- >>Berlin celebrates fall of wall
Thousands of people in Berlin are celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
World leaders are expected to join them in marking the event, which paved the way for the end of the Cold War.
Celebrations will primarily take place at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of German reunification in 1990. They will be led by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany. She called it "a celebration of the happiest day in postwar German history".
1,000 giant foam dominoes, painted by young people, will be toppled along the former route of the wall, to show the chain of events which swept across Europe, collapsing Communist governments in 1989.
A big concert will take place at the Brandenburg Gate featuring musicians from across the world, including conductor Daniel Barenboim and DJ Paul van Dyk.
Mayor Klaus Wowereit said: "History is palpable and alive here. The peaceful revolution of the fall of the Wall 20 years ago paved the way to an unprecedented transformation of Berlin."
The wall was built by Communist East Germany in 1961, a 155km structure to prevent East Germans from running away into capitalist East Germany. More than 100 people
It was unexpectedly opened on 9 November 1989, after weeks of pro-democracy protests.
Guests will include architects of the events leading up to the fall of the wall, such as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, head of the Polish opposition movement Solidarity, and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, then West German foreign minister.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy, British prime minister Gordon Brown, and US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton are also expected to attend.
Yesterday, Clinton said that the oppressed still needed to be freed. She said: "Our history did not end the night the Wall came down. To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people."
Far-left groups held a protest march in the centre of Berlin at the weekend, in an attempt to disrupt the glorification of a historical moment that unleashed the forces of capitalism. Ironically, the party is being backed by corporate sponsors.
- >>Shadi Sadr receives Human Rights Tulip award
Zamaneh reports that upon receiving the award, Ms. Sadr declared that the issue of human rights in Iran should become a topic of negotiations alongside the issue of the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic.
Ms. Sadr called for legal proceedings against the perpetrators of widespread systematic violence in Iran. She maintained that "Western governments, including the Dutch government as the host of the International Criminal Court, can ask the UN Security Council to pursue the issue of crimes against humanity through setting up an international court for Iran."
Maxime Verhagen delivered the Human Rights Tulip award to Ms. Sadr declaring that the Dutch government supports human rights activists in Iran as well as other countries. He maintained that Dutch embassies all across the world are told to extend their support to all human rights activists.
Shadi Sadr was elected by the Dutch foreign ministry out of 116 people from 63 countries who were also nominated for this award.
Justine Masica, Congolese human rights activists, was the first recipient of the Tulip award last year.
The award includes a 10-thousand-euros prize and the opportunity to claim 100 thousand euros in subsidies toward a project to forward the recipient’s human rights activities.
According to the award organizers, Shadi Sadr was chosen for her legal activities, publication of critical articles in various websites, the campaign to fight stoning and activity in RAAHI organization.
Shadi Sadr was also the recipient of Lech Walesa human rights award this year along with two other Iranian human rights activists, Roya and Ladan Boroumand.
- >>Women’s Rights Activist Behnaz Mehrani Summoned to Court
Over the past few days several feminist activists and members of the One Million Signatures Campaign have received written or over-the-phone summons to appear before the Revolutionary Court. Ayda Sa’adat, Elnaz Ansari, Khadijeh Moghadam, Maryam Malek, Kaveh Mozzafari, Jelveh Javaheri and Parisa Kakai are among the group of activists who have been summoned. Behnaz Meharni is a feminist and children’s rights activist and a member of One Million Signatures Campaign.
- >>400 New Detainees at Evin Prison following 4 November Protest
- >>100 Journalists Arrested in150 Days
Reporters Without Borders says that in addition to the arrest of 100 journalists in the past 5 months, more than 50 journalists have been forced to leave the country and the journalists who’ve remained in the country are continuously threatened by the regime.
In its annual report, Reporters Without Borders states that with regard to freedom of press, Iran has fallen to a lower position this year and stands at 172 among 175 countries.
- >>“Hamed & Ahmad don’t know anything about Anjoman Padeshahi Iran (API)”
Interview with Khalil Bahramian, Defense Lawyer for Hamed Rouhinejad (Sentenced To Death) and Ahmad Karimi
Q- Mr Bahramian, have you been representing Rouhineajad since the start of his trial?
