Thursday, May 11, 2006

 

AI: IRAN Ramin Jahanbegloo (m), academic, joint Canadian/Iranian national

IRAN Ramin Jahanbegloo (m), academic, joint Canadian/Iranian national

Academic Ramin Jahanbegloo, who has joint Iranian and Canadian citizenship, was arrested on 27 April at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. He is now believed to be held incommunicado in Evin Prison, in Tehran, where he is at risk of torture or ill-treatment. There are unconfirmed reports that he is being held in the hospital wing. He may be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely on account of the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Despite Iran’s continuing poor record on human rights, the heightened international tension over Iran’s nuclear programme has led to a reduction in international attention to this issue. As a result, the scope for Iranian civil society activists is becoming increasingly restricted, and there are fears that other journalists and intellectuals could be at risk.

The Canadian government is believed to be making representations on his behalf. However, Zahra Kazemi, another Canadian-Iranian national, died in custody in hospital in June 2003 allegedly as a result of torture after being detained in Evin Prison. To date, no one has been brought to justice in connection with her death. For more information see An independent inquiry must be opened into the death of Zahra Kazemi, AI Index MDE 13/022/2003, 15 July 2003. It can be viewed at:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130222003?open&of=ENG-IRN
And: Only an independent investigative body can serve justice and human rights, AI Index MDE 13/026/2003, 1 August 2003, which can be viewed at:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130222003?open&of=ENG-IRN
and Zahra Kazemi case - justice must be served. Amnesty International welcomes the announcement of a new investigation, but renews its calls for a fully independent investigation, AI Index: MDE 13/070/2005 17 November 2005, http://web.amnesty.org/library/eng-irn/index&start=31

The day after Ramin Jahanbegloo was arrested, Canadian Foreign Ministry officials confirmed that an Iranian-Canadian professor had been detained, without naming him. On 3 May the Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran, in an interview with the state-controlled Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), confirmed that Ramin Jahanbegloo was being held in Evin Prison. The Director of the Prison Service in Tehran gave the same information to the Iranian Fars news agency. Neither official gave a reason for the arrest.

The reasons for Ramin Jahanbegloo’s arrest are still unclear, although Fars stated that, according to an anonymous source, he had been arrested on security grounds and was accused of espionage. On 4 May the Iranian newspaper Keyhan, which is believed to have close links to the authorities, alleged that he had links to monarchist and other opposition groups.

Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is said to be in his forties, is the Head of the Department of Contemporary Studies at the privately-run Cultural Research Bureau in Tehran. The author of over 20 books in Persian, English and French on philosophy and current affairs in Iran, he is also a frequent contributor to international newspapers and journals in which he comments on Iranian affairs. His personal website, the front page of which has been removed, apparently since he was arrested, can be viewed at http://www.iranproject.info/topfram.htm.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Fundamental flaws in the administration of justice in Iran facilitate the targeting and harassment of intellectuals, journalists and other human rights defenders. The Penal Code contains a number of vaguely-worded provisions relating to association and "national security" which prohibit a range of activities, including many connected with journalism or public discourse which are permitted under international human rights law. Detainees are often held for weeks or months without access to their families, and are frequently denied access to a lawyer of their choice until the period of interrogation, which has no limits, is completed.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is detained incommunicado in Evin prison;
- seeking assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated;
- seeking full details of the reasons for his arrest, including any charges that may have been brought against him;
- calling on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally if he is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and given a prompt and fair trial.


APPEALS TO:
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir

istiftaa@wilayah.org

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html
Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

President
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790 (mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
via website: www.president.ir/email

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 June 2006.********

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 5:51 AM  1 comments

 

IRAN: Academic Ramin Jahanbegloo arrested; fears of ill-treatment

International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee is extremely concerned for
the safety of academic and writer Ramin Jahanbegloo, who has been held
incommuncado in Evin prison since 27 April 2006, where he is said to be at
risk of ill-treatment. There are unconfirmed reports that he is being held
in the hospital wing. International PEN seeks immediate assurances of his
health and safety, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release if
held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

Academic and writer Ramin Jahanbegloo was arrested at Tehran airport on 27
April 2006 as he was about to leave for an international conference on Iran,
and his house was then reportedly searched. His detention was not officially
confirmed until 3 May, although the reason for his detention remains unclear
and no charges have been made known. There are unconfirmed reports that he
is accused of espionage and of having links to monarchist and other
opposition groups. He has reportedly criticised the Iranian government in a
series of interviews for Canadian, Spanish and French newspapers in recent
weeks. The Canadian government is believed to be making representations on
his behalf.

