Iran: acid victim spares attacker from retribution

ameneh bahramiAn Iranian woman blinded with acid by her suitor for turning down his marriage proposal spared him at the last minute from being blinded too as punishment for his crime, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Ameneh Bahrami lost her sight in 2004 when Majid Mohavedi poured acid onto her face after she spurned his offers of marriage.

In 2008, a court sentenced Mohavedi to be blinded in both eyes for taking away Bahrami’s sight, using the principle of retribution permitted under Iran’s Islamic law.

“I have been trying for seven years to get the qisas (retribution) sentence, but today I decided to pardon him,” Ameneh was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

Ameneh said the international interest in the case was one reason for deciding to drop her demand for the sentence of retribution to be carried out.

“It seemed like the entire world was waiting to see what we did,” she said.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Iran not to inflict the punishment.

via Iran acid victim spares attacker from retribution | Reuters.

She has undergone 17 surgeries in Spain, but is badly disfigured and totally blind.

Iran: Authorities Release dissident Pegah Ahangarani

Pegah Ahangarani, Iranian actress and filmmake...

Pegah Ahangarani. Image by deutsche-welle via Flickr

After seventeen days Iranian celebrity and dissident Pegah Ahangarani has been released from Iranian custody, German-language radio Deutche Welle reports.

Hamid Hekmat, Ahangarani’s expatriate uncle, confirmed Wednesday his niece has been released on bail for $83,000. The charges against her remain unclear.

“Yesterday evening the family was told that they she could be brought home now. She is free at last,” Hekmat said. But Ahangarani’s uncle was unable able to give precise information about the condition of the actor, writer and film-maker. Continue reading

Iran: Japanese firm cuts ties over crane executions

United Against Nuclear Iran

Image via Wikipedia

A Japanese heavy machinery manufacturer said it has cut business ties with the Iranian government following a report that its cranes have been used for public executions.

The company’s announcement came several days after United Against Nuclear Iran President Mark D. Wallace published an op-ed in Los Angeles Times where he names the Japanese Tadano company as one of several companies exporting cranes to Iran.

…As part of the campaign, United Against Nuclear Iran published on its website a list of seven international manufacturers exporting cranes and other heavy equipment to Iran, along with pictures of the cranes being used for public executions.

via Japanese firm cuts ties with Iran over crane executions – Israel News, Ynetnews.

Iran: Authorities order the destruction of pre-Islamic symbols

Arash Archer Statue in Borujerd, Iran

Arash Kamangir, Borujerd. Image via Wikipedia

Religious motives appearto be behind the recent theft of several bronze statues of Iranian national heroes from public places.

In the northern city Sari, authorities ordered the destruction of 16 bronze statutes depicting the Iranian mythological hero and archer Arash Kamangir on chariots and with horses.

But Arash Kamangir has been not been the only object of the Mullah’s rage:

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution however, the Islamic Republic has been hell bent on its anti-Iranian agenda. The regime fears all symbols of pre-Islamic Iran. In recent weeks, this anti-Iranian agenda has manifested itself in removing wall paintings that depicted the Epic stories of Shahnameh (Book of Kings) in Mashad, the removal of the statues of another Iranian legendary figure, Arash in Sari and now they want to remove the statue of Ariobarzanes in Yassuj.

Related:

Iran: New developments in case of pastor sentenced to death

Last month, Youcef Nardarkhani, an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy for leaving Islam, had his death sentence for apostasy upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court.

On July 3, Pastor Youcef’s lawyer reported that his case was being returned to the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province and that the Supreme Court would annul the sentence if Youcef renounced his faith.

Iranian Christians are emphasizing, however, that reports indicating Pastor Youcef’s case has already been annulled are misleading, as the annulment is dependent on him recanting his faith and embracing Islam (sources include Middle East Concern, Mohabat News and Present Truth Ministries).

via The Voice of the Martyrs Canada: New developments in case of Iranian pastor sentenced to death.