A-In the beginning, Mr Sayf-Zadeh and another colleague were representing Hamed Rouhinejad, and I was not involved. Following the verdict, his family contacted me, and, after reading the file, I agreed to represent him in his appeal, which will be heard by the Supreme Court.
Q- Can you explain what your findings were after reading about the case?
A-I found out that my colleagues had presented the defense case before the 28th branch of the Revolutionary Court, but in the end the court found Rouhinejad guilty of charges and sentenced him to death. Rouhinejad’s charges included having ties with API, acting against the Islamic Republic, and armed struggle. When I was reading the file I noticed that, during the preliminary investigations, my client had told the truth in its entirety to the investigators. An individual named Ali Zamani had promised to take my two clients and his own child to the US, where they could work - something that was obviously beyond his abilities. Rouhinejad was a student at the time.
Q- Do you have other clients awaiting trial who are accused of having ties with API?
A-I represent Ahmad Karimi, a defendant in the same case awaiting trial. He will be tried at the 30th branch of the Revolutionary Court on November 9th, 2009.
Q- What are your main arguments for the court of appeal?
A- I have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court where I have listed my arguments. Having met my client in prison, I understand that he suffers from multiple sclerosis. His two arms are almost paralyzed and he is unable to write for more than a few minutes at a time. He has lost sight in his right eye. He is a disabled person and lacks the physical power to undertake actions against the country. His disability makes him incapable of being involved in political propaganda activities. The court’s verdict does not comply with legal norms, and I am convinced that it has become common practice for revolutionary courts to hand out harsher than normal sentences in similar cases. The mere fact that my clients were put on trial with the post-election detainees shows that this is a political verdict. In my view, Mr. Mortazavi, Tehran Prosecutor at the time, tried as always to present a heavily loaded file to the court and misrepresent the case to the public. Both my clients were arrested before the election and had nothing to do with the post election protests. I can say beyond any doubt that neither Ali Zamani nor my two clients had connections with API or even knew anything about the organization. They were just three young people who, along with Zamani’s child, went to Iraq, hoping to eventually go to a Western country. Poverty and other problems forced my clients to return to Iran with the approval and coordination of the Intelligence Ministry. They told the officials about their ordeal without holding anything back.
Q- From what you’re saying, they did not face any problems upon their return to Iran. Can you tell us why such heavy charges were brought against them during the trial?
A-From what I’ve been told by my client, his interrogators pressured him to become part of a fabricated scenario. It is my understanding that the former Tehran prosecutor had a hand in writing the scenario. For now, we have filed an appeal which will be heard by the Supreme Court. I hope the Supreme Court judges will hear the case with God in mind and decide based on their conscience and beliefs, unlike their previous decisions, which were to uphold the verdict without considering the case in order to please others and get on with their political agenda. They must bear in mind that they have to answer to God and the Iranian people.
Q- Have you been given a time by the Supreme Court as to when this appeal will be heard?
A-It’s common for the Supreme Court not to set any date. The judges read the cases one at a time and decide if there are grounds for appeal. I hope the judges will decide with their conscience.
- >>Strengthening of theRevolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Arm
A spokesperson for the IRGC’s political affairs division reported, “Following the transfer of Hojjatoleslam Taeb from the Basij resistance force to the IRGC intelligence unit and his replacement with Commander Naghdi, other changes are taking place in the IRGC leadership. As a result Hojjatoleslam Gholamhossein Ramezani will be appointed as the IRGC’s Counter Intelligence and Security Director, replacing Commander Nejat.”
According to Basirat, Nejat, who in addition to being the IRGC’s counter-intelligence and security director also headed the special Vali Amr brigade in charge of the supreme leader’s personal security, will be given a post in the National Security Council as deputy of internal security. Prior to his appointment, Gholamhossein Ramezani had served as counter intelligence and intelligence directors in both the country’s police force and IRGC in various periods.