Amnesty international gives the following background:

'Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is said to be in his forties, is the Head of the
Department of Contemporary Studies at the privately-run Cultural Research
Bureau in Tehran. The author of over 20 books in Persian, English and French
on philosophy and current affairs in Iran, he is also a frequent contributor
to international newspapers and journals in which he comments on Iranian
affairs. His personal website, the front page of which has been removed,
apparently since he was arrested, can be viewed at
http://www.iranproject.info/topfram.htm .

.Fundamental flaws in the administration of justice in Iran facilitate the
targeting and harassment of intellectuals, journalists and other human
rights defenders. The Penal Code contains a number of vaguely-worded
provisions relating to association and "national security" which
prohibit a
range of activities, including many connected with journalism or public
discourse which are permitted under international human rights law.
Detainees are often held for weeks or months without access to their
families, and are frequently denied access to a lawyer of their choice until
the period of interrogation, which has no limits, is completed.'

RECOMMENDED ACTION :

Please send appeals:

. expressing concern for the safety of Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is
detained incommunicado in Evin prison;
. seeking immediate assurances that he is not being tortured or
ill-treated;
. seeking full details of the reasons for his arrest, including any
charges that may have been brought against him;
. calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in
violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

APPEALS TO:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme
Leader Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir , istiftaa@wilayah.org

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html
Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:
President:
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
via website: www.president.ir/email

If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic
representative for Iran in your country.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN
Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V
6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email:
cathy.mccann@internationalpen.org.uk

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 5:49 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Call To Non-Sensationalist Campaign For Jahanbegloo's Release

