HAPPY NOWROUZ to ALL...!!


The Tech Herald

It was about 7:30 p.m. EST when our cell phone used for security news rang. On the line was Ahmad-Batbi, a spokesman for HRA-Iran.org. His side of the story relating to the events that resulted in the IRGC led shutdown of 29 websites shocked us. The IRGC said they hacked the sites to take them down, but he said the 30 people arrested were tortured for their access.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that its cyber teams hacked 29 websites linked to US espionage. In addition, 30 people were arrested on charges of waging a US-backed cyber war.


The IRGC’s claims were backed by two state news agencies, IRNA and FARS, who reported that the sites taken down were linked to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, and other US-backed war networks…


Ahmad-Batbi explained that the 30 people arrested in the takedown operation performed by the IRGC were tortured for their access to the various websites, and as such the sites were taken down by physical violence, and not hacking.


"They have 30 members of our group held hostage, including the sister of one of our members, who has nothing to do with this matter. Each of the 30 hostages is a human rights activist and nothing more," he stressed.


Those arrested, Iranian officials say, were linked to efforts to fight against filtering in the country, as well as creating a secure telephone and data communication ground for making interviews with Radio Farda, Radio Zamaneh, Voice of America and other western media. Those are just some of the charges, there were others including creating security for Internet users.
Because of those charges, according to our conversation with Ahmad-Batbi and a report by Reporters Without Borders, they are dissidents, considered “mohared” or enemies of God, and could face death by hanging.


The Revolutionary Guards is the military group founded shortly after Iran's 1979 revolution. The group includes Intelligence, Navy, Army, and Air Force units, as well as the Basij paramilitary force. The Basij is touted as the group behind all of the physical punishment handed out to protestors during last summer’s elections in Iran.Recently, a senior commander of the IRCG underlined the force's willingness to confront all types of enemy threats against the Iranian nation. The unspoken meaning in the statement is that they are willing to go to extremes to do this.


Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran


According to reports, a few days before the Fire Festival (May 16) threats and pressures against political prisoners and ordinary prisoners in section 4 of Gohardasht Prison severely increased which led to the transfer of Mansour Osalu to section 5 of this prison and the brutal torture of seven other prisoners.


On Sunday March 14, Mr. Osalu, the head of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Union was unexpectedly summoned by the head of the Protection and Intelligence Department of this prison. Officials intended to transfer him to a solitary cell in section 5 on the false charge that he intended to hold the Fire Festival in prison. But because all the solitary cells in this section were full, he was taken to the public cell of this section which is known as the 'methadone ward' alongside prisoners with severe addictions and contagious diseases. Prisoners in this section have no security. One of the prisoners in this section is the head of a mafia and is known for dealing drugs in prison and physically eliminating prisoners. He acts on orders of the prisoner officials, Ali Mohammadi, Kermani and Faraji. This person does whatever he is told for money. Officials told Osalu yesterday that he will stay in section 5 from now on. Osalu's life is in serious danger and this is a cause for concern for other prisoners.


On Sunday, simultaneous with the transfer of Osalu to section 5, four prisoners in hall 14 of section 4 were summoned to the Protection and Intelligence Department and were brutally tortured for a long time with electric clubs. They were told to confess against Osalu and say that he intended to burn blankets for the Fire Festival. These defenseless prisoners, whose bodies were severely bruised, were not willing to confess to such lies. In another attempt on Monday March 15, three other prisoners including Mr. Shahriari were summoned to the Protection and Intelligence Department. They were also severely tortured with electric clubs. They were told to confess to collaborating with Osalu to hold Fire Festival celebrations in prison.
22 people arrested in Gonbad Kavous on Fire Festival
IRAN

The head of the Gonbad-e Kavous State Security Forces in the province of Golestan said that 22 people were arrested in the events of the last Wednesday of the (Iranian) year. Colonel Ali Akbar Maqsadlou said, "These people were charged with carrying flammable material (firecrackers), disrupting public order and maneuvering with their automobiles at night".

126 people arrested on Fire Festival in Semnan
IRAN
The head of the State Security Forces in Semnan announced that in the events of the last Wednesday of the year, 126 people were arrested in this province.
Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran
According to reports, severe water pollution in Gohardasht Prison has led to the spread of various illnesses which seriously threatens the lives of prisoners.
From March 11, the drinking water of section 1 and 4 in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj became extremely polluted which has rendered the water undrinkable. The color of the water is a turbid greenish color with a very bad odor and because of the high amount of chlorine in the water, it tastes and smells very bad and is unusable. Defenseless prisoners are forced to use this water because it has been polluted for a long time which has led to various illnesses. A number of prisoners suffer from headaches and stomach aches and other digestive problems.
The water in the pipes of various sections in prison is so polluted that those who use it to bathe have come down with side effects such as rashes and severe itches. From three days ago, the water was cut off in these sections and prisoners only have water for 1 or 2 hours a day and have been deprived of even the polluted water.
Jaras Websit
Abdolreza Qanbari who was charged with moharebeh in a trial after Ashura for participating in Ashura protests (on December 27, 2009), was sentenced to death by Judge Salavati. Qanbari, 42, lives in a poor neighborhood in Varamin. He is a teacher and according to reports, his only crime is participating in popular protests on Ashura and chanting slogans against Ayatollah Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic. He was taken to security section '2-A' which belongs to the intelligence department of the Revolutionary Guards Corps after being arrested on Ashura. On January 30, 2010 he was taken to court where he confessed to participating in Ashura demonstrations and other things without the knowledge of his family, and while being deprived of a lawyer and barred from visits with his family and selected lawyer. A person who closely follows his case said that the confessions were extracted under pressure and torture. He has been deprived of a lawyer and was just recently transferred to a public section in prison
Kalameh Website
Massoud Lavasani, journalist and blogger who was arrested in his home on September 26, 2009 has gone on a hunger strike.
He was sentenced to 8 and half years of prison by the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court and is currently in Evin Prison.
According to reports, after his telephone calls were cut off, his in person visits in prison were also suspended. Human Rights Activists in Iran reported in December that he was previously allowed a visit with his family every two weeks and now he was allowed a visit every six weeks in which he was barred from seeing his child.
Iran Press News Website
According to reports from Sanandaj, the Kurdistan Revolutionary Court presided over by Mostafa Tayari issued another 17-year-prison term for political prisoner Farhad Mirzayi.
Farhad Haji Mirzayi was temporarily released on a heavy bail after two years of torture in the Kurdistan Intelligence Agency, Evin Prison and Qezel Hesar Prison. Farhad was sentenced to ten years and six months of prison the first time in a show trial in Tehran. His 17 year prison term was issued for him in his absence and it has been stated in his sentence that the case of Farhad Haji Mirzayi is open for investigation and trial

ISNA

The sentences for 87 people who were convicted in the Ashura (December 27, 2009) protests after the elections have been finalized and their cases have been referred to the Sentence Implementation Department. According to a report by the Public and Revolutionary Court in Tehran these sentences which mostly include prison terms have been referred to the Tehran Revolutionary Court Sentence Implementation Department. These convicts have been charged with assembling and conspiring against national security, spreading propaganda against the government, being members of anti-revolutionary grouplets, participating in illegal gatherings and disrupting public order.

Saeed Jalalifar has been released from Evin


Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Saeed Jalalifar, a member of CHRR was released today, March 16, 2010 at 7pm from Evin prison.

His release was secured after the payment of an approximately $100,000USD bail.

He had been detained in Evin prison for more than 100 days. The interrogators of his case has cited “propagation against the regime” as the charge of this political activist and member of CHRR.

Saeed Jalilifar, 24, was arrested on November 30, 2009, as he was leaving home, and has been in Evin prison since then. He was a student at Zanjan University, but was banned from continuing his education.

Translation by: Siavosh J | Persian2English.com

Committee of Human Rights Reporters
After the interrogator refused to release her son from prison before Norooz [Iranian New Year], Farangis Davoodi, Kaveh Kermanshahi’s mother, has decided to set up a sofre haft-sin [traditional decorative set up for the Iranian New Year] outside the prison so she can be present with her child on the holiday.

