inadequate hejaab from entering universities. They give orders for national chador (head-to-tow, sheet of covering), national clothing and university uniforms. The regime, which had trembled in fear from the audacious presence of the women on the streets last year, realizing that after thirty years of oppression and ideological work it still had not been able to leash and tame the [Iranian] women or force them into surrendering and staying imprisoned in backwardness, right after the ebbing of the protests, set an attack against women as its first order of priority.

On another front, the regime gave the orders for purging the universities of secular students and professors, and they wrote numerous theses and articles about this subject. Various conditions and restrictions were set for studying for a doctorate. Up until now they have 'starred' [translator's note: as the Nazis did with Jews] students and barred them from further studies, and now they place conditions on studying so that the sons of the rulers, instead of having to get phony degrees, can study without any competitors and at ease in doctoral classes. In order to control people in Tehran, and since they have had this past year's experience, they started saying too many people live in Tehran, and they'll pay money and provide the means for people to move away from Tehran. The farther you go, or if you go to a village, the more they will pay. They even gave the orders for the transfer of universities to outside Tehran, and this [plan] was the most important for them.

In the first [big] event of the new year, which was the May Day, regime did all it could to prevent any ceremonies in different cities from taking place. In Tehran, even the ceremonies at Worker's House, which usually would be organized along regime's policies, were cancelled. Although workers' rights activists and unionists had called for gatherings, all Tehran streets were brimming with security forces and plainclothesmen. Some people, in scattered fashion, did actually walk the route announced, and some of course were arrested. The regime does not want to risk the eventuality of a spark for demonstrations. However, the important point is that this year May Day no longer belonged only to a specific layer of society, and for a large number of people this day became important as a global day and an important day of protest.

In Kurdistan, however, as always and as done every year, May Day celebrations were held which led to clashes between the people and regime's security forces, and several were arrested. [Also] on this day, Ahmadinejad went to Tehran University without prior notice, for Teachers Day [held on May 2 in Iran], and was confronted with students' fierce protests. Only people brought from outside and Basiji [students] from the university were allowed inside the hall [where Ahmadinejad was speaking]. However, for many hours a large group of students were shouting slogans against him, and many were arrested.

After the passing of one week from the May Day, a piece of news appeared on websites that brought with it shock and the wrath of the people. Five political prisoners were executed. How is it possible to close your eyes on violence and injustice and say nothing? The execution of those five people had widespread repercussions that got the regime panicking. Angry people, the youth and families gathered in assemblies in front of Tehran University and Evin prison. Protests outside the country were also widespread, and [in some cases] led to clashes with police. In Kurdistan, however, everything had a different color. The regime had planned special contingencies for Kurdistan. A stealth martial law was in effect there. Widespread arrests were made. However, the people did not give up on their protests. Four of the executed [on May 9, 2010] were Kurdish, and one was a woman. Alongside the plans to crackdown on women, this execution was added to the atrocities, so as to smother women's potential. On the other hand, the Kurdish region has always been a very sensitive one for the regime. People's fighting background against the regime in that region and the radicalism of their struggle has forced the regime to deploy special forces there to control them. However, all those efforts -- meaning all the executions, arrests, the crackdown and the militarization of the region -- have not only had no effects but, quite the contrary, they have spread and given wings to the people's struggle. With the call of the revolutionary forces in protest against the executions, a general strike took hold in all of Kurdistan, which was very important and successful.

In Kurdistan too, like in most places in the country, there exist numerous and varied injustices such as class, gender and other injustices, but discrimination based on nationality is a particular injustice that has given the struggles of the people of that region a special import.

Kurdistan has always had a special place/position in the struggle against the regime for revolutionary forces and the people. After these executions, even Green leaders -- who themselves in the past have had a hand in oppressing the Kurdish people -- expressed concern regarding the executions. Many were vociferous about the fact that Moussavi too had condemned the executions. However, if they had read things carefully, they would have realized that Moussavi did not condemn the executions. He merely says that, in relation to the executions, no illuminating reasons had been given. And we don't expect him to condemn the executions. [...]

