Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ayatollah Faces Star Chamber Trial

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji, who is in Evin Prison for expressing his views, faces trial and possible execution in the Star Chamber. He has never held any government position, and before the 1979 revolution just over 20 years ago, he was close to Ayatollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Experts say that his arrest was arbitrary, and that it violates Article 34 of the Iran constitution. The criticisms that Ayatollah Khalaji expressed were very mild, saying that he disapproved of the violence against the protesters, but he never went so far as the late Ayatollah Montazeri.

Says Mehdi Khalaji, son of the prominent 62-year-old cleric:

“My father is an expert in Islamic and religious studies…My father has said that Islam does not allow for political prisoners; neither the Prophet nor Imam Ali ever put anyone in prison for expressing their opinions. My father believes that the regime must obtain people’s satisfaction and cannot rule with force. He does not belong to any groups, not even groups within the Seminary, no political or even religious organizations. He is not related to any groups or factions and he does not engage in political activities. The only reason he is in prison is because of his opinions.”

Since the elections six months ago, literally hundreds of journalists, political figures, bloggers, and womens’ rights activists have been arrested, as have thousands of protesters. They are detained in order to curtail the right to speak freely, which directly counters Iran’s laws which protect freedoms of expression and conscience. When a government breaks its own laws, it can not longer be considered a government, but is instead a form of tyranny.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Green Brief #25

(This report has been compiled through reports by twitter users in Iran and aboard, as well as contacts inside and outside Iran. Media outlets have been credit where used. As reports coming from Iran cannot be fully authenticated, if the report confirms something, at best it confirms that several reliable twitter sources agreed upon it. If you want to follow my updates, my twitter account is @Iran_Translator)

Protests / Unrest

1.Delayed reports - just emerging - confirm that protests did indeed take place around the country on July 9th. We also have authentication of mass arrests during this time. Reports of black-outs during Ahmadinejad's speech are now being confirmed by mainstream media as well (this was confirmed on twitter three days ago).

2.Vast weekly protests and the heavy presence of Basiji's have had a negative impact on Iranian bazaars; they are finding it harder and harder to stay open. As a result, commerce is slowly coming to a standstill. Reports indicate that the opposition is in the midst of planning more strikes and protests. Today, about 150 protesters pelted eggs at the German Embassy in Tehran protesting against the death of an Egyptian woman in Germany at the hands of a right-wing extremist.

3.People in Tehran are continuing to honk their horns at the sight of Basijis - and chanting anti-government slogans while speeding away. Many people drive with their headlights on. Reports indicate that many Basijis are quitting their jobs and are being replaced by fresh recruits, many of them under 18. People travelling to Iran are being targeted at the airport upon entry and are being forced to divulge their Twitter and Facebook accounts so the government can monitor their online activity.


4.In a letter to the Head of the Judiciary, Mahdi Karoubi – one of the candidates during the election and a key force behind the current protests – asked for the immediate release of all political prisoners as well as arrested protesters. In a letter addressed to Ayatollah Shahrodi, Karoubi claimed that, "People believed in the system, however, the system had been hijacked by a few." He accused Tehran's authorities of systematically eradicating opposition. He warned the government of "unimaginable consequences" if the current situation persisted.

5.Ayatollah Montazeri has released a Fatwa that is very supportive of protesters and their cause. In the Fatwa, Montazeri "condemned violence against protesters as un-Islamic." He's pleaded with the government to not play with the name of Shi'ism and Islam with their actions. He hinted that Khamenei's leadership is standing against Islam, human rationale and National interests – and that he was clearly in the wrong. Reports of Ayatollah Ustadi - Qom's temporary Friday Prayer's Imam - resigning his position and calling a strike could not be confirmed.

6.In an open letter released to the media, the women's wing of Mousavi's Participation Front have said that Iranian mothers were awaiting the release of their loved ones with teary eyes and aching hearts. They asked the government to immediately release all prisoners and to stop arresting people for using peaceful means to express their dissent.

Government / International

7.Iranian Foreign Minister, Manuchehr Motaki, has stated that Iran is willing to discuss issues with the West, but claimed that the government was going to present a package of issues for discussion – rather than just one. This comes at a time when the European Union has now fully suspended visas to Iranian diplomats who wish to enter any EU member nation.