Iran: capital punishment use, on the rise

Stop executions in Iran
Image by helen.2006 via Flickr

According to Amnesty International, Iran has admitted executing 190 people between January and the end of June this year; an additional 130 reported executions have gone unacknowledged. These figures put Iran on course for a record year for capital punishment. In 2010, 252 people were executed, according to official figures, with 300 more also believed to have been killed.

Iran Human Rights, an independent monitoring organisation, claims the true picture is much worse. It says 25 people were hanged in one day – 3 July – in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. The hangings, supposedly all drug-related, were not reported by official media. The same report said another seven people were hanged the same day in Evin prison in Tehran. It alluded to further uncorroborated mass executions in prisons in Khorasan province in 2010.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, another independent pressure group, reported last month that 26 inmates of Vakilabad prison in Mashhad were hanged on 15 June. It quoted the Mashhad prosecutor, Mahmoud Zoghi, as admitting “high numbers of executions” over the past two-and-a-half years. Zoghi said the rise was due to a high volume of drug trafficking cases. “The execution statistics are proportionate and foreign media unjustifiably exaggerate in this subject,” he said.

The number of public hangings is also on the increase. Since the start of 2011, up to 13 men have been executed in public, eight of them since 16 April, an Amnesty report this year stated. Iran meanwhile reportedly defied international law by executing two juveniles offenders, in Bandar Abbas on 20 April. Overall, Iran’s execution “average” is running at almost two people per day in 2011, making the regime the world’s number two executioner after China.

via Iran\’s judicial killing spree | Simon Tisdall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

Iran: U.S. hikers to be tried on July 31, says their lawyer

Evin Prison

Evin Prison

Iran will hear the case against three Americans detained for nearly two years on spying charges on July 31, their lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday, and he said he hoped a final decision on their case will be made then. Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were arrested by Iranian forces on July 31, 2009, on suspicion of spying after crossing into Iran from neighboring Iraq.

via Iran says U.S. hikers to be tried on July 31: lawyer – Yahoo! News.

Iran: a rise in the number of gang rapes worries society

Not only Western women are subjected to gang rapes. Of course, “Iranian officials” say that this is because they don’t wear hijabs…, just as Australian imam El-Hilali.

Recent reports of gang rapes in Iran are worrying women and raising questions about social values, reports Mohammad Manzarpour of the BBC Persian Service.

In a religiously conservative town near the city of Isfahan, women at a private party were abducted last month and gang raped at knife point.

One week later, a female university student was attacked and raped by unknown assailants on the heavily-guarded campus in Masshad, a holy city.

In both cases, officials accused the victims of not wearing the hijab or headscarf in the proper fashion and general un-Islamic conduct.

These high-profile cases and the derogatory comments made by Iranian authorities have outraged women’s rights groups who have long complained of the increasingly high rate of sexual harassment.

As the stories dominate newspaper headlines, a political and public debate is raging about the reasons for the apparent rise in sexual crimes in the Islamic state and how to prevent and punish them.

More here.

Iranian 1st VP: “Islamic awakening will end world’s arrogance”

Ruhollah Khomeini

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, this guy is very humble:

“Inspired by ideals of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini, Muslim nations are awakened and will end the dominance of big and hegemonic powers,” IRNA quoted (Mohammad Reza) Rahimi as speaking in a meeting with the visiting Sudanese Minister of Youth and Sports Hag Majid Swar in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

The Iranian vice president also lashed out at arrogant powers for plundering resources and assets of Muslim nations, saying, “They are violating the rights of Muslims.”

I don’t think that Sunni countries are really moved by Khomenei, but of course, Mr. Rahimi seems a little excited in his speech and its better not to tell him the truth…

Iran: blogger sentenced to 10 yrs in prison

Sakhi Rigi is a blogger who was sentenced to 20 years prison in Zahedan, in Sistan and Baluchistan province, on charges of publishing false infomation and “acts against national security.” This is the longest sentence ever passed on a blogger in Iran.