On Wednesday March 17, 2010, Kaveh’s mother, just like several times before, requested a temporary release or a meeting with her son. As of now, the detention centre in Kermanshah has not provided her with any solutions.

Additionally, interrogator Shirzadi has stated days ago that it is unlikely that Kaveh will be released any time before April 4, 2010.

After 40 days of detention for Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, there is still no information on the arrest or the charges laid against him. Kaveh’s mother has had only one short meeting with her son. In recent days, many political prisoners have been released from prison for Norooz.

Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi was arrested on February 3, 2010 during an assault by security forces on his home.

Kaveh is a journalist, human rights activist, and Human Rights Watch spokesperson for Kurdistan. He is also member of the One Million Signatures Campaign in Kermanshah, member of Zhiar [Kermanshah organization] [editor's note: Zhiar Kermanshah Organization is an organization that had its permit revoked in June 2008], and member of Advar Tahkim Vahdat [student organization].

Translation by: Maryam | Persian2Englsh.com

URGENT ACTION

STUDENT ACTIVIST DETAINED Without Charge

Student leader Milad Asadi has been detained without charge in Evin Prison, Tehran, since 1 December 2009. Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. He is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.


23-year-old Milad Asadiis a student of electrical engineering at Khajeh Nasir University and is also a leading member of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity (OCU), a national student body which has been prominent in demanding political reform and an end to human rights violations in recent years. He was arrested shortly before mass demonstrations against the government took place on university campuses on 7 December, which is Students’ Day in Iran, marking the anniversary of the killing of three students in 1953 by police.


He told his family during a visit in mid-January that he had been held for 46 days in solitary confinement in a tiny cell only two metres wide and two metres long. According to the website Reporters and Human Rights Activists in Iran, Milad Asadi told his family during a prison visit in February that he would be tried on 3 March, but this is not known to have taken place.


At least three other prominent members of the OCU – Mehdi Arabshahi, Behareh Hedayat and Amin Nazari are also detained. Another – Morteza Samyari - has been released on bail after being sentenced to six years in prison. He was convicted of vaguely worded offences apparently related to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association, following an unfair trial.


PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:

  • Calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Milad Asadi and any other students held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association;

  • Urging them to ensure that Milad Asadi is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and has access to a lawyer of his choice, his family and any medical treatment he may require;

  • Reminding the Iranian authorities that freedom of expression, association and assembly are guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 APRIL 2010 TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info_leader@leader.ir

via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)

Salutation: Your Excellency





Head of the Provincial Judiciary in Tehran

Ali Reza Avaei

Karimkhan Zand Avenue

Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17, No. 152

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir

Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei








And copies to:

Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights

Mohammad Javad Larijani

Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737

Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 3390 4986

Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com (In subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Salutation: Dear Mr Larijan


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

STUDENT ACTIVIST DETAINED without charge

ADditional Information

Milad Asadi sits on the Central Committee of the OCU. At least three other members of the Central Committee of the OCU are currently in detention. They are Mehdi Arabshahi, who is the Secretary of the OCU, arrested on 27 December 2009 - the religious festival of Ashoura - when mass demonstrations against the government took place; Behareh Hedayat, who is also the Chair of the Women’s Committee of the OCU, arrested on 31 December 2009, and Amin Nazari, also chair of the OCU Human Rights Committee, arrested on 27 February 2010. Another member, Morteza Samyari, was sentenced to six years in prison on 18 February for “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with the intent of harming state security”, but was subsequently released on bail pending an appeal against his conviction and sentence.


Amnesty International has previously taken action on behalf of Mehdi Arabshahi and Bahareh Hedayat during an earlier detention (See Urgent Action, (Index: MDE 13/095/2007), 27 July 2007, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/095/2007)


24-year-old Morteza Samyari, arrested on 4 January 2010, appeared in a mass “show trial” of 16 persons on 30 January 2010. All were accused of involvement in orchestrating the Ashoura protests. He was sentenced on 18 February 2010 to one year in prison on the charge of propaganda against the system and a five-year prison sentence on the charge of “gathering and colluding with the intent to act against national security”, apparently in connection with a proposed meeting with EU representatives which never took place. He was released on bail of 500 million rials (approx US$500,000) and a guarantee of a further 100 millions rials (approx US$100,000) on 7 March 2010, pending an appeal against his conviction and sentence.


Since the disputed presidential election in June 2009, over 5,000 people have been arrested, including over 1,000 during and following the mass demonstrations on Ashoura on 27 December. Those detained include political figures and political activists, students, human rights defenders and journalists. Many have been tried in grossly unfair trials, resulting in long prison term sentences and some sentences of flogging. At least 13 individuals have been sentenced to death, of whom two have been executed and three have had their sentences commuted to prison terms. Those known to be on death row include Ahmad Karimi and Amir Reza Arefi, convicted of “moharebeh” (enmity against God) for alleged membership of the Anjoman-e Padashahi Iran, a group which advocates the restoration of a monarchy in Iran, and five unnamed individuals (two women and three men) said to have been tried and convicted in January 2010 of “moharebeh” for alleged membership of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and organizing the Ashoura demonstrations. 20-year old Damghan university student Mohammad Amin Valian has also been sentenced to death, although his appeal has not yet been heard. He was one of five people charged with “moharebeh” during the trial of 16 in which Morteza Samyari was also tried. Video footage of him throwing stones during the Ashoura demonstrations was shown in court and was used as evidence to convict him of “moharebeh”.


"Moharebeh" is a vaguely worded criminal offence in Iranian law, usually applied to those who take up arms against the state. It can carry the death sentence.


The Iranian authorities are continuing to severely restrict freedom of expression in Iran, arresting journalists and human rights activists (of whom scores are believed to remain in detention), imposing restrictions on the use of the internet, including social networking sites, and shutting down newspapers. A renewed campaign of arrests of human rights activists began in early March 2010 (see UA 50/10, 12 March 2010,(Index: MDE 13/029/2010)).


For further information please see Iran: Election Contested, Repression Compounded, December 2009, (Index MDE 13/123/2009).


UA: 62/10 Index: MDE 13/032/2010 Issue Date: 15 March 2010


Committee of Human Rights Reporters

Writer and women’s rights activist Laleh Hassanpour was arrested on Tuesday March 16, 2010, after a raid on her home by security agents. She has been taken to an undisclosed location.

There is no report on the reason behind the arrest or the people responsible.

Laleh Hassanpour has been arrested while many political prisoners have been released in recent days. Tehran’s attorney general had also announced that some of those arrested in recent months would be released for Norooz (Iranian New Year).
Translation by: Siavosh J. | Persian2English.com
RAHANA
Five political prisoners (two of them are on death row) have been transferred to solitary confinement cells in ward 240 of Evin prison.

Ahmad Karimi, Nasser Abdolhosseini, and Hesam Tarmasi are among the prisoners who have been transferred to solitary confinement cells under the order of Bozorgnia, the director in ward 350 of Evin prison. The [transferred] prisoners were on hunger strike this past Saturday and Sunday in protest to the conditions in their ward. They sang revolutionary songs like Yar-e Dabestani (My classmate) and Ey Iran (a famous Iranian anthem) to insist on their entitlement to a minimum [amount of] their human rights [recognized]. Some prisoners told their families during the weekly Monday visits that they took part in the protest while wearing green wristbands.

According to the Kaleme website and families of political prisoners detained in ward 350, some prisoners were still wearing green wristbands when they visited with their families, and they resisted the demands of the prison guards to remove them.

Based on this report, political prisoners in ward 350 played a game of soccer against the team “financial prisoners,” and they won. After their victory, ward 350 prisoners lifted their shirts. A picture of Mir Hossein Mousavi was exposed, drawn on paper by artist prisoners. The act was followed by loud cheers by prisoners.

Bozorgnia has adopted restrictive measures against prisoners in order to punish them. Some measures include depriving [prisoners] from making phone calls, closing the ward’s shop, and locking prisoners in their ward for several hours during daily breaks.

The prisoners in ward 350 have announced if their friends are not returned from the solitary cells, they will go on an indefinite hunger strike starting March 21, 2010 (Iranian New Year).