What is clear is that no number of Kahrizak's, no amount of tortures and imprisonments can save the regime from the predicament it is in. From a year ago up to now, a new generation has entered the arena of struggle, and all the show of force by the regime cannot win against the women, the youths and the people in all corners of the country.

Khordad (May 22-June21)
The regime was able to temporarily control the situation by use of force, terror and all its financial and military power; however, it has never been able to compensate for its lack of support among the people, its isolation and its political defeat. We are in the month of Khordad. Everybody is readying themselves for June 12 and the days beyond.

Once again, Moussavi's issuing of statements has begun. Moussavi and Karroubi said they would get permits [for demonstrations] on June 12, and if permits were not issued, they would act non-confrontationally. After all the shamelessness, all the killings, executions, arrests, tortures and imprisonment and the disappearances of the youth, what is the meaning of non-confrontational? Isn't an invitation to silence a laughable proposal? Wasn't the [regime's] answer to [the people's silent demonstration on June 15, 2009] violence, assaults and executions? Of course, we cannot expect otherwise from Moussavi and Karroubi. The important thing is that the people and the youth should know that the Green leaders want to keep the people away from finally settling their accounts with the Islamic Republic, since they are themselves an inseparable part of the system. They do not want to see the foundations of the system harmed. Contrary to some who say that a revolution is no longer beneficial for the country and that reforms are necessary, it must be said, "No!" That is not the case. There are plenty of events during the recent years, and especially last year, to contradict such statements, and everything shows that there is enough motivation, reasons and potentials for such a great movement, if we arm ourselves with knowledge and awareness. The struggle will not achieve its goals in one month or one year, since we are faced with an enemy that is equipped with the political ruling system or the governmental power. A government whose backbone is comprised of oppression, military force, imprisonment and torture. We must thus break a regime that is outfitted with all those tools. Both the reformists and the principlists are part of this regime. A spontaneous but very important slogans raised by the people is the separation of religion from state. Yet, Moussavi issues statements declaring that the Green movement is rooted in the people's religious beliefs and if people's religious beliefs are ever tarnished, the Green movement will be meaningless. Are there really any [major] differences between the two factions of the regime? Both say the constitution has the final word. Both say religion covers all of life. Both say Islamic Republic is the legacy of Khomeini. [...] We must drive away such illusions that we can turn the country into a beautiful oasis with the departure of this or that character and by bringing in other individuals [from different factions]. Change can only come about by attacking the roots and by destroying the foundations of this regime. And we should not overlook the role of the imperialists in people's struggles. They are also not interested in people's wellbeing, but only look at their own interests and their relations with Iran, and the effects of the people's struggle on those relations. They too consistently emphasize calm and silence and oppose rage and violence from the people. Behind the curtains, they continue their political, economic, security and espionage dealings. They exchange Clotilde Reiss, the French girl imprisoned in Iran, with merchant [Majid] Kakavand and a killer [Ali Vakili-raad].

On another front, the [international] pressures continue to build and to implement additional sanctions against the regime, and bring with them a lot of [political] chatter and reports. Russia's policies, which used to go along with Iran, have changed. Ahmadinejad finally gave in to the plan for uranium enrichment [for use in Iranian reactors] by other countries, and Turkey played the role of the intermediary in this issue. On the one hand, the regime has put as it first priority the preparations for [anniversary of electoral coup] and the continuation of the crackdown in its different forms, and on the other hand, from a position of weakness and in order to keep its rule, it is giving in to imperialistic agreements. However, it is the people who in all this are the sacrificial lambs for the rule of the leaders of the regime and the interests of imperialists.