The news of changes in the IRGC’s intelligence leadership has been announced two weeks after the IRGC’s chief Mohammad Ali Jafari announced sweeping changes to the IRGC’s structure and leadership as approved by Ayatollah Khamenei, also noting the institution’s increasing engagement in security and intelligence affairs. IRGC’s chief said, “Today is the era of soft warfare, and we must be able to carry out our duties in confronting soft threats. This requires organizational and structural changes, and the changes that have taken place in the past year, two years are in connection with this development.” Mohammad Ali Jafari also spoke of Hossein Taeb’s appointment as the IRGC’s Intelligence Director, “The necessity of Mr. Taeb’s service as the IRGC’s Intelligence Director prompted us to appoint him to this post. This is a very important post, because today the regime expects more from the IRGC in intelligence matters.”
Prior to the official announcement of recent changes in the IRGC’s leadership, some analysts had predicted that the Hossein Taeb-Gholamhossein Ramezani duo would help to construct the core of the IRGC’s intelligence and security activities. According to analysts, in addition to his ideological and professional affiliation with Taeb, Gholamhossein Ramezani has played an influential role in carrying out the recent election coup and the post-election arrests. Ramezani played a key role in arresting and cracking down on reformists during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami, when he served as the police force’s counter-intelligence and intelligence director.
The appointment of figures such as Hossein Taeb, Mohammad Reza Naghdi and Gholamhossein Ramezani to senior intelligence posts in the IRGC’s and the beginning of the second phase of changes in the institution continue the trend of IRGC’s transformation from a military unit to a security unit, which began two years ago with the appointment of Mohammad Ali Jafari as Head the IRGC. The recent changes take place following wholesale dismissals in the Ministry of Intelligence, where, in addition to the minister, five deputy ministers and dozens of senior managers have been removed from their posts since the election.
- >>Victory of Sanandaj Bakery Workers Against Wage Reduction
According to this report on 11 Aban (2 November), in a meeting with the officials the bakery workers’ representatives discussed the 10 gram increase to each loaf of bread and an increase in workers wages from 379 Tomans (30c) per loaf baked (120 loaves) to 435 Tomans (40c). Wages of all bakery workers have also increased by the same percentage. Sanandaj bakery workers cook 32 units of bread and according to the recent changes, their salary increases by 2080 Tomans ($2). According to the workers, if all bakery workers had participated in the strike, there was a possibility of increasing the wages even more. The Free Workers Union of Iran in congratulating the workers added that the victory of preventing the reduction of wages is considered a symbol of workers’ fight to increase wages and asked all Iranian workers to fight for higher wages in solidarity.
Long Live the Bakery Workers of Sanandaj!
Long live Labour solidarity!
- >>Arrests continue in Kurdish Regions
It has been also reported that the Intelligence Ministry forces of Naghadeh raided the house of a civil activist and writer named Hassan Ashaari last Saturday. The so called forces arrested Mr. Ashaari and took him to an unknown location. Another report from the city of Naghadeh claims that a cultural activist named Kaveh Hassanpour has been released on $50,000 bail until the hearing of his charges.
- >>Arrested Haft Tappeh Union Members to Serve Prison Sentences
The Revolutionary Court in Dezful had previously sentenced the two to fixed and suspended prison terms for their activities. The Provincial Court of Appeals upheld the Revolutionary Court’s verdict for both activists and referred their cases to the enforcement department of Dezful Court. The activists were arrested today to serve their sentences.
In October, 2009, the Revolutionary Court in Dezful found a group of labor activists guilty of union activities and sentenced them to prison terms. Ali Nejati, Feraydoon Nikoufar, Ghorban Alipoor and Jalil Ahmadi were each sentenced to a six month of fixed prison term followed by a six month suspended term. Mohammad Haydari-Poor was sentenced to a four month fixed prison term followed by eight months of suspended term. According to reliable sources, the three remaining activists will also be arrested in the coming days to serve their sentences.