His blog was called Balouchestan Sarfaraz (Pride Baluchistan) [fa]. Rigi was arrested on 18 June, 2009, and is being held in appalling conditions in Karon prison, in Ahvaz. Torture was used to extract a confession. Adding to his bad luck, is that he has the same surname asAbdolmalek Rigi, the late head of the Balochi armed opposition group Jundallah, which in the eyes of the authorities implicates him.

Human Rights Activists Agency reports [fa] that:

… the blogger is 31 years old and was arrested six days after presidential election in 2009 and was jailed in solitary cell for seven months… he was studying in university and had just few months to end his studies… it seems his posts played a role in his jail sentence.

More here.

Iran: Two Christians freed, charges remain

 Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison this afternoon with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on March 5.

The two women, whose health deteriorated while in detention at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, are at their homes recovering from their nine-month ordeal, an Iranian source told Compass. They still could face charges of proselytizing and “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.

More here.

Syrian refugees identify Iranian Basijs in the repression

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria

Image via Wikipedia

The violent intervention of the Bashar al-Asad’s army in the town of Jisr al Shugur has already caused the flight to neighboring Turkey of more than 2,500 Syrians, amid evidence that Iran is not only behind the Syrian repressive apparatus, but Basij militants are participating directly in the operations of punishment. We can add to that, the lack of agreement in the Security Council to bring forward a UN resolution of condemnation, because of opposition from Russia and China, with veto power, and Brazil.

The testimonies of several wounded admitted to the hospital in Antioch involve Iranian agents who shot to protesters trying to disperse them in the city of Idlib, May 20, as recorded by the France Press correspondent in this city in Turkey. “There were policemen in civilian clothes, but also Iranian soldiers, ” Mustafa told through her ​​bed, a young seller of metal shot in the leg and arm. “I saw with my own eyes: we ask you not to attack us, but did not speak Arabic. ” “They had beards, and the Syrian army is prohibited, ” the trader added, evoking also a black uniform unknown in Syria. Akram, a 17-year-old also shot, has no doubts: “They were Basij [volunteer Iranian Islamic militants]. “

More here.

UN Report: Iran was caught 10 times sending weapons to terrorists

Iran was caught 10 times in recent years, transferring weapons to terrorist groups in the Middle East. These illegal activities included sending in April a shipment of advanced missiles which was intercepted while it was being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a United Nations report released by the Jerusalem Post.

The report, prepared by an independent panel of experts from the UN, which monitors compliance with UN sanctions imposed on Tehran, was elevated to the Security Council of the UN. The report was leaked to the Internet and picked up by Israeli defense analysts.

The report documents 10 cases of illegal shipment of weapons, including the cargo ship Victoria, who was arrested by the Israel Navy, earlier this year, with several containers full of weapons to Hamas.

More here.

Iran: US hikers tortured

Evin Prison

When Alex Fattal thinks about his little brother Josh facing the barrel of a gun or being thrown down a flight of stairs by Iranian prison guards, it’s “like getting kicked in the chest.”
Hearing this week that his 28-year-old sibling has experienced both during his nearly two year confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison confirmed the Fattal family’s fears that their younger son, along with his friend and cellmate Shane Bauer, also 29, was being not just psychologically but physically tortured while at the mercy of Iran’s treacherous judicial system.

On Thursday, Bauer’s fiancee Sarah Shourd, 32, who was held with the men for 14 months until her release last September, finally broke her silence about what had transpired during the trio’s days in captivity. The revelations — of brutal violence and psychological torture — confirmed the worst, that Shane and Josh are likely “in grave danger where they are,” Alex said. “Who knows what else has happened since Sarah was released?”

More here.

Larijani: “retaliation and punishment are beautiful and necessary”

Mohammad_Javad_Larijani

Mohammad-Javad Larijani. Image by cfarivar via Flickr

On May 1, Mohammad-Javad Larijani — head of the human rights council in Iran’s judiciary — participated in a conference where he offered his analysis regarding Iranian penal laws, which he claims are being attacked and criticized by international human rights organizations.