Posted in: http://freethoughts.org/
Guest Author: Shahram Kholdi
It is at least twelve years that I have known Ramin Jahanbegloo as a friend and a mentor. Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo was arrested at the airport by the Iranian intelligence agents and was taken to Evin Prison about a week ago.
On May 1, Monday morning, an email alerted me to his arrest. I called another friend and mentor in Iran, who confirmed that "Ramin has been missing for quite a few days." I acted upon verifying the reason of his arrest and his whereabouts by contacting friends and colleagues through two major venues that I had access to, and indeed the outpour of support and brain-storming as to what has to be done started immediately.
During the mid-1990s Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo conducted enormous philosophical activities in the Centre for Research of Philosophy and organized many seminars in the Farzan-rooz Publishers. He inspired most of the young university students in the era that became precursory to Khatami’s election as president to exercise public debate about fundamental philosophical issues in the realm of public: how can we engage in political debate in a rational way? Is non-violent political debate viable? Is there a public space for such a debate? Can we conduct political debate in such a manner in a society where public space for such exercises is either non-existent or is in its infancy? Where should we start? How should we start?
As he received his doctoral degree on Gandhi and non-violence in philosophy from the Sorbone University of Paris, Dr. Jahanbegloo immigrated to Canada. He became an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Political Science Department. From 1997 onwards, for three years, he was moving back and forth between the Iranian student community at the University of Toronto, teaching political philosophy at the University of Toronto, and conducting lectures and talks in Iran. In Toronto, Dr. Jahanbegloo became a prominent community builder where he created Agora, a venue for public debate of issues that concerned Iranians, which inspired others to create the Iranian Association at the University of Toronto. By the spring of 2001, he was a major organizing force in holding the Centre for Iranian Research and Analysis Conference at the University of Toronto, where about 200 Iranian studies scholars from around the world gathered and participated in over thirty-five workshops. He gave the Iranians in Toronto a new sense of community whose fruits have now come to be born in one of the most vibrant Iranian Diaspora centres in North America that is pluralist, proud, and participatory.
During the last two years of Khatami’s presidency, Dr. Jahanbegloo returned to Iran and resumed his intellectual and research work. He did not lose touch with the Iranians in Toronto, however. In fact, he inspired all of us by his insistence on promoting academic and scholarly research in humanities and social sciences. Perhaps, such an aspiration to a methodology in the study of political science and history in Iran is rather problematic for those who often lose sight of the necessity for rational debate. He continued to provide young Iranian students by offering them different horizons for further deliberation. For instance, he invited the then Harvard Scholar and renowned Canadian political philosopher, Michael Ignatief to Iran in the summer of 2005 (around the time of the Presidential Election).
Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo's arrest has been the most confusing development of the past five days for me, as a researcher and tutor of Persian studies. As Ramin himself used to say "you realize that you are learning something when you are caught off-guard by the most unexpected in your area of study." I wish his arrest would never cause me to open a new chapter in my study of post-revolutionary Iran, but indeed it has now become something more than that: a cause.
Now, through this post, I inform the readers of Free Thoughts on Iran that Dr. Jahanbegloo's arrest is a cause of concern and his release should become the goal of all who are concerned with the promotion of civil society, open public space for free political debate, and last but not least a space safe enough to conduct such debates in a non-violent manner. Dr. Jahanbegloo has taught, lived, and acted in a non-violent manner, and those who would like to rally for his release should remember one fact: He did all this without Media-Mongering and without recourse to Sensationalism.
Here, I join all those who are already active to do something to secure the immediate release of Dr. Jahanbegloo, and invite those who have not joined the rest of us yet, to join us. Also, I would like to ask all those who are willing to join the cause and care for Dr. Jahanbegloo not just as a scholar, intellectual, teacher, and a friend, but as a person who deserves due process, just representation, and freedom from arbitrary confinement, to join the cause in a non-sensationalist manner.
In this post, I tried to outline briefly the contributions of Dr. Jahanbegloo as a Canadian and as an Iranian to the respective Iranian community of Toronto, and his own compatriots back home.
We still do not know exactly why he was arrested. Hence, please do not spread false speculations and do not speculate about the charges until they have been officially announced by the respective judicial and intelligence authorities, or any other authority of the Iranian government. We certainly should wish to ensure that those who have Dr. Jahanbegloo in custody are not given any pretext more than what they have already chosen to have.
If you have any suggestions and proposals for the possible course(s) of action, that must be taken, please use this forum to debate and promote them.

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 10:30 AM  0 comments

 

French Language:Who makes the Foreign Policy in Iran?: By Dr. Kazem Alamdari

Qui fait la politique étrangère en Iran ?
Article paru dans l'édition du 23/04/2006


Par Kazem ALAMDARI (traduit de l’anglais par Jean GRANOUX) à Los Angeles
En Iran, le pouvoir repose sur une structure verticale, dont les piliers sont des factions autonomes et rivales, intimement liées aux trois données clefs que sont la hiérarchie chiite, un Etat immergé dans la rente pétrolière et la Révolution islamique de 1979. Même si la politique étrangère de l’Iran ne reflète pas totalement cette réalité, elle est à de nombreux égards un terrain de compétition entre ces différents groupes rivaux. Résultat de cette lutte de pouvoir, et d’un circuit décisionnel complexe où le dossier sécuritaire est l’apanage des seuls Gardiens de la révolution, la politique étrangère iranienne peine à s’ancrer dans une ligne stable et cohérente.
Les affaires étrangères iraniennes relèvent de deux mécanismes décisionnels. Concernant les dossiers qui mettent en jeu la sécurité du pays et le soutien aux groupes islamistes de la région, la prise de décision relève exclusivement des Gardiens de la révolution (Pasdaran), en coordination avec l’administration du Guide suprême, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, et avec le ministère de la Sécurité et du Renseignement. Comme l’a déclaré, en juin 1998, le général Yahya Rahim-Safavi, commandant en chef des Pasdaran, « les Gardiens de la révolution ne connaissent pas de frontière géographique. La Révolution islamique est la {seule} frontière ». Ce même Rahim-Safavi a formulé, en décembre dernier, l’ambition iranienne en ces termes : « {…} Le monde de l’islam remplira le vide laissé par l’ex-Union soviétique ».