- >>Transfer of Arrested Girls to an Unknown Place
It has been reported from different cities that a day after the mass protest of Iranian people, 13 Aban (4 Nov) that turned into a day of fighting against dictatorship, intelligence agents and plain clothes forces have attempted to arrest many young adults and freedom seekers. The repressive and barbaric acts of the Supreme Leader’s forces were so shameless that many worldwide reacted. Robert Gates, spokesperson for the Whitehouse, despite President Obama’s peaceful statement, addressed the Supreme Leader of Iran and reacted against protestor repression stating: “The government of Barak Obama is closely following the changes occurring in Iran and deeply hopes that the protests won’t turn violent”.
Yet he is clearly aware that these acts of indecency by the regime are a result of world remaining indifferent towards the human rights situation in Iran and the lack of a centrist policy position against people’s suppression. By adopting a different tone of voice, he tried to not stay indifference against the suppression of people in Iran.
Public’s sensitivity to the Iranian people’s movement due to citizen reports is so strong that politicians have reluctantly been forced to react.
At the same time, Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in a press conference took a strong position against the people’s repression stating: “This act will damage the character of Iran’s regime even more; a regime which puts pressure on internal forces and is not willing to have discussions with other countries.”
However, the strongest position has been taken by the German Green Party. Ms. Claudia Roth, leader of the German Green Party in a statement against people’s repression by repressors of the regime wrote: “Unstoppable and extensive protests in Iran shows the critical situation in this country which has put pressure on the non democratic leader of this country. The Leader’s decision has been to intimidate and pressurize, which has made the situation in Iran critical. We are sympathetic with the victims and those injured as a result of repression by the regime.”
Despite all the objections to the regime’s repressive forces against the people’s protests, Iran’s regime still continues with its repression, entering political activists’ houses or those of well-known human rights defenders attempting to arrest them. According to news received from Bahar Street in Tehran, female protestors were transferred to an unknown place by bus on 13 Aban. Many girls have also been arrested on the streets around Hafte Tir and Valiasr, who are still missing and noone is aware of the location of their captivity. Numerous others were detained at the end of the protest and taken to Ward 209 of Evin prison.
Considering the shameless record of behavior of the repressive forces against arrested females we ask all international communities, human rights and especially women rights organizations to take a stand against the arrest, unknown circumstances and captivity place of these young girls and women and put pressure on the regime to announce the place of their captivity.
Arrested brave females are the core leaders of the people’s movement. These courageous and freedom seeking leaders must be freed immediately and unconditionally.
- >>Iran police detain 109 over rally
The 109 people were on the fringes of an opposition-organized demonstration when they were detained. Security spokesman Azizollah Rajabzadeh said 62 are due to face trial while the others were released after questioning.
- >>Protest gathering of 4 November detainee families outside the Revolutionary Court
The protest began gathering at 9am. By 9.03am there were more than 140 families and their number was increasing by the minute.
Others joined them in support.
Some of families, especially mothers stood in front of the court with hand written scripts showing their demands, such as: "We demand the immediate release of our loved ones". Many of them are unaware of their loved ones location and situation.
Among the detainees are a large number women and young girls between the age of 20 and 30.and their families have no information about their whereabouts. This has caused so much distress that they have no faith in promises and demand unconditional freedom for their loved ones.
Police repression forces, plain-clothes and Revolutionary Guards brutally attacked the families after seeing the placards and tried to take the placards from the mothers’hands. But they refused to let go. Human rights and democracy activists in Iran, condemn these arrests and the lack of information provided and demand the commissioner of human rights andinternational officials to act for the unconditional and immediate release of political prisoners in Iran.
- >>Kouhyar Goodarzi, Journalist and Human Rights Activist Expelled from Sanati Sharif University
- >>Another Kahrizak…What's happening in Khorin Detention Centre in Varamin?
Police had already disclaimed the arrest of women and young girls. This dangerous denial is made while there is clear evidences that100s of people were arrested during the protests on November 4th and most of them were women and young girls.
According to reports almost all the women and girls arrested have been transferred to Khorin, the terror prison near Varamin where there have been alerts of crimes even worse than those reported at Kahrizak.
Reports say that some of Khorin’s regular prisoners have been transferred to Evin prison to make room for the women and girls. Immediate action from human rights and international organizations is vital to prevent more horrors.