Since right before the start of [month of] Khordad (May 22-June21), the regime has brought about all kinds of pressures on the university and the students. On the one hand, they set the date for the last day of classes at before June 12 [anniversary of electoral coup], and declared schools closed after that, and on the other they set the date for the final exams before July 9 [18 Tir; another important anniversary]. All these reveal their trepidation and fear of the university students. They pressure and harass men and women students over bad cover/clothing. They send their functionaries to universities to give speeches, and they of course face protests and demonstrations by students. The dormitories of the Free University of Eslam-shahr were attacked by the security forces because the students had protested against Hamid Rasaee [conservative member of parliament, who had given speech at that university]. Students of Tehran's Free University, which in the past year have been very militant, held protest rallies and assemblies recently. Students at the University of Science and Technology [Elm va San'at] in Tehran, on the anniversary of the martyrdom of the very dear Kianoosh Aasaa, remembered [his death] on that day and held ceremonies.

The university is an important point of strength in the people's struggles, and it must play well its important role in the dissemination and spreading of knowledge and awareness, which of course requires that the university students themselves employ this consciousness correctly and in the right direction. In any event, despite the ups and downs that it will surely have, people's struggle will continue. This is so since deep contradictions exist between the people and the ruling system, so it is necessary for the conscious and revolutionary students to carry out their duties in impacting the events and organizing people (even if a minority) who demand fundamental changes, and form their own independent forces, and with reliance on the liberating knowledge of communism and with an assessment of previous experiences and with attention to ongoing events, and to carry out their duties in correct and effective fashion. Do not allow the leaders and elements of the Green trend and the reformists, who are riding the wave of the people's protests only to assure the continuation of the system, albeit with small changes, to tame, silence and neutralize the people's struggles. Thus, the active participation [in the arena] of us the university students with alternative and revolutionary politics, and creating a revolutionary pole in the progressive struggles of the people, is essential. On June 12 and thereafter, as the struggles continue, we must struggle on with this goal.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Khiaban No. 74: On Moussavi's Green Charter

Translation of a lead article from the latest Khiaban newspaper. You can read most issues of Khiaban newspapers (in Persian) here.

What We Say and Their Charter
by Amir K.
Khiaban #74 / Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today is June 19. Last year on this day, the first issue of Khiaban newspaper was published. Some hours later, in his Friday prayer sermon, Khamenei threatened the people with murder. On June 20, however, people took to the streets courageously, and although their throats and chests were riddled with the Supreme Leader's bullets, they opened up an important phase in the social life of Iran. A phase in which our society came to face the existing contradiction between the political and ruling structures and relationships [on the one hand] and the people's strengths, dreams and demands [on the other], and set out to work on resolving this contradiction, specifically through the form of [mass] street protests and demonstrations.

Now, exactly one year later, in the seventy-fourth issue of Khiaban, this publication, and the society too, carry both memory and imagination simultaneously. Memory keeps our past experience with us, and imagination shapes the future. When we imagine, when we think about the future, bitter memories, sad, happy hopeful memories, memories of solidarities, memories of blood and uprising, these memories of this past year are present. And when each moment of our memories is reviewed, this or that memory becomes a seed for the formation and growth of some thought or a plan for the future.

After a year of collective memories, the need for a collective imagination is spreading wider every day. What kind of future does the society want to create? What path does it want to take? What characteristics does the future society have, and how can it be achieved? It is these questions that make obvious the need for political platforms and plans for the majority of the people.

It is in this social atmosphere that Moussavi was forced to publish a more elaborated/systematized text, titled Green Charter, as a political platform that contains his goals and views on strategy. Of course, for now we'll overlook the fact that [exactly] at a time when people expected political actions from Moussavi, he is selling a political statement to the people instead of acting politically. Nevertheless, is Moussavi's platform loyal to the memories and the imagination of the people? Let us take a more careful look at the Green Charter.

Green Charter's Goal and Strategy
Although the phrase 'Green Charter' is new and it is claimed that it is the essence of this past year's struggle and also the crystallization of the demands of the society for its future, neither the goal nor the strategy proposed by Moussavi have any connection with people's memories and imagination. The goal is the old [demand for] implementation of the constitution and nothing less; the same goal that had also been announced by the reformists for many years before the hot summer of 2009. People's memories are over-filled with moments when they saw the existing laws as [fundamentally] opposed to their demands and their existence: from the principle of the absolute rule of the religious leader (velaayat-e faqih) who sits atop the system, to the principles that qualify and condition, and therefore [severely] restrict freedom of speech, assembly and protest, freedom of forming organizations and political parties, all based on the whims and decisions of the rulers; from the laws that leave the Sepaah [Revolutionary Guards] and Basiji's completely free to murder people, to the laws that deem women as inferior and do not recognize people without religion or of other religions, and many more cases [of legal discrimination].