Plus encore, sur les questions sécuritaires, les barrières fixées par la loi et la hiérarchie officielle au sein de l’exécutif iranien sont considérées comme nulles et non avenues. Par exemple, l’affaire du Karine-A en 2002, ce cargo chargé d’armes à destination de Gaza qui avait été intercepté par la marine israélienne, a révélé que certaines décisions secrètes, d’envergure majeure, étaient prises par le Conseils des Gardiens de la révolution (CGR) sans que le gouvernement, y compris le président, ne soit mis au courant. Alors même que Mohammad Khatami, alors président, distançait son gouvernement du scandale du Karine-A, Israël apportait la preuve d’un engagement direct de l’Iran dans cette aventure. Il était clair que les questions liées à la sécurité du pays ou à sa « mission révolutionnaire » formaient pour le gouvernement Khatami une ligne rouge à ne pas transgresser. Les enjeux sécuritaires ont par ailleurs fait l’objet d’un découpage minutieux par pays et par typologie ; ceux liés aux États-Unis et à Israël sont du strict ressort du CGR.

Exception faite du dossier sécuritaire

Le deuxième circuit décisionnel concerne les dossiers plus « classiques », comme celui du commerce. Ces questions sont assujetties à la structure générale du pouvoir iranien, en prise directe avec les divers groupes rivaux qui sont engagés dans une âpre compétition entre eux. Ces factions usent de leur influence auprès du gouvernement, du Parlement, de la justice, tout autant qu’auprès d’autres organes de pouvoir comme le clergé, pour maximiser leurs profits.

Il arrive que ces rivalités atteignent un niveau exceptionnel. Les abus et les conflits entre factions ont par ailleurs créé un environnement incertain, et abouti à une politique économique chaotique. L’ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, à la tête de l’administration judiciaire, s’est ainsi plaint de la fuite des capitaux qui aurait dépassé, ces dernières années, les 200 milliards de dollars. « Le détournement de fonds publics est un délit mineur comparé au fait d’entraîner la fuite des capitaux du pays », a-t-il déclaré le 15 novembre 2005, car l’argent détourné « ne fait que changer de propriétaire ; cela n’a pas d’effet dommageable sur l’économie ». On estime aujourd’hui que plus de 60% du commerce extérieur iranien s’effectuerait en dehors de tout contrôle gouvernemental ou administratif.

Des fils d’ayatollahs impliqués dans la criminalité économique

Certaines factions sont directement impliquées dans le commerce extérieur, allant jusqu’à détenir leur propre flotte et à contrôler des ports, où les services douaniers sont court-circuités, et la surveillance est assurée par leurs propres milices armées.

Parmi ces factions, qui ont été poursuivies en justice sans être toutefois condamnées, on retrouve les fils d’ayatollahs influents : Mehdi Khazali, actuel vice-ministre de l’Intérieur et fils de l’ayatollah Khazali, un membre influent du Conseil des Experts ; Naser Vaa'z Tabasi, fils de l’ayatollah Abbas Tabasi, le représentant à Machhad du Guide suprême et le patron de la très puissante fondation Qods-e Razavi ; les fils de l’ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, ancien numéro 1 de la Justice, de l’ayatollah Moghtadaei qui dirige la Cour suprême, et de l’ayatollah Dari Najaf Abadi, ancien ministre de la Sécurité et de l’Information. Emad Afrough, député au Parlement (Majlis), a d’ailleurs déclaré avoir « les noms {des fils d’ayatollahs impliqués dans ces crimes économiques}, mais après en avoir parlé avec des proches, ils m’ont dissuadé d’en publier la liste » {1}.