Ward 350 holds more than 150 of the prisoners arrested post-election 2009.
Translation by: Siavosh J. | Persian2English.com
2 clips that say much:
In the first clip, at a junction, we can see a woman running for her life from the security forces... but unfortunately she is caught!
In the second clip, the next morning , we see the security which have returned more organized arresting a number of youth - seemingly - from the same junction!




Mahshad


I am still alive to tell the story:

From the personal weblog of Foad Shams who was recently released after three months of detention.

Wednesday March 10, 2010

I am still dreaming

Ninety seven days of being half awake on the hills of Evin brought nothing to me but dreams. The most beautiful children of the sun and the wind during the last cold days of autumn and winter have been on the hills of Evin; the same hills that have for decades been the meeting point of freedom lovers. All that remains of “the gates of the great civilization” are the tall walls of Evin [translator's note: A few years before the 1979 Revolution, the Shah of Iran claimed that Iran is steadily moving toward the "Gates of a Great Civilization." Here, the writer is using the term sarcastically, reminding us that Evin prison was built during the Shah's time]. Yes, for years a feast takes place on the hills, and the “Godfathers” are the hosts. I was fortunate enough to be with everyone in this feast during the second half of this year.

The experience of prison in the second half of this year [Persian Calendar year] was the best thing that happened to my life. It is an experience that will not be repeated. Prison was not as limited for us as the prison guards had hoped for. Quite the opposite, our generation turned the page and the prison became a completely creative place for us. The hosts of this feast were asking us to forget our ideals, but it did not happen. We were dreaming, even in prison. They tried to limit us by using their methods. Well, maybe they restrained us a little. But in my solitary confinement, when I thought that they had taken everything away from me, it was my dreams that would fly me through the window slots on a full moon night; just like a butterfly.

When you think you have nothing to lose and you are deep in thought amidst the heavy silence of cell 105 in ward 209, all of a sudden you hear Hashem whistling to tell you that there are still people on the grass with a flame burning inside. And you hear Mousa banging on the walls to tell you that you are not alone. And the sound of ‘Orange’ [a nickname] coming from a slot is not only a voice, but it is hope. In the dreams, when the dusk falls, suddenly they sing the song of “the Dusk.” When you think you are alone and there is no one with you and then all of a sudden Alrahman-ol-Rahim [nick name] tells you about his ‘flower,’ who after weeks of no contact, he had seen her for a few minutes and kissed her. You feel like crying, but you smile at Alrahman-ol-Rahim and you tell him to stay strong: they cannot break the stems of your flower.

When the biggest past time of your life is to listen to a chess game betwen Mahtab and Sogand [two female prisoners] and the cheating by Mahtab. When I think about Sogand and her spirit, I get sad. I blame myself for telling her that we would be staying in prison for a long time. And now I am out and she is still in there. When I think about Sogand, I only think about the dawns of tomorrow; a future when Sogand will be with us in the name of freedom. To dream means when you are in solitary confinement and silence has taken over. You even miss listening to the sound of the Qu’ran recited by al-Qaeda brothers. It is only the sound of your dreams that can give you power in solitary. When Roya [female prisoner] tells you that everyone not only stood outside [the prison] on the 16th of the month, but also the 17th and 18th, you want to scream out for joy.

This is why I miss solitary confinement after 80 days. It was a solitary that did not have the color and smell of loneliness. It was a solitary where I found the best friends of my life; friends whose faces I do not recall, but it is as if we have lived together for 10 years.

But the experience of living in cells where your spirits are lifted by the mere sound of a familiar voice and you feel the presence of a friend whom you have not seen for two years is a precious experience. The experience of banging on a wall and playing Bandari music is your biggest joy of the long dragging days. I can tell you confidently that to dream and to stay half awake for 97 days means that there is nothing tastier in the world than a packet of milk and a few cucumbers that Abbas gave me a few hours before his release. It was all the talk from Abbas and the news about the heroic act of Majid [Tavakoli], the real man behind the student movement, that provided the biggest source of energy for me.

Memories of my one day visit with Kianoosh and the immortal song by Aghasi, “I am alive with your love” was with me until the last day of detention. I learned from Kianoosh how to resist and he learned from our generation how to confess to changes within us. And of course the memory of the biggest cheat in history “Abbas Eslami,” whose stories were long and beautiful and entertaining like Indian movies; and of course they were all false. But dreams only become meaningful when after 40 days suddenly a friend comes to you and asks, “Sir! Sir! what time is it?” in an attempt to reduce the heaviness felt in the room just by a little.

And of course our nightly singing, our show of “cursing at those who live outside the country,” and the top ten nightly shows! Mehrdad taught me how to enjoy life under the worst conditions during those two weeks. Yes I am still dreaming. It is like it was all a dream. It must have been a dream when we were making playing cards using boxes from dates and we would be playing cards all night with the al-Qaeda kids. It is as if I am dreaming when I remember how we used to play backgammon with official al-Qaeda members and the games would go on for so long that they would miss their prayer times. I must be dreaming that for 20 to 25 days I was at a place where the communist song ‘The International’ was not to save human beings but the prison was internationalized itself. Americans, Arabs, Afghans, Kurds, Canadians, and Sri Lankans were all within five meters of each other. It is as if I am dreaming that “it was all well…it was all well…the only one missing was Lenin himself!”

This must have really been a dream that on my way to court the agent sarcastically suggested to me to push a button for a beautiful lady to appear and I was dumb enough to look for the button for 15 seconds only to realize that he was teasing me! It is as if I am dreaming that I am still walking in my cell, reviewing a lifetime of memories. I have killed any regrets within myself. I must be dreaming that I saw Heshmat [Tabarzadi]. He is the one who stood behind me like a mountain during the hardest days of my imprisonment. He is smiling at anything that is serious in life, and then invites me to a game of chess. It is as if it was all a dream when I see that the gate for the break room in ward 209 was even more popular than all the chat rooms of Yahoo!. Everyone was leaving messages for each other.

It is as if I am still dreaming that the guard came to me and said, “Foad, get your stuff.” After 97 days, for the first time I had teary eyes when I left the embrace of Heshmat and turned my back to him and left him in his corner.

It is as if I am still dreaming that I left the prison gates and all of a sudden people started screaming for joy and I was in my father’s arms. I am still dreaming. It is all a dream. The prison and its limitations gave me a gift of creativity. I still have dreams where the prison is only a tale.

First I must thank my dear parents who were like the sun and the sea. During the 97 days they gave me light and purity. I also like to thank all my friends whose names I will not list as it will be a long list. These friends were with me, despite the tall walls of Evin and did not forget me. And of course, I would like to thank all the media outlets who covered my news in any way possible.

At the end I hope there will come a day when the dreams of thousands of human beings who are among the most beautiful children of the sun and the wind will come true. They are the ones who finally proved right here on these hills of Evin that the winter will eventually come to an end and the spring will blossom.

But until then, I will keep dreaming. Although the hosts of the feast see Evin as only a dream, but me and millions of other green sprouts see it as an undeniable reality. Our dreams will become reality and their prisons will become a tale.
Many thanks to Tour Irani for translation | Persian2English.com
Abdolrezar Gnabari, has been sentenced to death as MOHAREB by Judge Slavati- notorious appointed judge who was also in hand during the 1980 massacres of political prisoners- since Abdolreza had participated in Ashura protests.
During Ashura protests, which was a violently suppressed,according to official reports, 7 people were killed,hundreds arrested, and as Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi , 250 detainees have already received charges.
Recently in a meeting with Ayatollah Hamedani, the judiciary official had said that the Courts have found 11 detainees already charged, but 6 charges under revision.
Iranian officials have highlighted that the Death penalty applies to "Monafeghin" ( PMOI affiliates) and political groups.
Ghanbari's case is one that could be revised.
ALL related Images to do with 4shanbe soori celebrations by press and media


New York Times

Iranians Defy a Ban in a Display of Dissent

Iranians defied a ban on events marking a traditional festival on Tuesday, turning an annual celebration into a show of anti government sentiment.
Also Tuesday, the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi appeared to challenge the authority of the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by assigning a name to the new Iranian year, a traditional prerogative of the ayatollah.

The celebration of the Feast of Fire, an ancient Iranian festival with Zoroastrian roots, has been banned every year since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and every year Iranians have celebrated anyway, setting off firecrackers, dancing in the streets and leaping over bonfires.