Whenever in heat of the arena of struggle people's imagination thinks of a society based on freedom and social equality, free from the killing machinery of Sepaah and Basij, without the guardianship of the religious jurists, based on true collective and equal participation of all members of society in shaping their social fate -- when such thoughts were imagined, they were crushed in the streets, and yet Green Charter's goal is defined and marketed as the continuation of the existing conditions, only in its green color.

The strategy of Green Charter (it should be called 'white' since it is so neutral) also has no connection to the memories that have been piling up this last year, or to the imagination that was born this past year. The proposed strategy is the same 'working within the law', non-violence, civic activities and a package in fancy wrapping paper called 'networks', all of which have been the reformists strategy for a decade. There is no sign in this platform of this past year's experiences of the people. It is the same old reformist strategy, which was marketed as 'reformism' before but now is marketed as 'green'. In response to the millions of people protesting, the regime/system did not change a bit and yet Moussavi, while suspending street protests, at the same time in his speechifying brings the promise of wanting to change things by using all the capacities of non-violent struggle. All civil rights activists are imprisoned or exiled, but the 'civil society' people [still expect miracles].

We can find the dissonances between the Green Charter and the people's street movement in this very text, where it states that it emphasizes the necessity of joining with the middle and lower classes and the meek in the society. This very sentence reveals that Moussavi and other drafters of this platform are separate from the dominated people and the oppressed, and that they are above them (even if they really want to join them, they still considers themselves separate from the dominated). They belong to the layer of the rulers, of the dominant classes. Alas, no society has ever been liberated by the dominant layers of that society. Those who in the current situation suffer the most inequalities will be the first to take steps to destroy the bars of this prison house. Only a platform that takes stock of, and bases itself on, the fighters' memories and imagination can stay loyal to the society: a platform, whose lines are not niceties and considerations of the people up above, but one that the wrath and the hopes of the people down below write its lines.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Khiaban No. 73: Realities & Problems

Translation of a lead article from the latest Khiaban newspaper.

Realities & Problems
by Amir K.
Khiaban #73 / Monday, June 14, 2010

If we overlook some laughable headlines and comments after June 12, to the effect that we were victorious since there was so much military presence on the streets, a majority of the citizens, whose hearts beat to the rhythm of the social events, while going up and down the streets around Enghelaab/Revolution Square, waiting to see if something will or will not happen, have realized there is a need for taking a different path. The blood-thirsty Islamic Republic, with recourse to mass killing and repression, has not taken a single step back, and the people have so far not had the slightest gains. Not only has the Islamic Republic not been overthrown but no laws have changed for the better, no political prisoners have been released, the planners and executers of the killings have not been brought to justice, and the people [still] have no say or control in determining their own fates.

A More Realistic Picture of Civil Struggles
Unless our eyes are blind, or else the observer is up to some trickery so as not to see the developments:

1. Almost all social organizations and activists independent of the regime have been driven out of the society. If two years ago, a large number of Marxist university students fighting for freedom and equality were forced to flee the country while others sat in silent observation of this crackdown, today almost all political trends from liberals to democrats to even Islamic student associations have been forced to flee [...]. Almost all independent women activists and those working with the One Million Signature campaign [to legally make women equal to men] have been forced to leave: Hundreds of young journalists and scholars, hundreds of cultural and political activists from different independent cultural and social circles and centers. This is the fate of those who, in order to change their society, carried out strictly civil activities.

2. Despite all the efforts of activists in different social spheres to organize different social units, not only can no truly independent political party operate openly in the society, not even the smallest organizations of university students, the youth, women, workers and on and on ... have materialized. The smallest of over-ground cells or circles come under the severest security police attacks, and meetings or gatherings of even a few get attacked and broken up by police.