He said that retaliation, the cutting off of hands and feet, the removal of a “defendant’s” eye, and even stoning were a very real part of Iranian judicial law:

The problem is that these Westerners go on and on about their own laws. The interpretation of laws in Iran is based on Islam and our constitution. We have made concessions to some of the international demands, but we have our own laws and we will carry them out as interpreted.

Retaliation and punishment are beautiful and necessary things. It’s a form of protection for the individual and civil rights of the people in a society. The executioner or the person carrying out the sentence is in fact very much a defender of human rights. One can say that there is humanity in the act of retaliation.

In the past he defended stoning as a “lesser punishment than execution because you have a chance to survive“.

Spanish journalist Ángela Rodicio: “Iran is a diabolical experiment”

You emphasized throughout the book that the riots that took place in Iran in 2009 was the germ of the massive protests that have taken place in the Arab world in recent months …

More than the germ of all the revolutions that have taken place in Arab countries, what I’m saying is that these states have the same characteristics: a huge youth population (in the case of Iran, 70 % of the people under 30 years), high unemployment and a considerable degree of desperation. All this tension germinated in the protests of 2009 that have subsequently led to the revolt of the Arab world.

Do not forget that Iran is a diabolical experiment in vacuum given all the social elements of other countries, but with the added difficulty that it’s a closed, tight dictatorship.

Why those claims have not borne fruit in Iran?

Because the regime is so repressive that it would need a counterrevolution. We must remember that the actual players are those who revolted in 1979 against the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Thus, the old revolutionaries, the current representative,heard it all.

The pressure faced by the dissidents and the opposition is huge. Thus, I think it will take longer to materialize change. Although I am not a prophet, yes I am of the view that Iran is going to draw a similar path to that of other Arab countries.

Interview found here.

Iran: Christian convert detained in Evin prison, whose fate remains unresolved and unclear

According to reports obtained by the Iranian Christian News Agency, Mohabat News, this 32 years old new Christian man, Farshid Fathi, who resides in Tehran, pursuant to a pre-planned series of home invasions by the security forces, was arrested on September 26, 2010. Now, after more than 5 months from his arrest and remaining in custody at the 209th wing of Evin prison, his fate remains unresolved and unclear.

Mohabat News has reports indicating that this Christian prisoner has been held in solitary confinement for months and has been given permission to speak to his family once a week only and despite the conclusion of all interrogations there has been no court orders or instructions issued in his case.

The security forces and the interrogators have been using psychological torture methods to force Farshid to confess and provide a full list of all individuals he has evangelized and who and where are the domestic and foreign contacts.

More here.

Meeting between Iran and Venezuela “to study house construction in the country”

I did not know that Iran was a “house construction power”…

The President of Venezuela on Friday meets a delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran to study housing in the country.

The meeting, as explained by President Chavez, is aimed at the massive building decent housing for those affected by the constant rains that have plagued the country.

Chavez will be accompanied by the housing, economic and employment committee. Among those attending is the Minister of Industries and Mines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Akbar Mehrabian.

What a meeting: “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” and “Islamic Republic of Iran“. :roll: The names of the ministers are also very ridiculous, “minister of popular power …”. But was not it “the Bolivarian Republic”? And power is not “chavista”, rather than popular?

Iran: Iranian-born Saeed Malekpour sentenced to death on “Internet offences” charges

Saeed with his wife, back in Canada

An Iranian-born Canadian resident has been sentenced to death after spending two years in an Iranian prison, his supporters have learned. Supporters of Saeed Malekpour say the 35-year-old man has been tortured and forced to confess to “Internet offences” since he was arrested while visiting his ailing Iranian father in 2008.

via Celestial Junk: Behold the Peace of Islam.

Here is the letter he wrote to Iranian Judiciary about the torture he has endured. An excerpt:

While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with their fists, cables, and batons struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck. Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating and to compel me to play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios. Sometimes, they used extremely painful electrical shock that would paralyze me temporarily. Once in October 2008, the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water.

Reat it all. It’s a miracle he is still alive.

More information here (only till Nov 1st, 2010), here.

PS: He is a Permanent Resident of Canada. Correction made.