Les luttes intestines auxquelles se sont livrées ces factions autour de l’aéroport international Imam Khomeyni en 2004 sont un exemple patent de la course au pouvoir et des rivalités financières au sein de divers groupes représentés au gouvernement. La controverse autour de l’aéroport est née du contrat signé avec une entreprise de sécurité turque qui avait remporté l’appel d’offres lancé par le gouvernement. Au lendemain de l’inauguration de l’aéroport, le 8 mai 2004, les Gardiens de la révolution ont pris le contrôle des installations, après une démonstration de force militaire. À la suite de cet événement, l’aéroport est resté fermé pendant près de six mois. Le conflit s’est poursuivi au Parlement, avant de se conclure par le limogeage du ministre des Transports.

Concernant le tourisme iranien, qui pèse aux alentours de 9 milliards de dollars par an, Khatami, pendant sa présidence, avait essayé de relancer ce secteur. Mais, les divers groupes conservateurs, dans une logique cohérente avec leur approche de la politique étrangère, ont en permanence torpillé ses tentatives, leur objectif étant de minimiser l’influence de l’Occident en réduisant notamment le nombre de touristes se rendant en Iran. Résultat, la plupart des touristes qui viennent aujourd’hui en Iran sont originaires de pays musulmans.

Hors de portée de l’idéologie islamiste ?

Pourtant, l’idéologie islamiste n’est en aucun cas la pierre angulaire de la politique étrangère de l’Iran. En la matière, les décideurs sont davantage portés sur le pragmatisme que sur l’idéologie. L’ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeyni, qui avait qualifié l’Arabie saoudite de « non-islamiste », avait l’habitude de dire qu’il pourrait pardonner à Saddam Hussein, mais pas au roi Fahd, les péchés que les Saoudiens avaient commis à la Mecque, et bien entendu d’avoir soutenu Saddam Hussein dans la guerre contre l’Iran. Cela n’a pas empêché les Saoudiens de chercher à se rapprocher de l’Iran en 1986. Depuis la mort de Khomeyni, l’Iran a même établi des relations « cordiales » avec Riyad. Autre constat contradictoire, le gouvernement iranien se montre particulièrement indifférent face au sort réservé aux Tchétchènes musulmans par l’armée russe. Quant au conflit du Haut-Karabakh, l’Iran n’a-t-elle pas pris parti pour les Arméniens chrétiens contre les Azerbaïdjanais chiites ?

Concernant ses relations avec l’Occident, si l’Iran maintient des contacts normaux avec les pays européens, ses relations avec les Etats-Unis restent sous tension. L’existence d’un ennemi étranger, on en a la preuve historique et théorique, est essentielle pour République islamique. Elle justifie son incapacité à répondre aux demandes de la société, elle mobilise ses supporters et lui permet d’accuser les opposants d’être des agents stipendiés de l’ennemi.

L’élection de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad à la présidence iranienne en juin 2005, avec le soutien des Gardiens de la révolution et de la milice des Bassidji, a été suivie du remplacement aux postes décisionnels de hauts fonctionnaires par des gens de formation militaire et policière. Avec ce changement, la politique étrangère de l’Iran s’ancre aussi dans une ligne plus militariste, ce qui laisse entrevoir des tensions avec l’Occident et un isolement économique de l’Iran accrus.

Jusqu’à 2005, Téhéran tâtonnait sur le dossier du nucléaire

La crise du nucléaire, qui est devenue l’enjeu fondamental de la politique étrangère de l’Iran, pourrait conduire à des sanctions économiques, accentuer son isolement, voire aboutir à des solutions militaires. Qui initie cette politique dangereuse et coûteuse ? Jusqu’à présent, le dossier du nucléaire iranien faisait l’objet de nombreuses tergiversations, signe des multiples rôles joués par les diverses factions. Néanmoins, depuis l’élection d’Ahmadinejad, la politique de l’Iran penche explicitement en faveur des objectifs des Gardiens de la révolution. Ces derniers justifient, en l’absence d’une opposition qui a été supprimée ou muselée, le chantier nucléaire par l’idée de mettre un terme à une quelconque pression extérieure exercée sur la République islamique. Les Pasdaran voient le dossier du nucléaire comme une police d’assurance à long terme pour leur pouvoir. Seuls quelques rares officiels de haut rang sont conscients de la nature des projets nucléaires du pays. Mais nombreux sont ceux qui doutent que l’ancien président Khatami lui-même ait jamais eu accès à des informations précises sur les objectifs et sur l’état d’avancement du programme nucléaire.