8.The spokesperson for Parliament's Imam's Way Faction declared that the government's legitimacy was "questionable" after what transpired post-election. Reports from Tehran indicate that many members within the Faction are thinking of not partaking in the "vote of confidence" that will be held in Parliament soon (the President selects a cabinet, and then a vote of confidence takes place). The spokesperson added that, "When a Cabinet Minister refuses to answer to the public, then it shouldn't expect to get a vote of confidence."

9.Tehran's Police Chief has declared a state of emergency in parts of Tehran. Iran's government removed the head of security of Zanjan Province - after reports surfaced that he may be sympathetic to the reform movement. A number of prominent citizens in Tabriz have written a letter to Khamenei declaring that, "people were not satisfied with the election and that they will continue to voice their opposition to Ahmadinejad's government."

10. One of Mousavi's offices, located inside the Presidential Palace, was evacuated by government orders. Mousavi used this office during the last twenty years after leaving the Prime Minister's Post. It was NOT his campaign headquarters. Meanwhile, the government is stepping up its media campaign of discrediting Mousavi's role in Iran's past. This comes at a time when a large number of Iranian clerics in Qom have reportedly threatened to leave Iran for Najaf, Iraq (Najaf is the holiest site in Shi'ism and Qom is a center of Shi'ite learning). They demanded the government to cease with their relentless pressure to side with them.

Arrested / Released / Killed

11. Reports from inside Evin Prison indicate that at least one prisoner has died under extreme torture. The prisoner is the son of a member of the group of Mourning Mothers and was reportedly named Sohrab A'rabi. Reports of torturous acts had been confirmed before, but recent details reveal more extreme forms such as:

oBinding and then beating prisoners with batons oForcing prisoners to lay on their wounded side – on hot asphalt oPouring scorching-hot water over prisoners' heads

12.Reports of more than a dozen prisoners crammed into a 9 x 9 foot cell are increasing. Other reports indicate that the prison is so overcrowded that prisoners are now being thrown into cells that are half-demolished. Prisoners are interrogated non-stop for more than 12 hours. Injured prisoners are not receiving any medical attention - many are said to be in very bad conditions.

13. Iran is now holding 36 journalists in prison. Reports indicate that despite the overcrowding, nearly 150 protesters arrested on July 9th in Tehran were moved to Evin Prison. We don't have confirmations to the number of people arrested, but without a place to go. The arrest of many people were confirmed today - among them: Abbas Mirza Abutalebi (a reformist politician), Majid Saidi and Towheed Begi (photojournalists), Kaveh Muzaffari (a journalist who been detained and released prior), Shamsuddin Esaie (a key aide of Mousavi), and Hengameh Shaheedi (a key member of Etemaade Melli Party).

14. On a positive note, Iranian courts postponed the court date for seven Baha'is detained in Tehran today. They are being prosecuted under Iran's strict religious laws because of their faith. Reports also indicate that Kambiz Noroozi, a journalist detained yesterday, was released. The families of several detainees have pleaded directly to influential clerics in Qom to help attain the release of their loved ones.


15. In an unexpected move, ISNA – one of Iran's official news agencies – declared that recent unrests in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Province was provoked by US intervention in Chinese affairs. ISNA declared that China did all it could to quell an uprising fueled by foreign intervention.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Green Brief #24

tweets from Iran for the past several hours. I have tried to be extremely careful in choosing my tweet sources. What I have compiled below is what I can confirm through my reliable twitter sources. Remember, this is all from tweets. (My work is released under Creative Commons (CC). So use it freely and post it wherever you wish to.)

These are the important happenings that I can positively confirm from Friday, July 10 .

Protests / Unrest

TEHRAN, IRAN - JUNE 16:  People attend a state...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

1. There was a gathering of the families of those detained during the protests in Tehran today. Protesters stood in front of Kalantari 103 Pasdaran, 140 Baghe Faiz and Enghelab Square. Numbers cannot be confirmed, but the numbers were probably small.

2. It has not been confirmed that Basijis attacked the dorms of the Polytechnic University yesterday. The presence of Rafsanjani’s family was also partially confirmed. Still no word of whether Mousavi joined mourners later in the evening like he said he would.

3. Police in Nicosia, Cyprus clashes with Iranian protesters in front of the Iranian Embassy. People were seen being dragged and reports indicate that several were arrested and held for several hours. Whether this was from July 09 cannot be confirmed at this point. Here’s a video related to the incident: Revolutionary Road...: Shame on Cyprus police!