3. With the dwindling of the number of people in street protests, the regime has more room and space to prevent the formation of any seeds of street demonstrations, and the ratio of regime elements [plainclothes Basij, Revolutionary Guards, regular police and myriad other forces] to dissident citizens has been increasing.

4. Since the regime's reformists have sensed the threat to the life of the system, they are not willing to bring about conditions in which people can safely assemble. They are not willing to allow again an atmosphere in which people feel safe to come to the streets and shout their demands. Just as during the presidency of Khatami and after the events of 18 Tir [university student protests of July 8-13, 1999], the reformists had no taste for people's presence in the streets. And the people too are no longer willing to give their lives for the particular goals of the reformists. People, who have had it with this regime and want their own liberation, find it neither wise nor heroic to die in the streets so we can return to Khomeini's era, or so that some charlatan like Mostafa Taaj-Zadeh can pollute the glorious days of protests with that filthy and noxious word 'Yomollah' (in some new tract with a title that is stolen from a pamphlet by Ali Shari'ati, forgetting that almost all followers of Shari'ati, who were organized in the Mojahedin-e Khalq and Armaan-e Mostaz'afeen and others alongside many others were mass murdered by them and their friends, and then called June 15 'Yomollah', without any concerns about bringing to justice the killers who on that very day were raining bullets on people [...] See his: Father, Mother, we are again accused [...]).

5. And the obvious reality, finally, is that all know that Moussavi's suggested strategy is meaningless and absurd. He suggests spreading of awareness as the path toward victory, and perhaps considers some Green websites such as JRS [Jonbesh Raah Sabz /Green Path Movement] as the providers of the solutions. However, it is obvious to everybody that our current problem is not that the majority of people are unaware of the ongoing crimes, irrationalities and the oppression. The [main] problem is that, although this regime has no base in the people, it has stayed in power backed [solely] by bayonets.

This reality calls for a new set of objectives and planning, for new solutions and an effective and practical strategy. Although the distance traveled on the streets in this past year has been bitter and filled with sorrows, blood and injuries, it has nevertheless stored up such an abundance of material experience, awareness and combativeness that if and when another June 15 should come about, the mansions and the national TV and the parliament that belongs to the rulers will be in the hands of the people's power on the next day.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tehran University Massacre Remembered

June 14 2009 massacre at Tehran University dormitories remembered. One of the slogans shouted by Tehran University students: Students will die, but won't accept humiliation!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

People's Movement One Year On

Below is a translation of a piece from Pezhvak-e Iran. The quotes are by people in response to Moussavi and Karroubi canceling protest rallies after the Interior Ministry refused to issue permits for any anniversary rallies.
[See also video clip of Tehran University students shouting slogans against the regime on June 12, 2010.]

RELATED: 22 Khordad: Reports from Tehran (Live Updates from Persian 2 English)

People's Response to Moussavi & Karroubi's Cancellation of 12 June Demonstrations
Compiled and distributed by: Committee in Defense of Iranian People's Struggle
(Paris: June 11, 2010)

"Did we have a permit on June 15th [last year]? Did we have permits on June 17 and 19 [last year]? Did we have permits on June 20? Did we have permits on July 9? Did we have permits on Quds Day (September 19)? Did we have permits on November 4? Did we have permits on December 7 (Student Day)? Did we have permits on December 28 (Ashura)? Did we have permits on February 11 (Anniversary of Revolution)? Have you forgotten the days that we didn't have permits and still took to the streets? There is no color darker than black. I will take to the street on June 12 because I've been taking a beating for one year, for one year I have paid a price, my brothers and sisters have been killed; we have nothing else to lose."

"A permit is just a piece of paper. Our millions of feet on the streets is the most real permit."

"The millions-strong presence of the people on June 12 and 15 and ... of last year was due to the permit of the collective wisdom of free men and free women, who were seeking to take their fate and their land back from a raping clique of criminals, and they will do so again."