Si les grands desseins de la politique étrangère de l’Iran, comme le programme nucléaire, sont dictés par les Gardiens de la révolution, avec la capacité militaire qui lui est propre, et par le Guide suprême, les affaires courantes restent aux mains de groupes rivaux. En un sens, le réel pouvoir de décision qui préside à la politique étrangère du pays se retrouve aux mains de dirigeants non élus.


{1} Voir à ce sujet Rooz online, 13 avril 2006, http://r00zonline.com/01newsstory/012894.shtml

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 10:09 AM  0 comments

Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Leading intellectual and journalist arrested as he is about to board a flight

5 May 2006

Leading intellectual and journalist arrested as he is about to board a flight

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the imprisonment of pro-reform intellectual and journalist Ramin Jahanbeglou, who was arrested at Tehran airport on 28 April after criticising the Iranian government in a series of interviews for Canadian, Spanish and French newspapers in recent weeks. He was transferred yesterday to Evin prison.

“We call for the immediate release of Jahanbeglou, who is being held illegally,” the press freedom organisation said. “We fear that the Iranian authorities, after closing down around 20 newspapers and issuing summonses to dozens of journalists since the start of the year, is now planning a wave of arrests of journalists.”

Jahanbeglou was detained as he was about to catch a flight to attend an international conference on Iran. His arrest was kept secret until 3 May. It was only after reports were posted on websites and broadcast on foreign radio stations that Tehran deputy prosecutor Mahmoud Salarkia confirmed that Jahanbeglou was being held, without explaining why.

The 27 April issue of the French daily Le Monde carried comments by Jahanbeglou criticising the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government.

Jahanbeglou, who has a PhD from the Sorbonne University in Paris, heads the “Modern Thought” group at the Centre for Iranian Cultural Research in Iran. He used to contribute to several pro-reform newspapers such as Gardonn and Kian that were closed by the authorities, and he has written many books on democracy, secularism and non-violence.

He is also a contributor to several foreign news media including the BBC and the French magazines Esprit and Etudes et Projets.

Iran is the Middle East’s biggest prison for journalists and bloggers, with a total of six persons currently held. President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are both on the Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom predators.

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 7:11 AM  0 comments

 

Iran: Top Scholar Detained Without Charge

(New York, May 5, 2006) – One of Iran’s most prominent scholars, Ramin Jahanbegloo, is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he is at risk of being tortured, Human Rights Watch said today. Iranian authorities must immediately release Jahanbegloo, who is being held without charge after nearly a week in incommunicado detention.
A prominent philosopher who has written extensively on cultural and philosophical topics, Jahanbegloo is director of Contemporary Studies at the Cultural Research Bureau, a private institution in Tehran. His academic writings include more than 20 books in English, French and Persian. He has also written for newspapers and magazines in Iran and abroad.

“The arbitrary arrest of Ramin Jahanbegloo shows the perilous state of academic freedom and free speech in Iran today,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This prominent scholar should be celebrated for his academic achievements, not interrogated in one of Iran’s most infamous prisons.”

The authorities detained Jahanbegloo at Tehran Airport on or around Thursday, April 27. Officials refused to acknowledge his detention until Wednesday, May 3, when Tehran’s deputy prosecutor general, Mahmoud Salarkia, confirmed Jahanbegloo’s detention in an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency.

Also on Wednesday, the Fars News Agency quoted the chief of prisons in Tehran Province, Sohrab Soleimani, as saying that Jahanbegloo is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison. Neither official gave any reason for Jahanbegloo’s arrest. An unnamed Judiciary official told the daily Etemad-e Melli that charges against Jahanbegloo “will be announced after the interrogations.”

“Iran’s Judiciary is notorious for coercing confessions by means of torture and ill-treatment,” Stork said. “We hold the Iranian government entirely responsible for Jahanbegloo’s well-being.”

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# posted by International@jomhouri.com @ 7:05 AM  0 comments

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