LRWC Iran Monitor Brief for 2007-2008 Summary of the situation for HR defenders in Iran as reflected by the past year's work: The following is a list of incoming messages regarding Iranian human rights defenders:
Apr 30 Sentencing of six women HR defenders (Forghani, Tahmasebi, Davoudi-Mohajer, Ardalan, Entesari, Ahmadi-Khorasani)
Aug 16 Two Kurdish HR defenders on hunger strike (Hassanpour & Boutimar)
Aug 24 Release of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari welcomed but release of Dr. Tajbaksh & Mr. Shakeri called for
Sept 10 Acts of Intimidation against Mr. Mansour Osanloo’s wife & sister
Sept 21 Release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh welcomed but release of Mr. Ali Shakeri is urgent
Dec 18 Release of Mr. Reza Dehghan
Nov 6 Long-term interference in Mr. Abdolfatteh Soltani’s freedom
Nov 15 Arbitrary detention of Mr. Sohrab Razzaghi
Nov 15 Confirmation of sentence against Ms. Delaram Ali
Nov 13 Confirmation of the death sentence of Mr. Adnan Hassanpour
Dec 18 Release of Mr. Reza Dehghan
Jan 03 Poor health condition of Mr. Emadeddin Baghi
The following letters were sent by LRWC:
June 1 Letter for Ms. Bahareh Hedayat
July 17 Letter for Mr. Osanloo & Mr. Salehi Although in June & July we managed to write letters for Iranian Human Rights defenders, there was no response from the team during my absence from Canada from September to early January. In the last few months, there have been no incoming messages regarding human rights defenders requiring international (including LRWC) support. Meanwhile, the Iranian women’s movement again planned to have a campaign on International Women’s Day (March 8th) although all preparations were highly secretive and may supporters were detained from previous years and previous identification as possible instigators of rallying.
I attended the University of Victoria President’s Distinguished Lecture by Shirin Ebadi on March 3rd. I found the overall emphasis to be that women’s rights will be furthered through a separation of religion from the state, and that the situation of women is similar world-wide, a common theme of patriarchy regardless of the various of ways it becomes apparent. See “http://www.martlet.ca/article/2293-women-in-canada-not-treated” for more details of her speech. I met with Mehrak Mehrvar, with West Coast Leaf and Nazanin Afshin-Jam at a OXFAM-West Coast Leaf Women’s Rights Symposium on March 1st, and spoke with them regarding future work on Iranian human rights, although both did not know of Iranian groups organizing to such ends in the Lower Mainland. Mehrak felt that the academic and politically engaged portion of the Iranian community rests predominantly in the Toronto-Ottawa region, which was somewhat confirmatory of the lack of presence / engagement my search efforts have so far elicited.
I am looking forward to writing more letters in the coming year and seeing some networks begin to form on the West Coast around advocacy for human rights defenders in Iran.
Suggestions as to how LRWC monitoring of Iran HR defenders could be improved:
Assistance in creating the Iran Report and more general level research. For the Report, it would be helpful if 1-2 additional individuals could be involved or otherwise, if an advance notice and a set format structure given so that more easily put together. Keeping up to date of Iran in the global media is very difficult as there has been a constant deluge of stories in the couple years.
Better networking with local activists so as to hear about new violations that may not otherwise rise to prominence in the international human rights community.
Sites to Visit / Pursue for 2007/2008 Review: 2007 Aug 18 Saleh Kamrani, lawyer and human rights defender, arrested and held in Evin prison. See http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/105/2007/en/dom-MDE131052007en.html.
Nov 21 Iranian lawyer, Mostafa Daneshju, detained for representing a Sufi order. See http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/11/3c8f4cda-a232-4b93-a631-8e4a5fd9697d.html.
Nov 22 Iran’s Supreme Court orders a new investigation into the Zahra Kazemi case, but family’s lawyer responds to the news with skepticism. See http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/11/27/iran-investigation.html.
See also a 2006 report from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, New Haven, Conneticut on the Kazemi’s case is available at: http://www.iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/english/ pdfs/Reports/IHRDCKazemiFullReportAppendices.pdf.
2008 Jan 28 Law student, Ebrahim Lotf-Allahi, dies in custody of intelligence officers. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/26/wiran126.xml.
Feb 28 Shadi Sadr , lawyer currently facing imprisonment for human rights work, continues to act against repression and intimidation. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/women-act-against-repression-and-intimidation-iran-20080228.
Feb 28 Narges Mohammadi, fighting human rights abuses alongside husband Taqi Rahmani, has publicly criticized the authorities for violating "the most basic principles of law -- keeping people in prison illegally, without charge, sentence, and trial." She says defense lawyers in many cases can't even get access to their imprisoned clients' files. See http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2008/02/E094A02F-4F9E-4FF8-873F-AFFB50DFEDEB.html Mar 4 Iran calls new UN Sanctions against it “worthless.” See http://news.findlaw.com/ap_stories/i/1107/03-04-2008/20080304113503_18.html.
Mar 11 Article by Trita Parsi about Bush’ administration’s effect on Iranian Human Rights defenders, followed by comments regarding Trita Parsi’s credibility as an Iranian / allegiances with Iranian government. See http://www.iran-press-service.com/ips/articles-2008/march-2008/bush-administration-has-fueled-the-human-rights-ab.shtml.
Mar 11 U.S. State Departmentpublished its annual report on the status of human rights around the world. Once again, the Iranian government is among the worst violators of the basic rights of its citizens. See http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100595.htm.
Apr 21 Time article on “How Iran Sees the US Primaries” See http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1732563,00.html. See also LA Times Middle East blog Babylon & Beyond http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2008/04/iran-hillarys-t.html. Apr 22 Hilary Clinton states “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran…we would be able to totally obliterate them.” See http://www.abcnews.go.com/WN/Vote2008/story?id=4698059&page=1.
Specific References & Reports “Iran: Events of 2007.” Human Rights Watch. See http://hrw.org/englishwr2k8/docs/2008/01/31/iran17597.htm.
In particular HRW notes:
Human Rights Defenders In 2007 the authorities intensified their harassment of independent human rights defenders and lawyers in an attempt to prevent them from publicizing and pursuing human rights violations. In July Branch Six of Iran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced human rights activist Emad Baghi, as well as his wife and daughter, to suspended sentences of three years for their work in documenting and publicizing human rights violations. In October court authorities arrested Baghi after he responded to a summons to appear before an interrogator, and at this writing he remains in detention.
The government closed nongovernmental organizations that encourage civil society participation and raise awareness of human rights violations. In March authorities raided and closed the offices of the Civil Society Organizations Training and Research Center, and closed the offices of Rahi Institution, a nongovernmental organization providing legal and social aid to women victims of violence.
“Iran.” Amnesty International Report 2007. See http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Middle-East-and-North-Africa/Iran.
2007/2008 Human Development Report: Iran’s HDI is 0.759, which ranks it 94th out of 177 countries. In 2005 it had the same index level, while in 2000 it was 0.722. The Iran fact sheet is not very instructive for our purposes, although the GDI was 0.750, indicative of the lower comparative score on gender equality indicators.
CASMII: Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran was founded in December 2005 in London. For more information on members (and General Website too) see http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/index.php?q=node/70.
Interesting report on India-Iran Relations by CSR for the US Congress from August 2, 2006. See http://italy.usembassy.gov/pdf/other/RS22486.pdf. See also Centre for Strategic & International Studies Monitor from March 8, 2006 at http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/sam92.pdf.