Government / International

Assembly of ExpertsImage via Wikipedia

4. Ayatollah Hashim Hashim-Zadeh Hareesi – a member of the Assembly of Experts – said today that people had started to distrust the system. He explained that whatever had happened after the election had caused people to become suspicious and that the government needed to take strides to restore people’s trust otherwise, distrust could result in further more severe problems.

5. Tehran's Interim Fridays Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani asked the Majlis of Iran to take measures in solving some short-comings that are present in the current electoral law. According to Ayatollah Emami Kashani, the unrest that followed the recent election was a result of those short-comings.

6. The Guardian Council’s spokesperson, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaie said today that the Guardian Council was currently going over the entire election. According to him, the Council will soon release a detailed report about the election. The Council has already affirmed the impartiality and accuracy of the election which leaves little room for further investigation into charges of fraud.

7. The French Ambassador in Tehran met with Clotilde Reiss, the detained Frenchwoman who’s currently being held in Iran on charges of espionage. According to the ambassador, Ms. Reiss looked in good mental health. It is not clear as of yet when she will be released.

8. Iran’s government today summoned the German ambassador and questioned him about the death of an Egyptian woman in Germany at the hands of racist extremists. Iranian TV continues to show her death and accuse the West of acting against Muslims in Europe.

9. The G7 nations + Russia have given Iran till September to restart negotiations on its controversial nuclear program. It was unclear what Iran’s rejection of this offer would entail. The statement came during a meeting in l’Aquila, Italy where the group was meeting to go over the world-wide economic downturn.

10. A U.S. panel has demanded that Baha'is facing trial in Iran be released immediately. Baha'is are a religious minority in Iran who believe in a universal religion and are fervent supporters of world peace. They are openly persecuted because of the country’s strict religious laws.

11. The Canadian also summoned the Iranian ambassador in Ottawa and demanded the immediate release of Canadian-Iranian journalist Mazyar Bahari. Bahari has been detained for a while now and the government is trying to keep a lid on Bahari’s whereabouts. She works for Newsweek.

Arrests / Releases / Deaths

12. Iranian-American Scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh has been arrested according to reliable sources. Majid Durri has also been rearrested. There are also reports that security forces arrested several students during their raid at Amir Kabir University’s dorm. Their fate remains unknown.

13. The only person released today was Kambiz Noroozi, yet his arrest cannot be fully confirmed. Family members of several political prisoners – including those of Mirdamadi and Hajjarian - met with Ayatollah Mousavi Aradabeli today. Ayatollah Ardabeli consoled the families and discussed the issue with them. He later said that this is an important issue and needed to be dealt with as soon as possible.

14. Reports have now surfaced that people detained during yesterday’s protests have been moved to Evin Prison. The prison is reportedly so full that people are kept in the corridors. Sources have confirmed that people are being viciously tortured and detainees are underfed. Many are facing solitary confinement.


15. Fars News has reported that the government has discovered a recording studio belonging to the BBC at Mousavi’s campaign headquarters. Iranian media continues to beat the drum of an Egyptian woman’s death in Germany and protests yesterday were for the most part, ignored.

*A hearty thanks to Sahar joon for helping me out with proof-reading and very valuable tips. Also, a BIG THANKS to all the translators who're spending their precious time on getting this to as many people as possible.

Read this if you want to help or get help!


A. Thank you very much everyone for helping out Anonymous with donations so they could keep the servers up and running and clear the cost. Very grateful for that!

B. You can retweet this link and help others know what is going on in Iran.

C: If you would like to help out with compiling all the news stories from Iran in a geo-spatial context, please request for sub-editorship at #iran.aic - WebIRC - AnonNet - Check out the website for the project at: Iran Map | Iran Map or email me at

D. The government in Iran is still increasing internet filtering and throttling in an attempt to silence their people. Anonymous info shows that many in Iran are looking for proxy and Tor information in Tehran and all around the country. Please donate your bandwidth to help bring down the Iran Curtain. Here are links on how to help and get help on this:


Tor Browser Bundle

Tor Browser Bundle

Tor Browser Bundle

Tor and the Iranian Election - Bring down the Iran Curtain | Ian's Brain


Tor Browser Bundle

Tor: آنلاين Tor

Help us set up more bridges on Tor here:

Gonzo Times � Torrents List (82 videos)