But this year, the opposition decided to make a political statement and urged supporters to celebrate the day. In response, the government took extra measures to ban celebrations.

Read More


CNN
Iranians celebrate holiday under police crackdown

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iranians marked a holiday that leads up to the Persian new year under the watchful eyes of police Tuesday night after the Islamic republic's supreme leader tried to discourage the celebrations.

Thousands of people turned out, some in groups as large as 400 people, to dance, listen to music and light bonfires in side streets around Tehran on the festival of Chaharshanbe Soori. But unlike other holidays in recent months, there was no immediate sign that the observance was becoming a platform for protests against the country's leadership.

Read More



ABC News
Bonfires and Fireworks Light up Iran as Crowds Refuse to Abandon an Ancient Persian Ritual

The bangs and whistles of fireworks blasted through Iran's capital Tuesday night in defiance of the religious establishment to abandon an ancient Persian ritual involving bonfires and amateur fireworks

Reformist website Balatarin cited clashes in Tehran, with Basij firing tear gas at the crowds and reports that revelers burned portraits of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other witnesses told ABC News the streets were relatively calm.

"'It's like a big party, with lots of police," said Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist based in Tehran.

"Pretty much every major square had lots of riot police, but they were just standing and watching," Rezaian said.

Khamenei had denounced the yearly holiday, known as Chahar Shanbeh Suri or "Red Wednesday," saying it creates "harm and corruption." Other clerics also preached against the ritual during Friday prayers, calling it "impious."

Read More

LA Times
IRAN: Explosions and heavy security amid celebrations of ancient fire festival
Firecrackers and homemade explosives were heard throughout the Iranian capital on Tuesday night as Iranians took to the streets in celebration of Chaharshanbeh Souri, an ancient Zoroastrian fire festival held ahead of the Persian New Year, amid a heavy police and security presence.

Opposition supporters had vowed to turn the event this year into a protest against the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And security forces took no chances.

On the streets of Tehran, armed security forces were out in full force, especially in main squares where protests had taken place earlier. Droves of helmeted "special guards" on motorcycles rumbled past stunned pedestrians. Plainclothes security officials oversaw checkpoints, pulling over cars filled with young people. Police officers on sidewalks could be seen ordering kids to open up their rucksacks.

Read More

Huffington Post
Iran's Latest Fatwa: A Fiery Fury

On this day every year for millennia, Iranians have started fires. Big bonfires and tiny ones made of tinder. Street blazes and backyard flickers.

They jump over these flames during the ancient fire festival, Chaharshanbeh Suri, ushering in the festivities of the Norooz Festival that marks the vernal equinox worldwide, and the New Year for Iranians and many other nations.

At times like this, when tensions are peaking in Iranian politics, today's fire festival gets more than heated javascript:void(0)as the public heads for the streets building bonfires, setting off firecrackers, and lighting up the night in defiance of the government's disapproval of the pre-Islamic tradition.

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Freedom Messenger

Iranian youths in Tehran set fire to a building of the paramilitary Bassij Force on Tuesday, located at Baharestan Park in Vahidieh. This region also saw heavy clashes taking place between people on the one hand and the regime’s suppressive forces, State Security Forces, and plainclothes agents on the other. The smoke from the fires set by the youths has engulfed the air.

The municipality has turned off street lights in this area and the regime’s agents have blocked off the Salimi Afzal Street which connects to the park. The agents also surrounded people who had gathered in the part to mark the Fire Festival. However, a number of youths hurled firecrackers and home-made sound grenades into these forces, breaking their formation and siege.

The people expressed their outrage against the absolute clerical dictatorship by chanting “death to Khamenei,” the regime’s Supreme Leader, and other anti-regime slogans, while setting off firecrackers.

In other parts of Tehran, garbage bins were set ablaze in Gisha while in Sattar Khan, there were clashes between people and the regime’s agents.
Burning police car in Tehran




Fire festival in Bojnourd



Fire Festives / Anti-government protests in Shahihshahr


Fire festival in Qom


Fire festival in Kerman


Gohardasht


Babolsar, near the sea


Esphahan


Fire festival in Khouzestan


Fire festival in Tabriz while security forces are already mobilized
Garbage on fire slap on Municipality which tried preventing use of garbage for riots

Rasht;
Don't be afraid we are all together.." ... " My dear friend.. we are all together (song dedicated to the Student movement against the government)"...
Dedicator shame on u , leave my country alone"...



Articles on today's 4shanbesoori in the press

Guardian online

Iran protests: festival of fire live blog
4pm:
Tonight's demonstration is a key test of the strength of the opposition after a disappointing turnout at last month's protests.

Some commentators, including former US security council middle east expert, Flynt Leverett, said the turnout on 11 February showed that the opposition was running out of steam.

The planned protest tonight is different from the other demonstrations staged since the disputed elections last June. It is due to happen at night rather than the day to coincide with Chaharshanbe Suri or the Feast of Fire celebrations.
Even before the election this Zoroastrian ceremony had become a way of showing defiance to the regime. It involves letting off fireworks, jumping over bonfires, and men and women dancing on the streets - an activity banned in the Islamic Republic.

The festival often turns dangerous as young people traditionally chuck petrol bombs and other homemade explosives.

This time round the authorities have banned the festival and stepped up security. The supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei described Chaharshanbe Suri as corrupt and counter to Islam.

Yesterday the authorities announced that six people arrested in earlier protests will be executed. The move is being seen as a way of warning the opposition not to take to the streets tonight, according to the New York Times.

The defeated opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi have not overtly called for supporters to take to the streets tonight. But yesterday Karroubi pointedly said the Iranian government was "plagued with despotism".

And the Facebook page of Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard has expressed support for the festival. It is the festival of light against darkness, it said.

4.08pm:
Tehran police chief General Hossein Sajedinia told the ISNA news agency his forces were deployed to prevent "any event in the city".

The police have also announced that riding motorbikes will be banned tonight.

Opposition website, Norooznews, reported that Mousavi told a group of activists that the green movement would continue into the Persian New Year, which starts on Sunday.

"We have to call the next year the year of patience and resistance, until the aims of the Green Movement are achieved," he said.

4.14pm:
Police are banning petrol stations from filling up containers, according to CNN's Reza Sayah.

4.18pm:
There are numerous reports of firecrackers going off and even of clashes on the streets of Tehran from usually reliable sources on Twitter. Video footage has been released but there are doubts about its veracity, some claim it shows last year's fire festival.

4.31pm:
The Tehran fire brigade reports 36 separate incidents across the city tonight, according to the state run news agency ISNA. Eight of the incidents were due to handmade fireworks, it said according to our translator.

4.39pm:
Three people have been arrested in Enghelab Square in Tehran, according to the INA news agency.

And there is a heavy police presence in Tehran's Haft-e Tir Square and the Saadat Abad and Velanjak areas of the city according to France24.

Earlier today the Committee of Human Rights Reporters said that women's rights activist Laleh Hassanpour was arrested after a police raid on her home.

4.48pm:
As usual on one of these protest days there is virtual media blackout in Iran which means that reliable information is difficult to obtain. If you are in Iran and have news, please email me at matthew.weaver@guardian.co.uk or for a more secure encrypted message email me at matthew_weaver@hushmail.com and please post updates or interesting links in the comments section below.

5.05pm:
The number of incidents reported by the Tehran fire department has increased to 66 up to 7.45pm local time (4.15pm GMT), according to the semi-official Mehr News.

5.11pm:
Some 32 people have been injured in the festival so far, according to Isna citing a medical official.

There is still a notable absence of reliable images or video footage of what's happening. Either nothing much is occurring or the regime has successfully blocked news spreading. There are reports of restrictions on the internet in Iran and slow connection speeds.

Mobile phone networks have also been blocked or disrupted in some areas, opposition websites claim.

5.24pm:
There are unconfirmed reports of a fire at the home of Hossein Karroubi, son of the opposition leader Mehdi. The report, spotted by Tehran Bureau, appears on a website loyal to the regime.

5.38pm:
The number of people injured tonight has increased to 83, according to the opposition website Rahesabz.

The satellite broadcaster Al Arabyia reports that images of both president Mahmoud Ahmadinjad and the supreme leader Khamenei are being set fire in the protests.

5.50pm:
An email claiming to be sent from Shanhrake Gharb in Tehran reports large fires in that area of the city. This appears to confirm similar reports from opposition website.

Some of the fires were as high as the doors on houses, the email says.

It says car drivers are protesting by sounding their horns. "I did not hear slogans but a lot of hooting which shows that the protests are not finished yet," the message from Vahid says.

He claims the protest/festival is being tolerated by on looking police and Basij militia. "It seems that Iranian leader has ordered the forces not to attack people and leave them to do their festival," the message says.

6.05pm:
That report of a fire at the home of Hossein Karroubi (5.24pm) is false, according to a tweet from Mehdi Saharkhiz, whose father, a former spokesman for president Khatami, is currently in jail in Iran.

6.12pm:
The number of incidents reported by the Tehran fire department has increased to 123, according to the semi official Fars News.

There are reports from human rights campaingers of "clashes" between protesters and the riot police in Karaj, a city 40km west of Tehran.

There has also been an explosion in a house in the city, according to the independent Khabar online.

6.20pm:
You can use this Google widget to translate the blog into a rough version of Persian.

(It looks good, but our translator says it is very rough and doesn't generate proper sentences).

6.45pm:
Vahid emails with another update claiming to be from Shahrake Gharb in Tehran. He's just seen two helicopters hovering over the areas, and has heard of clashes elsewhere in the city. So far there have been no reliable accounts of violence between the police and the protesters.

6.51pm:
One apparently reliable video from tonight has been uploaded to YouTube, but it is short and difficult to see anything. But it's interesting that footage is starting to emerge.

6.58pm:
The semi official Fars News now says the number of calls to Tehran fire service has increase to 164 tonight. A contact emails to say that the sound of firecrackers in the Fereshte area of Tehran are getting louder.

7.06pm:
The opposition website Rahesabz says tonight represents a success of sorts because it claims thousands of people have taken to the streets to take part in the festival/protest in defiance of recent comments by the supreme leader.

But the opposition must be disappointed not to have witnessed a greater show of strength.

7.21pm:
After sunset, people filled the streets in Tehran and across Iran for tonight ceremony, AP reports.

It adds:


Iranian riot police and militiamen have fanned out around Tehran in a major show of force during a national festival that authorities feared could re-ignite anti-government protests.

7.24pm:
A new video purporting to be filmed tonight shows the extent of the ceremonies in the southern city of Shiraz.

7.28pm:
More video, again apparently filmed tonight, shows people singing and dancing in the central city of Isfahan. They are not chanting anti-government slogans, but taking part is seen as act of defiance.

Another video from Isfahan looks more raucous.

7.38pm:
This video from the northern city of Ardebil shows home-made bombs going off. Such explosives are common during the festival of fire.

A witness in western Tehran emailed to say there is still "lots of bombing" and that this year's festival was larger than previous years.

The fact that people use of improvised explosives during the festival might explain why the police appear to have kept their distance.

7.50pm:
The videos are now coming thick and fast. This one is the first from tonight showing protesters directly defying the regime by chanting "death to the dictator".

8.00pm:
More videos appears to confirm that festival goers were also protesting against the government as well as playing with fire and explosives.

8.04pm:
Here's the first footage from tonight purporting to show pictures of Khamenei's being burnt.

8.08pm:
The time in Iran is approaching midnight when people have been warned they face arrest if they continue to be on the streets.
Tehran
At 19h00
Youth in Motahari Street, defended the crowd which was being attacked by security forces. As the security force car rushed in to the crowd, the youth surrounded it and dismantled and then set it on fire.
The source who was filming this scene had his camera taken by the security forces there.
INA
At 19h00 , 10 special trooper brigades swarmed the streets and some,took control of the shopping ally called Nasr and 15 Bassij members stationed themselves at the entrance. They begun attacking the people in the area and the people run away to the near by streets and allies. The crowd in 50-100 groups dispersed and regrouped.
The same security brigades dared not to enter the streets and allies until 20h00. At which time they introduced armored personnel carriers filled with troopers of the special security forces to curb the resistance of the crowed. The reaction of the people was to woo and mock and start throwing them rubbish and cans and empty bottles.
The security troopers cut in some of the groups and arrested 4 , but had to release them at the junction. During these clashes,one youth threw a hand made grenade on a Bassij who was attacking.
Tehran Ekbatan.. Putting on fire of Khamenei's picture and Down with Dictator




Sadeghieh "Down with Dictator"





People being attacked.. a Girl screams "Let me gooo" ..an other youth shouts at the Bassijis "*** Let her go"... They attacked.. and arrested them".. Oh my god they are taking them .. You B***s"





Jumping over the fires





Vali Asr
, suppressive security guards take position to attack,people woo the guards and mock them



Giusha in Tehran under the control of the youth for some time

Phone contact right now : clashes still going on.

Attack of so called security police on people who had gathered for the ceremony , in which apparently the forces use shields and bullets and fire into the crowd and aim at a boy and a girl. Luckily they are not hit and by stander who till then were only celebrating started chanting "Down with Dictator" ...

iranntv

Parsdaily :

Tehran:
Near the Baharestan park, situated in Vahidieh of Terhan, ( North to Niroo havaiee) sever clashes are ongoing between people and security forces as well as the plain cloth agents. The municipality has shut down the electricity to prevent people from reacting to the bassij elements.
Much smoke is seen and it seems that the brave youth have set car tyres on fre to illuminate the area .

The Bassij have closed the root leading to Baharestan Park the street is called Salimi Afzali and unfortunately a numbe rof people in the aprk have fallen in to the trap of the bassij elements.
Youth out of this seige are trying to break the sieg by using hanf made sound grenades to dispers the bassij.

Slogans can be heard from a sidtant away " Down with Khqmenei "
Confirmed report form the North of Iran
Babolsar:

People have gathered in front of the sea, they have up to now seem to be about 1000. They keep coming, and those who are there are suing all kinds of sound making bombs and fire crackers.
Regime has asked for forces to come in right now;
Agents, mainly plain clothed ones have argued with and arrested a number of youth. People tried to prevent the arrests and started closing in chanting "Down with Dictator "
As this report is transmitted, the agents have shut down all the lights on the sea shore and are trying to prevent more people of gathering .
Tehran:
Since about 17:00 local time, protests on Fire Festival began in various parts of Tehran and other cities, with the sounds of firecrackers and fireworks heard extensively.

In Roudaki Street, clashes took place between people and taxi drivers on the one hand and the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and paramilitary Bassij Force on the other, who have created grievances for the people.

The Telecommunications Company, which is now controlled by the IRGC, has resorted to extensive filtering on the internet. Internet bandwidths have been reduced to their minimum capacity, bringing connection speeds to a crawl. In many parts, internet has been disconnected.

Mobile networks have also been disrupted in various areas, especially central parts of Tehran. Commanders of suppressive forces have stressed that internet should not be disconnected entirely but rather connection speeds be reduced significantly. This measure is aimed to waste the time of internet users who seek to communicate with others.


This afternoon, Colonel Khancharli, Deputy Commander of Tehran Operations of State Security Forces (SSF), is flying in a helicopter in Tehran in order to control the city and protest acts by the youth on the occasion of Fire Festival.

Despite the regime’s suppressive measures, this morning, packages containing A3-sized pictures of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, were distributed among people in various parts of Tehran, including Imam Hossein Square so that they could burn them during the celebrations. There were slogans on the pictures saying, “Celebrate Fire Festival with the burning of the picture of the oppressors’ supreme leader,” “Festival of light against darkness: Burn this picture.”

In Shahrak-e Gharb, youths celebrated the coming of Fire Festival by setting alight fire crackers.

Comedic clips depicting Khamenei and his cohorts, as well as a call to participate in the Fire Festival, were distributed widely on the internet and through the mobile phone networks.

In phone booths at Tehran’s Aryashahr, youths widely posted invitations for people to participate in the Fire Festival celebrations with the slogan of “down with the principle of velayat-e faqih [absolute clerical rule].”


As darkness approaches in the are, the sound of sonic hand grenades and fire bombs is heard louder than ever in all the districts. Activities are so much that suppressive elements fear to meddle in.

In different districts people have collected logs and wood o make huge fires for the ceremony, in the main streets they set tires on fire

People throw eggs at cars that try to stop them from the ceremonies.
Daliran bibak
Guisha:
Youth arrested a Bassij element who was harassing bystanders and those who were our side their homes while he was pushing into the crowd with is motorbike
They also set the motorbike on fire

In other areas of Gisha, people are still on the streets with fire crackers.

INA
Akbatan : 20h- The area is under control of the people and protesters and people are carrying out thier festivites
in Isphahan, in a clash people have put on fire a police check point in a protective measure to defend the security guards offensive
At 18h30 in Malek Shahr of Ispahan, youth had used hand made grenades (sound and paint) to show they do not sumbit to threats by the Supreme Leader and his Fatwa (from eyewitness..)

in Tehranp Akbatan: People had gathered to celebrate the festivities , but were constantly harrased and interogated by Bassij and scurity force. As a result the youth in FAZ 3 of Akbatan 70 youth clashed with 100 Bassij (fully equipped ) elements.
INA
(No other source so much updated yet on Iran! )
We have been trying to bring to you update news on events going on Iran. It is strange that non of those which used to provide much news before the large scale crackdown are no so updated.
The only live and update source I found - which I am using with help of a freind is INA so far.
This would ofcourse require the contacts inside Iran.


Salsibil: Report for 18h. People have come out on the streets to start the fire festivities, the security guards have lined up . It is almost a face to face ling. Crackers have begun

Karaj: Ceremony on its way and people are actively usi9ng fireworks and explosive sound grenades.
from SIMA; SO many guards.. swarming every where.. they are brought by bus...

Shiraz: People have used their terraces to celebrate the fire works at times when the streets have been striclty controled.
Government offialsd have spread the word that "rioters and husslers" are preparing to set cars on fire .

Ekbatan : SIMA tv reporter , reported that all people are planning to start the real fets after 18h or 19h.

Sare Pole Zahab: 18:25 in frontof Jame Mosque , people have gathered and started a fire on greater scale and people are gathering more ..
This is a follow up of a twitter who ( claimes to be ) in Iran : azadi2011

haha, people yelling marg bar khamenei outside my place, its going to be a good night #iranelection

b4 i go: Marg Bar Khamenei #iranelection

the fire burns deep inside us to get a new regime in #iran

my 1st report, not 1 picture of khamenei anywhere in the city. they took all his pics down in fear of burning #iranelection

regime forces are out but they are spread thiin because events going on in every single neighborhood starting #iranelection

WOW!! Very very loud explosion going outside my place. shaking the place. #iranelection firecrackers everywhere

im trying to get ghaemagahmi havign trouble #iranelection #iran

any reports coming in from around khomenei metro about explosion???? i am getting word of huge explosion from friend #iranelection

Obama do you hear us from Tehran??? #iranelection #iran do you see the fire burning??

control of the neighborhood is in our hands, hope all other neighborhoods do the same and then we can start our chants #iranelection

car alarms going off everyhwere because the fire craacker and explosion #iranelection #iran

I will be coming in and out to tweet, but streets are starting to fill up #iranelection #iran

yes i also hearing about engelab clashes #iranelection #iran
NCRI

In the mean time to spread fear the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) today disseminated false and preposterous reports through its media outlets like Javan Online about “the arrest of two teams of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) that intended to carry out terrorist attacks on the Fire Festival” and “sought to murder citizens, and set fire to banks and government buildings.”
Parkway, South Khosh, Sounds of cracker explosions have been heard loud and clear.

Mohseni- Youth in Moohseni have set fire to garbage and begun huge fires with gfreat explosive crackers. They have also set back the security forces that attacked to curb the gathering.


Khani Abad- Youth and men and women have started the Fire festivities at 17h.


Mosadegh to Vali Asr, and Afrigha youth have opened fire festivities despite presence and harassment of security forces, plain cloth agents.
They CHant."Dajal Khamenei ..jump into the dust bin" ... "Khamenei e dajal ..bepar to satl-e ashghal"
Vali Asr, almost huge explosions of fire crackers heard fro, long distance.
Passers-by have said, security forces are dazzled by the quick response of youth who release the firecrackers and disappear.

People have put out their garbage as to help youth to use them for fires used to jump over in the ceremony, since it is prohibited by the security guards
ON this issue, in districts such as Shiraz Square, North Shiraz,Mollah Sadra and Tareh bar have actually put out their garbage for use. This is despite the fact that Town hall garbage cars had already swept the garbage once the night before to prevent youth from using them.
From Iranian sources

Tehran- A car distributed A3 size pictures of Ali Khamenei around Imam Hossein Square before noon local time. Beneath the pictures it was written: "Burn this picture."


Tehran- There has been disruptions in mobile phones in Fatemi Square since 10 AM local time.


In Ahvaz (southern Iran), all the internet cafes have been cut off. Only five internet cafes that are constantly monitored provide service. Their lines are very slow.
Daliran bibak and Freedom Messenger
Regime has brought helicopters flying low to create. Contacts from Iran say, the helicopters have been seen over many areas such as :
Youssef Abad, Vanak,Mossadegh

At the same time at least 1000 official forces have been stationed in Azadi, and numerous plain cloth agents have dispersed in the area.

People have nevertheless mostly left doors open leading to the main streets going to Azadi.

Committee of Human Right reporters

After 100 days in prison, Mohammad Jousef Rashidi was released yesterday at midnight.
He has been chief editor of "Faryad", and had spent 2 months in solitary confinement.
Daliran Bibak

Since the early hours in Tajrish, security forces have engaged their unites in full, and have stationed them in and around the Bazar. It is estimated that at least 100 have seen on motorbikes.
The Bassij has set up, road blocks and checks passers by in Fatemi Square and Farhang,
Shahrak Gharb, sound of firebombs and sonic bombs have been heard since the morning.
NCRI

The Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday announced the launching of an already existing "Joint garrison of State Security Force (SSF), IRGC and Bassij paramilitary to maintain order and security, and to deal with the possible disturbances on the last Wednesday of the [Iranian Calendar] year," state-run media reported.

The reports stated that "Four technical gatherings on the ways of maintaining order and security" were held and the "full readiness of IRGC and Bassij for deployment in various districts of Tehran" was announced.
For the past 9 months the sessions of the Joint Garrison of regime's suppressive forces have been regularly held in Sarallah Garrison. Iranian regime's suppressive organs have been preventing any information leaks on the sessions. The Iranian regime is fearful of an uprising during the Fire Festival to the extent that even it tries to use the news of holding a regular secret session as an instrument for intimidation to confront people's protests during Fire Festival
According to reports people have been in clashes sporadically with security guards. It seems that the guards had harassed cars taking passengers to create fear and prevent gatherings , and this lead to these cashes

Security guards and plain cloth agents are practically covering the pavements and passage ways , harassing any one stopping by .
On Sunday, the clerical regime dismantled all of the kiosks it had previously set up in various squares and parts of Tehran as paramilitary Bassij posts, fearing that Iranian youths will set them on fire.

Moreover, according to directives issued by the Tehran Council for Security, municipalities are also asked to remove garbage bins from streets before the start of Fire Festival celebrations. The measure is carried out under the pretext of “improving safety in the city and prevention of probable accidents.”

The trepidation of the desperate ruling mullahs is to the extent that they have ordered: “On this day [March 16], garbage bins must be emptied on two or three different occasions by the municipal services in order to prevent rioters from using them.”

At the same time, on March 14 and 15, the regime’s officials expressed anger over the fact that “the youths have politicized the Fire Festival,” and threatened families not to go out with their children during the festival. The regime’s agents have instead recommended playing with firecrackers on rooftops, threatening families by saying that there is a possibility of shootings and riots during the Fire Festival.
Daliran bibak

8h30 am: Contacts report there are clashes at the west side of AZADI Square , between youth and stationed security forces. Youth are protecting some of their friends as they have been attacked by forces. They have been seen throwing stones to fend off attack.

Last night, people have seen government forces taking down large portraits of Khamenei which in Arya Shahr and Azadi , in order to prevent the youth from destroying it on 4shanbesoori

Alireza Kiani was sentenced by the so called Judge Raziaan, of Babol for posing threats to National Security, and publishing articles of Anthony Giddens !
He was also sentenced for disturbing public discipline and sentenced for 70 lashes and 1 year suspended prison sentence.
Alireza is a former political secretary of the Islamic Student society of Mazandaran.
There is still no clear information about the situation of Nasoor Naghipoor, who was arrested during the March 2nd coordinated attacks on human rights activists.

According to HRANA, the latest news on Nasoor Naghipoor indicate that he has contacted his family once in the past ten days and has described his general health as well. Nasoor Naghipoor was transferred to Tehran after his arrest and is currently detained in Evin prison.

Nasoor Naghipoor was born on April 14, 1981, and is an electric engineering major. Over the past years, he has worked with local newspapers in Ghazvin on cultural issues and was writing for his personal weblog at the time of his arrest.

Nasoor Naghipoor also runs the website “Nasoor”, which seeks to increase useful content available on Farsi web. The site publishes pieces dealing with politics, philosophy, society, and literature.

The authorities have announced the charges against Nasoor Naghipoor as human rights activities and communication with foreign outlets. His family has been unable to obtain any further information.

Translation by: HRANA
(P2E editor’s note: The HRANA website is currently down, most probably hacked by the Iranian regime since some of their links lead to Gerdab.ir)

A report on Farzaneh Ghasemi’s situation since her arrest

Farzaneh Ghasemi has been detained in Evin prison since February 10, 2010 where she is subject to constant interrogation and pressure.

Reporters and Human Rights Activists News Agency (RAHANA) - In the early hours of February 10th, two young officers accompanied by a middle-aged agent rang the door bell of Farzaneh Ghasemi’s house.

They first used a car parked in the alley as an excuse to enter the house. When their trick failed to work, they entered the house using force.

Based on the report by RAHANA, the agents were carrying a search warrant, which according to them was general enough to justify the search and seizure of all Iranians, and, as they put it, all the domiciles “from the beginning to the end of the street.”

The agents first started by asking for “Firoozeh.” After checking everybody’s identification card, they realized the person they were after is named Farzaneh.

After searching the house, the agents confiscated a series of items including Farzaneh’s Iranian and Canadian passport (she had used the latter for a trip to Beirut to attend a conference on architecture), two laptops, a camera memory card, and several music CDs.

Since her arrest, Farzaneh’s family received three brief phone calls from her, and visited her once at Evin prison. During all the contacts, Farzaneh stated that she was well. Despite her family’s repeated trips to the courthouse and prosecution’s office, and a series of written requests, they have not received any response regarding the charges.

Based on the report RAHANA has received, Farzaneh is in high spirits, but she is still subject to long and harsh interrogations and pressure.

Farzaneh’s academic and professional background and achievements have always been a source of pride for her family and friends. She completed her high school in Farzanegan Secondary (school for talented and gifted Students). She accomplished the fourth highest mark in the national university entrance exam (Konkoor) in the field of fine arts, and was consequently admitted to the school of Industrial Design of the University of Tehran’s faculty of fine arts.

Farzaneh then moved to Vancouver to continue her education at the University of British Columbia. She graduated with a master’s in architecture and design.

Like all young and concerned youth, Farzaneh was interested in the development and destiny of Iran and Iranians, and was actively engaged in peaceful activities that would contribute to the progress and advancement of the country.

Translation by: Siavosh J. | Persian2English.com

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Kurdish writer Sousan Mohammadkhani Ghiasvand was arrested on March 11, 2010. The professional screenplay and fictional story writer was arrested at 8:00pm by security forces at her home located in Karaj.

There is currently no information available on the reason for the arrest or the location of Sousan’s detention.

Several years ago, in addition to her professional writing career, Sousan Mohammadkhani Ghiasvand was a civil activist in Kurdistan.

Translation by: Persian2English.com


STOCKHOLM — Iranian activist Parvin Ardalan, who has been sentenced to several jail terms for her activities in her native land, is to live in exile in Sweden for up to two years, authorities said Monday.

"She has accepted our offer and should be here by the end of the month," Fredrik Elg, cultural attache in the southern city of Malmoe, told AFP.

Ardalan, a journalist and women's rights activist, had been invited to Malmoe within the framework of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), and would be housed at a secret address in the city for up to two years, he said.

The activist, born in 1967, would also receive a grant to allow her to "freely carry out her profession," the city of Malmoe said in a statement.

Ardalan had left Iran and was "out travelling," Elg said, adding that he did not know where she would be staying before settling in Malmoe.

Last week, she was in Paris accepting a "Net Citizen" award from Google and French media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on behalf of the women's rights blog we-change.org.

Ardalan, who has been sentenced to several jail terms in Iran on charges of seeking to harm national security, became a household name in Sweden after she won the 2007 Olof Palme Prize for her work to promote women's rights in her home country.

Tehran's refusal to allow her to attend the ceremony in March 2008 caused outrage in the Scandinavian country.

The Olof Palme Memorial Fund on Monday welcomed the news that Ardalan would be coming to Sweden.

"It has been a pleasure to see the interest surrounding her work and I am convinced that Parvin Ardalan will contribute to both the cultural life in Malmoe and increased work for human rights in Iran," head of the Fund Pierre Schori said in a statement.

The Olof Palme Prize is named after the Swedish prime minister who was gunned down by a lone attacker in February 1986, shortly after leaving a Stockholm cinema.

Created to promote peace and disarmament and combat racism and xenophobia, the prize consists of a diploma and 75,000 dollars (54,000 euros).

The Persian holiday Nowruz (“new day”) is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. On this Nowruz we want to remember several courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran with Nowruz greetings. We ask you to send cards with simple Nowruz greetings such as “Nowruz mobarak”

You can say “thinking of you at Nowruz time” or “hoping you are well.” You may send a greeting in either English or Farsi (Persian) but please do not mention Amnesty International or specifics of the recipient’s case. Please also refrain from mentioning the political situation, human rights or U.S.-Iran relations. We suggest sending cards with pictures of landscapes, spring flowers or the like, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday and the message of hope and renewal. Please do not choose cards that have pictures of people, and please do not use cards that depict bottles of wine or other alcoholic beverages.

Traditional Nowruz celebrations include the preparation of a Haft Sin table which literally means the seven s’s. Seven items beginning with the Persian letter sin (equivalent to the English s) and which represent spring time are set out. To honor this tradition, this year Amnesty International has selected seven cases, all of them prisoners of conscience who have been identified by Amnesty International as “individuals at risk” and are therefore targeted for intensified campaigning. Several of them have been sentenced to long prison terms for their peaceful activism and several are in poor health.

Mansour Ossanlu

Mansour Ossanlu is the leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Syndica-ye Sherkat-e Vahed). He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “acts against national security.” The charges stem from his peaceful work to obtain better conditions for workers in Iran and to end discriminatory laws and practices that curtail workers’ rights in Iran. He had been arrested and detained several times and severely beaten in custody.

He had originally been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison but in August 2008 he was transferred to Raja’i-Shahr prison in the city of Karaj which houses criminals convicted of violent crimes. Raja’i-Shahr prison is far from his wife and family who have not been able to visit him very often.

He has suffered from serious medical problems, including retinal damage resulting from beatings he received during a previous detention. Although he was permitted to undergo emergency eye surgery in October 2007, his health condition is still a concern. He has not been allowed to receive the medical care he needs. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience who is being detained on vaguely worded charges in order to halt his efforts to build strong trade unions capable of defending the human rights of workers.

You can send a greeting for Mansour Ossanlu to his wife Parvaneh at:


Golbarg-e Gharbi
(Janbazan-e Gharbi)
Taqate’ Maseyl-e Bakhtar
Sar-e Koucheh Shahid Ali Akbar Amiri
Plak 343, Tabaqe avval
Khaneye Ossanlu

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Or:
Mansour Ossanlu
First floor, Number 343
Shahid Ali Akbar Amiri Alley
Western Water Barrier Crossroads (or: Maseyl-e Bakhtar Crossroads)
(Janbazan West)
Golbarg West, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Ronak Safarzadeh

Ronak Safarzadeh, an Iranian Kurdish graphic artist and women’s rights activist, is serving a prison sentence of six years and seven months in Sanandaj Prison. She is an active member of the Campaign for Equality, which is seeking to end legalized discrimination against women in Iran, and of an affiliated NGO, Azar Mehr Women’s Organization of Sanandaj.

On 8 Oct 2007, Ronak Safarzadeh attended a meeting in Sanandaj to mark the International Day of the Child and collected signatures in support of the Campaign for Equality. The following morning, Ministry of Intelligence officials reportedly came to her house, confiscated her computer, copies of the Campaign’s petition and a booklet it produced, and arrested her. Her trial began in March 2008 in the presence of her lawyer, where the charges against her were set out. She was accused of being mohareb (at enmity with God), which can carry the death penalty. The charges may stem from accusations of membership of or activities for PJAK, a Kurdish opposition group, and taking part in attacks in Sanandaj, which Ronak Safarzadeh, her family and friends, strenuously deny. Her lawyer is reported to have said that Sarafzadeh’s “confessions” were taken under duress and are not admissible in court.

In January 2009, Ronak Safarzadeh was charged with participating in a hunger strike along with other prisoners in October 2008. On 5 August 2009, the Appeal Court of Kordestan Province confirmed the sentence issued against her. She was sentenced to five years for acting against national security (for membership of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, PJAK, an armed Kurdish opposition group), another year for propaganda against the government and seven months for illegally crossing a border. Ronak was acquitted of the charge of "being at enmity with God."

You can send Nowruz greetings to Ronak Safarzadeh to:

Safazadeh (for Ronak Safazadeh)
7 Alley/Nimayushij Street
1/17 Faz.Baharan.
Sanandaj
Kordestan Province, Post Code: 66177/48/898
Islamic Republic of Iran

Emadeddin Baghi

Prominent Iranian Journalist and human rights defender Emadeddin Baghi was arrested on 28 December 2009, the day after massive protests were held in Tehran and other cities to mark the Shi'a religious observance of 'Ashura. He is not known to have been charged with a crime. He is in poor health stemming from his previous imprisonment, and Amnesty International is concerned that he could be subjected to ill-treatment and medical neglect while in detention.

Emadeddin Baghi was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, although Iranian authorities prevented him from going to Geneva to attend the award ceremony on 9 November 2009. It was the first time in the award's eighteen-year history that the recipient was denied the opportunity to receive the award in person.

Emadeddin Baghi is the founder of the Association for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, which had been compiling information on torture and other abuses of detainees. He has focused attention on Iran’s appalling record of executing juvenile offenders, as well as the execution, following grossly flawed legal proceedings, of a number of Iranian Arabs accused of politically motivated crimes. In the late 1990s he exposed the mysterious serial murders of Iranian intellectuals. His books Right to Life and Right to Life II argue for the abolition of the death penalty using Islamic texts and jurisprudence. They have been banned by Iranian authorities--who had previously shut down his newspaper Jomhouriat in 2003-- and Mr. Baghi has served years in prison on charges of “endangering national security” and “printing lies.” In December 2007, during his most recent imprisonment, he suffered three seizures and a heart attack and remained in poor health without adequate medical care until his release in October 2008. Officials closed down the office of the Association for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights in September 2009.

You can send Nowruz greetings to Emadeddin Baghi to his wife Fatemeh Kamali Ahmad Sarahi at:

Flat #1, 4th floor,
1 Ghaffari Alley
Ekhtiarieh Square – Pasdaran Street
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Seven Baha'is

Seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community are currently on trial on serious, but baseless, charges that could lead to the imposition of the death penalty. Although they have done nothing more than peacefully practice their religion, they have been charged with spying for Israel, for “insulting religious sanctities,” with “propaganda against the system” and with being “mofsed fil arz” or “corruption on earth.” They have denied all charges.

The seven include two women, Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, and five men: Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaei, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm. All are leading members of a group responsible for the Baha’i community’s religious and administrative affairs. Mahvash Sabet who acted as the group’s secretary, was arrested on 5 March 2008. The others were arrested on 14 May 2008. All seven are held in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. They have only been allowed very limited access to their lawyers while they have been in custody.

The first session of their trial—which had been repeatedly postponed—finally began before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 12 January 2010. Their next court date is scheduled for 10 April. Amnesty International has repeatedly criticized proceedings held in Iran’s Revolutionary Courts for their failure to adhere to international standards for fair trials. In fact, the authorities attempted to bar the Baha’is’ lawyers from the courtroom on 12 January and only allowed them access after they insisted upon entering.

You can send Nowruz greetings to the seven Baha’is to:

Baha’i International Community
15 route des Morillons

1218 Grand Saconnex Switzerland

Shiva Nazar Ahari

Shiva Nazar Ahari, a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), was arrested with two other CHRR members, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Haeri, on 20 December 2009. Police officers and officials from the Ministry of Intelligence removed them from a bus halted in central Tehran, which was to travel to Qom where those aboard planned attend the 21 December 2009 funeral of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, a senior cleric who criticized the Iranian government’s crackdown on demonstrators in the aftermath of the June contested presidential elections. Shiva Nazar Ahari has been kept in solitary confinement without charge or access to her lawyers. On 11 February, she told her family by phone that she had been transferred to a “cage-like” solitary confinement cell where she cannot move her arms or legs. She added that she remains under pressure to accept “accusations” made against her, although the nature of these accusations is not clear. Shiva Nazar Ahari, had previously spent three months in detention after her arrest in the wake of the June post-election unrest.

The CHRR has come under particular attack since the disputed June 2009 presidential election. Members of the CHRR have been systematically and arbitrarily arrested and some possibly ill- treated while in custody. Others are currently in hiding. Amnesty International fears that the Iranian authorities have decided to 'make an example' of the CHRR not only by banning it and arresting its members but also by threatening to execute them. At least five members are currently detained. All are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. They have all been denied access to a lawyer since their arrests. The authorities have accused the group of having links to the banned political opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), which the CHRR vehemently denies.

The CHRR was founded in 2006 and campaigns against all kinds of human rights violations, including against women, children, prisoners, workers and others. On or around 21 January 2010, Abbas Ja'fari Dowlatabadi, the Tehran prosecutor told Shiva Nazar Ahari's family in a meeting that: "Experts of the case have reported that the website for the Committee is linked to "hypocrites" (the Iranian authorities' name for the PMOI), and any collaboration with the Committee is considered a crime."


You can send Nowruz greetings to Shiva Nazar Ahari to:

Shahid Madani street ( Nezam Abaad) - Mehran Tayebi Alley,
First floor from right - No 54 , Postal Code 1617785511
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Arash and Kamiar Alaei

Brothers Arash Alaei and Kamiar Alaei, doctors specializing in the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, were tried on 31 December 2008 for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and other charges in proceedings that did not meet international standards for fair trial. On 20 January 2009, the brothers were informed that Kamiar Alaei had been sentenced to six years in prison while Arash Alaei had been sentenced to three years.

Arash and Kamiar Alaei had been arrested in June 2008 and held without charge for six months. The brothers were given a one-day trial before Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, along with two other individuals. They were accused of involvement in an attempt to overthrow the government. The prosecutor withheld some of the charges they faced, giving the brothers no opportunity to refute the charges. The prosecutor also submitted secret evidence the brothers’ lawyer did not have the opportunity to examine or refute. The two doctors are known to have been charged under article 508 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code with “cooperating” with an “enemy government,” which carries a penalty of between one and ten years’ imprisonment.

Amnesty International is concerned the charges against Arash and Kamiar Alaei, and the allegations of their involvement in a plot to overthrow the government, are based solely on vaguely-worded national security laws. Amnesty International believes that the brothers are prisoners of conscience, targeted solely for their internationally recognized medical research and advocacy efforts and for their peaceful collaboration with non-governmental organizations in other countries.

You can send Nowruz greetings to Kamiar and Arash Alaei to:

Velenjak St., 16
Yasaman 2 Blvd
Floor 5, Apartment 3
Alaei
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

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