"Protesting is not a place of business which needs a business permit. Just as the dictators give themselves the right to give or not to give permits, we the millions of people too have the right to determine where, when and for what reason to take to the streets, to shout and to protest. The permit for a June 12 demonstration is in the hands of us the people. That is so, because that is our right. With or without a permit, on Saturday we will create an earthquake. We did not suffer fatalities so as to sit behind the gates of the Interior Ministry waiting for a permit. We did not give martyrs so as to suffocate from silence and the weight of our built up sorrows. We suffered fatalities so that we would be free. We say, we will fight and die until we are free."

"There is no room for hesitation. We don't have a right to doubt."

"If scared of cut off heads we were,
In lovers' circles we would not dance. "

"Let us remember: Neda's and Sohrab's did not wait for anybody's decision or permit to give their lives for this land of ours. On June 12, just like the Ashura [December 28, 2009], with a pounding presence we will continue the path to freedom."

"Mr. Moussavi, if you want, you can stay home and watch the World Cup games. But I owe Neda a debt. My path is the revolution and my destination is freedom. There is not much more left to go. Do not forget that we are countless."

"On June 12, millions of movement leaders will come out. Each Iranian a leader."

"Rights and justice, freedom and democracy are things to be taken, and no nation has achieved honor and righteousness without sacrifice and paying a price. No dictatorship or tyranny, as of yet, has chosen on it own accord or voluntarily to step aside. Only a nation willing to pay the price will achieve freedom and democracy. The decision is up to the people."

"On June 12 we will demonstrate since we have nothing to lose, and no darker color than black."

"On Saturday we will come out with honor and pride, like never before, in millions, to capture Tehran."

"All the military maneuverings of the regime has made our efforts less necessary and our glory greater! In fact, we are already the victors of June 12. The stamp of victory too has been applied by the regime itself. A regime that is scared of [even] our silence, scared of our shadows. Congratulations on your victory on June 12!"

"I know that you know that this demonstration will bring nothing but beatings, pain, torture, imprisonment, rape and martyrdom. Despite all that, this very unity of the people will make the murderers hearts tremble and shudder. So, in this ceremony of blood, martyrdom and love for a chained country, accompany us."

Compiled and distributed by: Committee in Defense of Iranian People's Struggle
Paris: June 11, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gohardasht Prison an Ongoing Catastrophe

Translation of a statement by Student Committee in Defense of Political Prisoners.[See original in Persian here]
[photo: Gohardasht prison in Karaj]

Gohardasht Prison in Karaj an Ongoing Human Catastrophe
Student Committee in Defense of Political Prisoners / June 11, 2010

Raja'i-shahr prison in Karaj (Gohar-dasht) is these days used to house a large number of political prisoners, which is unprecedented compared to recent years. In this prison, many [political] prisoners are struggling with a variety of physical and psychological illnesses and ailments. Some have even lost their lives. Nowadays, Raja'i-shahr prison in Karaj has come to be known as the place of death and exile. Two of the political prisoners held there, communicating with the Student Committee in Defense of Political Prisoners, have provided a report of the conditions in that prison that exposes an ongoing human catastrophe.

Based on reports received by the Committee in Defense of Political Prisoners from Raja'i-shahr prioners, the general conditions of this prison are extremely deplorable. Ali Haj-Kazem, the prison warden, and Ali Mohamadi, his deputy, in coordination with the judiciary and security system, play important roles in the intensification of pressures on the political prisoners. Maximizing the unhygienic conditions of the wards, stopping the entry [into prison] of any medications needed by the prisoners, physical assaults and torture of political prisoners, water stoppages, housing political prisoners with the sick as well as violent criminals, are all among efforts by prison authorities to intensify the inhumane conditions of political prisoners.

At the orders of the prison warden, an annex (hosseinieh) has been built in one of the wards, and several prisoners including Ahmad Zeid-Abadi have been transferred there. This annex which is only 110 [square] meters [about 10 yards by 10 yards] lacks any kind of primitive facilities for living in a prison, and its only merit is being at a distance from other prisoners in the Raja'i-shahr prison, who are mainly violent criminals or murderers. Seven people are housed in this annex, and they live on a rug.

