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Posts Tagged ‘ Majid Tavakoli ’

  • 19 May 2011
  • Posted By David Shams
  • 1 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran

Dorothy Parvaz is released, but will Iran open up on human rights abuses?

In welcome news, Dorothy Parvaz–the Al Jazeera English correspondent who was detained in Syria two weeks ago and later deported to Iran–was released yesterday.  She arrived in Doha, Qatar on a flight from Iran and detailed her ordeal in an interview with Al Jazeera here.

But while it is an immense relief that Parvaz has been freed, politically motivated detentions and executions continue in Iran.  Hundreds of political prisoners and journalists continue to languish in Iranian jails–such as Kurdish activist Habibollah Latifi, who faces imminent execution, and student leader Majid Tavakkoli, who will soon be celebrating his 25th birthday behind bars.

What is Iran doing about these cases?

Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, announced that Iran has no objection to allowing the recently mandated UN human rights monitor on Iran to visit the country.

This too is welcome news.  However, while Larijani said Iran accepts the basic framework of the UN investigative process, he questioned the “professionalism” of some of the UN investigators—a tact that has been used in the past to deny access to or impose prohibitively stringent conditions on investigators to prevent them from doing their jobs.

Moreover, last week Larijani announced plans for Iran to create its own “Islamic Charter of Human Rights” and framed this as a way to impose counter pressure on human rights.

It is beyond me why Iranian government would need to create yet another human rights charter given that it ignores the numerous international human rights statutes it has already signed.  Perhaps the first action that could be taken under the new charter will be an investigation of the brutal treatment of prisoners that Dorothy Parvaz says she witnessed during her detention in Syria.

  • 1 July 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

A Half-Hearted Attempt at Accountability

A military court in Iran sentenced two men on Wednesday to death and nine others to jail for the torture of three protesters which resulted in their death last summer at the notorious Kahrizak detention center.  According to the report on Jahan News, an additional 33 others  were also accused of attacking a student dormitory in Tehran.  Despite this development, however, many human rights violations in Iran continue.

Following is a list of some of the many ongoing human rights abuses in Iran that should not be overlooked.  Unfortunately, this isn’t an exhaustive list.

-Currently, Zeinab Jalalian is on death row for moharebeh, or waging war against God, in a trial that has been roundly condemned as unfair and unjust by human rights defenders in Iran and around the world. Reports indicate that Jalalian’s trial lasted only minutes, she was denied access to a lawyer, and no evidence was presented against Jalalian during her trial.

-On June 26, approximately 50 houses owned by Baha’is were demolished in a village northeast of Tehran. According to an eyewitness, the houses were set on fire and then demolished by four bulldozers. “We informed the governor’s office that they were destroying our houses, but they did nothing to prevent it,” he said.

-According to Human Rights Watch, there are 16 Iranian-Kurds on death row in the notorious Evin prison. Their names are Rostam Arkia, Hossein Khezri, Anvar Rostami, Mohammad Amin Abdolahi, Ghader Mohammadzadeh, Habibollah Latifi, Sherko Moarefi, Mostafa Salimi, Hassan Tali, Iraj Mohammadi, Rashid Akhkandi, Mohammad Amin Agoushi, Ahmad Pouladkhani, Sayed Sami Hosseini, Sayed Jamal Mohammadi, and Aziz Mohammadzadeh.

-Majid Tavakoli, a renowned Iranian student activist, is currently suffering from a rapidly deteriorating physical condition in Evin Prison. According to Human Rights House of Iran, Tavakoli is suffering from abdominal bleeding.

Despite the concerns raised by Tavakoli’s prison mates, prison officials have yet to transfer him to the infirmary at Evin.  Tavakoli’s physical condition has deteriorated to the extent that he is no longer able to speak on the phone.  After days of no news, although he contacted his mother briefly today, he was unfortunately unable to speak to her for long due to his incessant coughing.