- >>Baha'i Citizen's House Searched In Babol
- >>Karroubi: Iranian government doesn't know what it's doing
Karroubi expressed surprise at Iran's policy change toward the U.S. and said that the sending of a congratulatory message and letters to Washington was in direct contrast with the regime's bashing of the American government.
He referred to Mohammad-Reza Mir-Tajeldini's remarks about Ahmadinejad's two-hour meeting with 50 American officials during his last trip to New York and said, "If even a tenth of such a meeting had taken place during previous administrations, shroud-wearing devotees would have [taken to the streets and] thrown Tehran, Qom and Tabriz into chaos."
"Why is it though that hardliner dailies such as Kayhan have nothing to say about this issue?"
"Iranian interests are not the play-toy of nouveau politicians. One day there is a meeting with the Americans over Afghanistan, the nuclear issue, and oil, and next, they ruin everything."
"I think such policies will create doubts among the people and it is obvious that the government is confused and does not know what it is doing," said Karroubi, adding that he believed talking about such issues were his duty.
- >>Fars claims private hospital helped fuel unrest
The Parcham report carried by Fars wrote that the unnamed private hospital had allocated its resources to treating a 'certain group of people and turned away all bearded individuals who had a Basiji appearance.'
According to the report, while Health Ministry regulations clearly state that the names of patients must be registered on hospital administration forms, many of the "leaders" of the unrest who were brought in were treated without their names being recorded.
Parcham also alleges that after treating the wounded, demonstrators were given clean clothes and sent home in ambulances.
After the unlawful behavior of the hospital's director was brought to light, he left the country on an alleged research grant and returned to Tehran a few days before Nov. 4, Parcham added.
The hospital director continued his unlawful behavior after his return and refused to admit many of the wounded brought in during Nov. 4 protests, the report claimed.
- >>271 schools in Tehran Province temporarily closed due to swine flu
Ali Soleimani added that 19 school children in Tehran Province have been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus and 12 of them have been hospitalized.
The director of the Tehran Education Department has said six of those infected with the virus are from the city of Tehran.
So far, many schools in Kashan and Isfahan have been temporarily closed to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus. On October 28, 235 schools at the elementary and secondary levels were closed for eight days in Kashan.
The Health Ministry has said 23 citizens have died of the H1N1 virus so far.
The Health Ministry announced last week that 515 new cases of swine flu have been detected in the country, increasing the number of those infected with the disease to 2,153.
- >>Families of political detainees protest prison conditions
Reportedly, 50 political detainees are currently in this section and due to lack of space sleep in the halls of the section. Those who protested the condition were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement last week.
Citizen’s rights accorded by the judiciary, allows at least one square meter to each prisoner. The letter from the families maintains that their “loved ones are currently placed in cells where they have even less than half a square meter of space.”
They add that “In this cold weather, they do not have a bed and are forced to sleep on the cold ground and many of them are suffering from the flu.”
Section 8 of the Evin prison is customarily used for drug smuggling and murder convicts and it appears that the transfer of political prisoners to this section is another form of pressuring them.
The government has arrested over four thousand people in the post-election protests to the alleged fraudulent victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Over three thousand have been released mostly on bail.
Families of many of the remaining prisoners have been actively pursuing their cases demanding their release or in the least, better conditions whilst in custody.
- >>Iran authorities confirm location of detained November 4 protesters
On November 4th, 109 people were arrested and over 40 of them were released on bail. The rest are reportedly transferred to Evin Prison.
From the start of protests against the alleged fraud in the election, over four thousand people have been arrested. Police claims under 400 of those are still in custody. The arrest of these people which also include a group of prominent political and social activists has been contested by reformist clerics and human rights groups.
The government appointed committee in charge of following up on the situation of these detainees has issued no reports except for denying Mehdi Karroubi’s allegations that some of the detainees were raped by prison officials.
Human Rights Watch announced last week that they have concrete evidence that rape of detainees in the post-election arrests in Iran has occurred and expressed concerns that the government intentionally neglected the evidence.
International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) has also expressed concern over possible torture of members of university alumni group, Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat detainees.
- >>National Coach: European teams reluctant to come to Tehran