Something that is not mentioned as often as it should:
Eleanor Roosevelt with UDHR written in Spanish. Image via Wikipedia
As noted in a 2008 report by a Christian human-rights organization, “Apostates from Islam to another religion suffer a host of serious abuses from their families, communities and nations.” These renegade Muslims may well face the death penalty in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Sudan, and other forms of oppression in many other Muslim societies.
The reason for this systemic violation of religious freedom is, unfortunately, religious. Most classical schools of sharia law consider apostasy from Islam a crime punishable by death. A hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad is quite clear on this: “If somebody [among Muslims] discards his religion, kill him.” The implication is that Islam is a religion with free entry but no free exit. Continue reading →
An 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.
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 →
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.
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.
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).
Western Political correctness refers to them as “extremists.” But their statements and points of view can only be considered as “extremist” because of their extreme brutality. Lately some of the higher clergymen of Iran express themselves in a more “Quranic” way than ever. And show a striking setting with Spain, but not, as usual, with Spanish Al Andalus, but with nowaday’s Spain, which, in their eyes, is a kind of helpless orphan abandoned to their fate in the infidel lands being harassed by “the more arrogant powers” in the world.
A few weeks ago, during the full swing of the so-called ‘Movement 15-M’, Iran was swarmed by statements of high officials of the regime, linking the protests in Spain with the “waves of freedom brought by Islam to the Iberian peninsula for centuries“. A brigadier general stated to a semi-official Iranian agency, that “the Spanish release” was just one example of the “pursuit of freedom” by the Europeans, “a freedom like the one, coincidentally, brought the Muslim invasion of the peninsula“.
Ayatollah Khamenei. Image via Wikipedia
Thus, Al Andalus is still an example for the liberation of the oppressed Europeans: “Similar to the expansion of Islam into Europe via Spain for several centuries, the growing waves of arousal appear to spread from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe across the country, where thousands of demonstrators have begun concentrations in Spain for a few days“(ND). It is, ultimately, the new European salvation that comes through the Gibraltar Strait.
The very Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, had already spoken about the “waves of awakening” that crash not only the Arab world, but also the European democracies. Those waves are just encouraging imitations of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, a move that will reach “the very heart of Europe” and will permit the inhabitants to get rid of the “economic and cultural policies of the United States and the Zionists” (ND). Continue reading →
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.
“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…
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.
… 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.
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.
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]. “
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?”
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“.
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.
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.
See?? That's where we are going to build the base, Mahmoud
[…] According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an “emergency”. In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for “national needs” … radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise, including intensive training of officers
An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Hossein Derakhshan was released last night on the unprecedented bail amount of $1.5 million. Derakhshan had requested a prison furlough after a lower court sentenced him to 19.5 years in prison in September. The informed source told the Campaign that Derakhshan’s family is immensely happy to see him released and hopes that the upcoming appeals court ruling could keep him from returning to prison.