-Isa Saharkhiz is an imprisoned journalist who has been in prison for a period of one year without due process. He is suffering from hypotension and low blood pressure and recently collapsed for the second time. Prison officials have refused to transfer him to the prison infirmary despite his deteriorating condition.

-There is no news of political activist Mehdi Ale-Ziarat who was originally detained on June 10, 2010. He is a member of “Tose’eye Melli” (National Development) student publication and has worked on a number of articles and photos which were to be used in the first issue of this journal.

These are but a few of the many human rights abuses still going on in Iran.  This list could be far longer.  While news of the Iranian government finally punishing some of those responsible for such abuses is welcome, continued human rights violations show that the government is half-hearted at best in its attempt to display some accountability here.

  • 20 January 2010
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 8 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Majid Tavakoli sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, 5 years ban from political activity and exiting country

Majid Tavakoli was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison and a five year ban from political activity and leaving the country. Tavakoli is the Amir Kabir student who was arrested (for the third time) after giving a speech at the university and was later dressed in hejab by the authorities in an attempt to embarrass him. This failure led to the Men in Hejab Campaign, in which Iranian and non-Iranian men worldwide dressed in hejab as a sign of solidarity with Tavakoli. Here’s more from Radio Zamaneh:

The Revolutionary Court has charged him with “assembly and collusion against the regime, propaganda against the regime, insulting the Leadership and the President.”

Majid Tavakoli was arrested twice prior to this. The first time he spent 19 months in prison and the second time he was questioned for over three months in solitary confinement.

State media had claimed that after the speech at the University, Majid Tavakoli had tried to escape the security forces at the scene by “dressing up as a woman.”

A photo of the student activist was released the day after his arrest dressed in a woman’s outfit.

Eyewitness accounts said Tavakoli was arrested wearing regular male clothing.

In protest to his arrest and in his support, Iranians started a campaign by the name of “men in Hijab” where numerous men posted their pictures wearing headscarves or chadors on the internet.

Student activist have been target of fierce government crackdown in the past seven months. Yesterday four students from Qazvin’s International University were expelled from university. Six other students were given a total of 18 terms of suspension.

  • 11 December 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran

Why are these men wearing hijabs?

From the Free Majid Tavakoli Facebook Page

You might have seen pictures such as this, of a man wearing a hijab and dressed like a woman, don’t let them fool you, they are not among the many who make Iran the second largest country of transsexuals; rather, they are campaigning for the release of Majid Tavakoli.

Tavakoli was arrested on Students Day, Dec. 7, after giving an impassioned speech during a protest at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University. After his arrest, according to Radio Free Europe,

The semi-official Fars news agency posted pictures of Tavakoli dressed as a woman after he reportedly tried to escape by disguising himself. Fars paired a picture of Tavakoli with one of Abol Hassan Bani Sadr, Iran’s first president after the 1979 revolution, who reportedly escaped in 1981 disguised as a woman.*

The government has spread the picture of him dressed like a woman to shame him, but it backfired as he has become another accidental hero and rallying point for the protesters.

In a rapid response to his arrest, The Free Majid Tavakoli Facebook Page was created and notes his last Facebook updates,

‘Only two more days [to Monday’s demonstrations]. I have spent ten exhausting days on the road with more than 100 hours of driving and now I have to leave for Tehran.
… I welcome and accept all the dangers, standing next to my friends with whom I am honored and proud to be on 16 Azar shoulder to shoulder we will shout against tyranny. For Freedom.’

In solidarity with Tavakoli, hundreds of men around the world and in Iran have donned the hijab for his release. You can also see a video of them here.

Tavakoli is one of the hundreds of thousands who protested on Monday despite the risks, and he was one of the more than a hundred who were arrested that same day. Despite the censorship, arrests, killings, and torture, the perseverance and continued ingenuity demonstrated by the Iranian protesters is undeniable and they proved once again, that this movement is a marathon, not a race.

*Update: A protester in Iran clarified that Tavakoli did not dress as a woman when he tried to escape, in fact the details of his attempted escape is not clear, rather, the government dressed him as a woman solely to shame him.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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