In most of the wards in Raja'i-shahr prison, due to extreme overcrowding of prisoners, large numbers sleep in the hall, which has become known as the 'sleeping floor'. For example, Ward 4 houses more than 800 prisoners, whereas it only has a capacity for between 200 and 240 prisoners. Ward 4 has no bathrooms and has only 8 toilets, so the prisoners have to stand in long lines so that after a long time they may use a toilet. And then, in this ward water is shut off from 7:30 AM till 11 PM.

Ali Saremi, Mohamad-Ali Mansoori, Saleh Kohandani, Sa'eed Masoori, [...] Misagh Yazdan-nejad, Ali Mo'ezi, Afshin Paymani, Karim Aziz, Mehdi Fetrat and Hassan Tafah are among the political prisoners who are kept in Ward 4, and are struggling with extremely difficult conditions.

Another way of dealing with political prisoners is to prevent the availability of any medication or medical treatment, which, accompanied by the unhygienic conditions of the prison, have created very painful and oppressive conditions for the prisoners. Mansoor Osanloo, Khaled Hardani, Ali Saremi and Mansoor Radpoor are among political security prisoners, whose medications have been stopped from getting into the prison.

Behrooz Javid Tehrani and several others are kept in Ward 1, with dangerous criminals so as to put pressure on them. Ward 1, which comprises three halls, is known to be one of the worst wards in the prison. Hall #2 of this ward is for solitary cells, known as the 'dog house', and is where prisoners undergo torture. Behrooz Javid Tehrani is in this ward and has been subjected to severe torture. In recent days, prison guards have assaulted the prisoners kept in Ward 1, and have beaten up and injured many of them. The prison authorities, in order to stop any leaks of the news of the beatings and assaults on the prisoners, prevented the transfer of the injured prisoners to the prison clinic.

Ward 5 is known as the addicts' ward, in which prisoners who are addicted to narcotics are kept, alongside prisoners with contagious diseases. This is a dangerous ward, in which new inmates can quickly catch or come down with various diseases. Mansoor Osanloo, the leader of the bus drivers' union of Vahed Company [in Tehran], who was transferred to this ward to put pressure on him, [subsequently] came down rapidly with a respiratory illness. This was done even though Osanlou already suffers from many illnesses, and his transfer to Ward 5 has added more to his list of ailments. However, under international pressure he has since been transferred to Ward 3, which is known as the 'workers ward'.

The unhygienic conditions, presence of drug addicts and those with contagious diseases such as AIDS, and as well all the tortures carried out in this prison have caused the political prisoners to have expressed grave concerns regarding the safety of their lives in this prison. They are in particular concerned about the health of Behrooz Javid Tehrani, whom the prison authorities are said to want to kill.

To prevent a human catastrophe in Raja'i-shahr prison in Karaj, information dissemination and Iranian people's protests, as well as international organizations' interventions are all necessary, and the Student Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners will expend effort in this endeavor.

Student Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Anniversary of Electoral Coup in Iran

From Payvand Iran News.

Worldwide Protests to Mark One-Year Anniversary of Iran's Disputed Election
  • Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch will cosponsor international events
  • Events in 70 cities including Tokyo, Istanbul, New York, Johannesburg, San Paulo, and Berlin
  • Online Prisoner of Conscience campaign is ongoing at
  • Mobile billboards in Los Angeles, Istanbul, and London, among other cities
  • 1/2 page newspaper and bus ads of prisoners of conscience in Johannesburg in conjunction with the world cup
Read complete report here ...

1) Bodies of Executed Hidden: Below is a piece that shows how scared the Islamic Republic is ... of dead bodies! The leaders of the Islamic Republic know fully well how deeply hated they are by the people. Why else would they be hiding the dead bodies of the Kurdish activists they executed on May 9, 2010? What can dead bodies do? Expose crimes perhaps?
2) Laughter Is Banned: This is a bit old now, but is still worth reposting; if there ever was a textbook case of moroseness of ossified religious minds displaying their hatred for life and joyousness, here it is: