Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Students tortured in 209

Students tortured in 209
According top reports released by the Students Committee of Human Rights Reporters, and also testimony of recently released victims, students are being violently tortured in the notorious 209 section of Evin prison.
According to these testimonies, methods used to pressure students to go through TV staged confessions against their friends, are not only physical ones but include psychological ones.
After long and continuous sessions of interrogation and torture they are left with bruised personalities and zero self respect and self confidence. At intervals they are under physical attacks being punched, kicked and whipped by heavy weighed cables.
Prior to this, Behrouz Karimi Zadeh, former Tehran University student was reported by his family to have had a deep cut from his wrist to his elbow.
During the past weeks, some students have paid incredible sums to be released temporarily; the price has ranged between 53000 to 107 thousand dollars.
According to some, the Intelligence ministry has used fake TV confessions to link the students' movement to outside opposition forces.
After 21 days of illegal detention of students, there is yet no news concerning their condition.
Some of the other students have had their families visiting them on 5 February for the first time in Evin prison. Saiid Habibi is one of the students who is barred from any visits and is under constant torture.
Sixty students have been arrested by the Intelligence Ministry in the past 3 months and forty are still pending results in prison. They were detained while trying to commemorate the Students day in Iran.

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008 at 12:36 AM EST

January 25, 2008 at 12:36 AM EST
Banks are helping sharia make a back-door entrance
The Globe and

It seems only yesterday that Premier Dalton McGuinty declared: "There will be no sharia law in Ontario." Many of us, who witnessed the medieval nature of manmade sharia laws in our countries of birth, heaved a sigh of relief back in September of 2005. We thought this was the end of the attempt by Islamists to sneak sharia into a Western jurisdiction. We were wrong.

The campaign to introduce sharia is back. Last time, the campaign took a populist approach, invoking multiculturalism. This time, the pro-sharia lobby is dangling the carrot of new niche markets and has the backing of Canada's major banks. Such icons of the corporate world as Citibank NA, HSBC Holdings PLC, and Barclays PLC have endorsed sharia banking and have started offering Islamic financing products to a vulnerable Muslim population.

In May, 2007, The Globe reported that "Several Canadian financial institutions are preparing sharia-compliant mortgages, insurance, taxi licensing and investment funds to help serve the country's fastest-growing part of the population." Recently, the Toronto Star's business section reported that an unnamed bank may offer sharia loans as early as this summer; Le Journal de Montreal disclosed that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC) was also getting in on the act. Stephanie Rubec, spokesperson for the CMHC, said the Crown corporation had launched a tender worth $100,000 to study Islamic mortgages for Muslim Canadians. Could she be oblivious to the fact that almost all Muslim Canadians currently have home mortgages through banks and don't feel they are living in sin? In fact, CMHC has gone a step further: It has quietly entered into a partnership with a Saudi company, AaYaan Holdings, to develop sharia-compliant mortgage-lending systems.

The origin of Islamic banking has its roots in the 1920s, but did not start until the late 1970s and owes much of its foundation to the Islamist doctrine of two people — Abul Ala Maudoodi of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan and Hassan al-Banna of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The theory was put into practice by Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul-Haq who established sharia banking law in Pakistan.

Proponents of sharia banking rest their case on many verses of the Holy Koran that outlaw usury, not interest.

Verses that address the question of loans and debts include:

Al Baqarah (2:275): God hath permitted trade and forbidden usury;
Al Baqarah (2:276): Allah does not bless usury, and He causes charitable deeds to prosper, and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner.

Every English-language translation of the Koran has translated the Arabic word riba as usury, not interest. Yet, Islamists have deliberately portrayed bank interest as usury and labelled the current banking system as un-Islamic. Instead, these Islamists have created exotic products with names that are foreign to much of the world's Muslim population. This is where they mask interest under the niqab of Mudraba, Musharaka, Murabaha, and Ijara.

Two authors, both senior Muslim bankers, have written scathing critiques of sharia banking, one labelling the practice as nothing more than "deception," with the other suggesting the entire exercise was "a convenient pretext for advancing broad Islamic objectives and for lining the pockets of religious officials." Why Canadian banks would contribute to this masquerade is a question for ordinary Canadians to ask.

Muhammad Saleem is a former president and CEO of Park Avenue Bank in New York. Prior to that, he was a senior banker with Bankers Trust where, among other responsibilities, he headed the Middle East division and served as adviser to a prominent Islamic bank based in Bahrain. In his book, Islamic Banking — A $300 Billion Deception, Mr. Saleem not only dismisses the founding premise of sharia and Islamic banking, he says, "Islamic banks do not practise what they preach: they all charge interest, but disguised in Islamic garb. Thus they engage in deceptive and dishonest banking practises."

Another expert, Timur Kuran, who taught Islamic Thought at the University of Southern California, mocks the very idea. In his book, Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism, Prof. Kuran writes that the effort to introduce sharia banking "has promoted the spread of anti-modern currents of thought all across the Islamic world. It has also fostered an environment conducive to Islamist militancy."

Dozens of Islamic scholars and imams now serve on sharia boards of the banking industry. Moreover, a new industry of Islamic banking conferences and forums has emerged, permitting hundreds of sharia scholars to mix and mingle with bankers and economists at financial centres around the globe. In the words of Mr. Saleem, who attended many such meetings, they gather "to hear each other praise each other for all the innovations they are making." He gives examples of how sharia scholars only care for the money they get from banks, willing to rubberstamp any deal where interest is masked.

No sooner had CMHC announced its plans to study sharia-compliant mortgages, than an imam from Montreal's Noor Al Islam mosque offered his services to Canada's banks, claiming Muslims are averse to conventional mortgages because "it goes against their beliefs," a claim that would not withstand the slightest scrutiny.

Other academics who have studied the phenomenon have reached similar conclusions. Two New Zealand business professors, Beng Soon Chong and Ming-Hua Liu of Auckland University, in an October, 2007, study on the growth of Islamic banking in Malaysia, wrote: "Only a negligible portion of Islamic bank financing is strictly 'profit-and-loss sharing' based. … Our study, however, provides new evidence, which shows that, in practice, Islamic deposits are not interest-free." They concluded that the rapid growth in Islamic banking was "largely driven by the Islamic resurgence worldwide."

In the name of Islam, deception and dishonesty is being practised while ordinary Muslims are being made to feel that their interaction with mainstream banks is un-Islamic and sinful. As Mr. Saleem asks, "If Islamic banks label their hamburger a Mecca Burger, as long as it still has the same ingredients as a McDonald's burger, is it really any different in substance?"
Tarek Fatah is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, to be published in March.
Stop Saudi inspired Sharia Banking in Canda

Monday, January 21, 2008

Radical Left, Iran’s Last Legal Dissidents, Until Now

Radical Left, Iran’s Last Legal Dissidents, Until Now
The New York Times

TEHRAN — In early December, a surprising scene unfolded at Tehran University: 500 Marxist students held aloft portraits of
Che Guevara to protest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies. Smaller groups of Marxist students held similar protests in several other cities.

Political protest has been harshly suppressed under the current Iranian government, especially dissent linked to the West. But the radical left, despite its antireligious and antigovernment message, has been permitted relative freedom. This may be, analysts say, because, like the government, it rejects the liberal reform movement and attacks the West.
“The government practically permitted the left to operate starting five years ago so that they would confront religious liberals,” said Saeed Leylaz, a political analyst in Tehran. “But that led to the spread of a new virus.”

In recent weeks, the leaders of the Marxist student movement have been arrested, suggesting that the government is worrying about the size of the demonstrations and the growing attraction of an ideology that is deeply antithetical to its own.

Morad Saghafi, a political analyst and the editor in chief of Goftegoo magazine, said that it was not so strange that there were leftists but that it was significant that they were radical leftists. “They are showing a kind of radicalism to reform, religion and the current situation,” he said. Even some of those who object to President Ahmadinejad say permitting the growth of Marxist student movements is dangerous.

For example, former President
Mohammad Khatami, a moderate by Iranian standards, recently raised concern over the growth of leftists at universities. He drew a comparison with the struggles before the 1979 revolution and said after the shah’s government had banned religious groups, leftist groups encouraged armed struggle against him, according to the news agency ISNA.

Leftist students use an anti-imperialist discourse toward the United States and say they have no plans to overthrow the Iranian government. But they refer to the government as a capitalist regime and condemn pro-democracy politicians who support change as “bourgeois.”

In a leftist publication called Khak, meaning earth, a member who was jailed wrote in an editorial in May, “In this leftist movement we need to move based on the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin.” Marxists need “grass-roots and radical social movements,” he emphasized.

Another member, a woman who has an anonymous blog at
faaryaad.blogfa.com (faaryaad means shout), writes “Reform died, long live revolution.” One leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisal, said, “We think the regime is a capitalist regime and Mr. Ahmadinejad is a true fascist.”

Members are atheists and attack poverty in
Iran as well as other countries, including the West. They consider no socialist country their role model, oppose pro-democracy students and accuse them of trying to reform a system that cannot be reformed.

Yet they have no specific agenda for change and seem almost nihilistic at times.

“We don’t think we can change anything in the near future,” said a 22-year-old student at Tehran University and member of a group called the Radical Marxists, who asked not to be identified. “But as students we think we can transfer our knowledge about class, capitalism and equality to society, especially the workers.”

Another member, Shahin, 21, who said his father was also a Marxist and was executed by the government in 1988, said the students ultimately want “free education, free health care and higher salaries for workers.”

Analysts familiar with them said leftist student groups began to emerge in the early 2000s when the democracy movement was suffering setbacks and many of their supporters were becoming disillusioned. The government ignored the leftist students until December when the government began cracking down on their leaders.

As in many countries, a majority of intellectuals in Iran has been influenced by Marxist ideas since the 19th century. Much of the literature written since then is closely interwoven with leftist notions. However, Marxists never gained power here. They played an important role in the success of the 1979 revolution but they were soon marginalized by the Islamists and their members were forced into exile. Many were executed in 1988.

Authorities allowed all of Marx’s books to be published after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Leftist books sell very well these days, one bookstore said. The store said the most popular books were those about the Confederation of Iranian Students, the most active organized opposition during the two decades before the 1979 revolution. Many of its members were influenced by leftist ideas.

Now, once again, it appears the government has decided to suppress the left. The number of arrests has reached 40 and those detained remain in the notorious Evin prison.
At least three Marxist groups operate at the universities around Iran. The Radical Marxists have the most supporters, according to students. The other two organizations are workers groups.

The 22-year-old Radical Marxists member said that she had rejected Iran’s laws against women when she was 7 and had to wear the Islamic hood known as a maghnaeh to cover her hair for the first time. “In religion class, we always got angry as women when we read in the books that the head of the family is the man,” she said.

Reza Sharifi, 34, the leader of the youth branch of Mosharekat, a party that seeks change, said it was hard for the government to suppress Marxist students at the same time it was seeking better relations with leftist leaders worldwide.

“The government paved the way for leftist movements in the country when its best friends became Castro and Chávez,” he said, referring to
Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

“The whole idea was that any country that was against America was on our side,” he said. “As a result, all communist leaders became the Islamic Republic’s best friends.”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

RAWA slams US human rights violations; exposes Iranian meddling in Afghanistan


During the long dark days of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, one group that stood out in resisting the medieval madness of the Mullahs was the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

No friends of the Taliban, RAWA suffered immensely at the hands of sharia law by the fanatics who ruled Kabul. Therefore when RAWA issues a communique deploring the US for human rights violations in Afghanistan, we better pay attention.

Here is a communique issued by these brave women on the occasion of UN Human Rights Day where they expose the farce that the Karzai government is fighting fundamnetalism. They suggest that far from fighting the Islamists, the Kabul regime is working with them, speciallt the Islamists based in Iran.

The communique says:

"More importantly, they keep silent about the wider, more devastating and more active meddling of the brutal Iranian regime in Afghanistan through its cultural and media agents. Pro-Iranian regime politicians and intellectuals are as much traitorous to democracy and human rights as the intellectuals and politicians who, from an ethnocentric and reactionary point of view, call the barbarism and terror of Taliban a “national armed resistance,” and shamelessly defend them."

In our critique of the medieval Islamist agenda, we need to be careful (this applies to me too) that our words and actions are not seen as an endorsement of the atrocities being committeed in the name of enlightement.

Read and reflect.

Tarek Fatah
December 10, 2007

RAWA communiqué on Universal Human Rights DayThe US and her fundamentalist
stooges are the main human rights
violators in Afghanistan


The US and her allies tried to legitimize their military occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of “bringing freedom and democracy for Afghan people”. But as we have experienced in the past three decades, in regard to the fate of our people, the US government first of all considers her own political and economic interests and has empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan.

Human rights violations are widespread across Afghanistan
In the past few years, for a thousand times the lies of US claims in the so-called “War on terror” were uncovered. By relying on the criminal bands of the Northern Alliance, the US made a game of values like democracy, human rights, women’s rights etc. thus disgracing our mournful nation.

The US created a government from those people responsible for massacres in Pul-e-Charkhi, Dasht-e-Chamtala, Kapisa, Karala, Dasht-e-Lieli, 65,000 Kabulis and tens of mass graves across the country. Now the US tries to include infamous killers like Mullah Omer and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar into the government, which will be another big hypocrisy in the “war against terror”.

The reinstatement of the Northern Alliance to power crushed the hopes of our people for freedom and prosperity into desperation and proved that for the Bush administration, defeating terrorism so that our people can be happy, have no significance at all.

The US administration plays a funny anti-Taliban game and pretends that a super power is unable to defeat a small, marginalized and medieval-minded gang which is actually her own product. But our people found by experience in the past few years that the US doesn’t want to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, because then they will have no excuse to stay in Afghanistan and work towards the realization of its economical, political and strategic interests in the region.

After about seven years, there is no peace, human rights, democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan. On the contrary, the destitution and suffering of our people has doubled everyday.

Our people, and even our unfortunate children, fall victim to the Jehadis’ infighting (Baghlan incident), the Taliban’s untargeted blasts and the US/NATO’s non-stop bombardments. The Northern Alliance blood-suckers, who are part of Karzai’s team and have key government posts, continue to be the main and the most serious obstacle towards the establishment of peace and democracy in Afghanistan. The existence of tens of illegal private security companies run by these mafia bands are enough to realize their sinister intentions and the danger they pose.

Human rights violations, crime, and corruption have reached their peak, so much so that Mr. Karzai is forced to make friendly pleas to the ministers and members of the parliament, asking them to “keep some limits”! Accusations about women being raped in prisons were so numerous that even a pro-warlord woman in the parliament had no choice but to acknowledge them.

Rabbani, Khalili, Massoud, Sayyaf, Fahim, Ismael and other criminals for the sake of being “ISI” and “VEVAK” agents could become “leaders” in the early 90’s, invited their god-father General Hamid Gul of ISI to become their army chief. But today they raise anti-Pakistan slogans to hide their corruption and wrong-doings. In this act they even go further and abuse Pakistani people. But they never talk about the dirty act of Pakistan in creating fundamentalist bands and imposing them on our people.

More importantly, they keep silent about the wider, more devastating and more active meddling of the brutal Iranian regime in Afghanistan through its cultural and media agents. Pro-Iranian regime politicians and intellectuals are as much traitorous to democracy and human rights as the intellectuals and politicians who, from an ethnocentric and reactionary point of view, call the barbarism and terror of Taliban a “national armed resistance,” and shamelessly defend them.

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has announced a number of times that when the legislative, administrative and judicial bodies are ruled by drug-lords and warlords or their Talibi, Gulbudini, Parchami and Khalqi accomplices, they will never do anything positive for our deprived people. Rather these bodies will act as a mechanism to continue the ongoing crime, drug-trade and looting by these mafia bands to become richer.

If the US government replaces Karzai with a new puppet, even if he is not from among the Jehadi criminals, it will be just a deception of our people and an attempt to put the responsibilities of today’s tragedies on the shoulders of a single person. Such a move will have no positive outcome for our nation. Only a president who rely on people and come to power through a fair election, free from any kind of dependence or dealings with the fundamentalists, would be ideal for Afghan people.

Instead of defeating Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Gulbuddini terrorists and disarming the Northern Alliance, the foreign troops are creating confusion among the people of the world. We believe that if these troops leave Afghanistan, our people will not feel any kind of vacuum but rather will become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts. In such a situation, they will face the Taliban and Northern Alliance without their “national” mask, and rise to fight with these terrorist enemies. Neither the US nor any other power wants to release Afghan people from the fetters of the fundamentalists.

Afghanistan’s freedom can be achieved by Afghan people themselves. Relying on one enemy to defeat another is a wrong policy which has just tightened the grip of the Northern Alliance and their masters on the neck of our nation.

By publishing the book “Some Documents of the Bloody and Traitorous Jehadi Years”, RAWA has taken another small step in unmasking and prosecuting the war criminals of the past three decades. But we will not stop here. In the face of continuous threats by the terrorists sitting in the parliament and the government, we will not be intimidated and despite the passivity and compromises of intellectuals in this regard, we are determined that with the help of justice-loving people and organizations of Afghanistan and around the world, will work to push the war criminals into a court of justice and reclaim billions of dollars worth of national assets from them. Only then the eyes of our grief-stricken people may no longer burn endlessly for justice and democracy.
Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State
The author analyzes the diverging aspirations that separate the Islamist from the Muslim, and the Islamic State from the State of Islam.
Published by John Wiley & Sons.
Pre-order today at Amazon.com or Chapters.ca

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A call to an international protest to free students in Iran!

A call to an international protest to free students in Iran!
A call to freedom – loving Iranian abroad!
A call to international organisations around the world!
Freedom – loving people!
More than two weeks ago 43 students and political activists across the cities of Iran were either abducted or were arrested before, during and after the national student day on 7th December in Iran and all of them were imprisoned.
The arrested students who have not committed any crime but defending freedom and equality; those students who have expressed their opposition to the militarised atmosphere in the universities created by security forces; our comrades who have not committed any crime and only defended humanity and justice; the students who organised the national students day with slogans such as “No War”, “University is Not a Militaries Camps”, “No Sexual Apartheid”, “Long Live Freedom & Equality”, “Workers Unity”, have been accused of actions against country’s security including conspiracy and bombings.
It is a fact that political prisoners in horrible wards 209 and 325 of Evin prison live under difficult conditions. Every day we here news about bad health and worsening of the physical condition of our comrades. According to news we have received our friends are under torture and all physical and psychological pressure. We are gravely concerned about our comrades as their families are banned to visit them. Students’ lawyers are not permitted to meet them and they are deprived of their basic human rights.
This treatment of students by the Islamic Republic has been faced with a fierce international protest. The amnesty international has organised a campaign to free students. The head of the EU Parliament has asked for their immediate release. During the last two weeks we have received hundreds of protest letters from across the world and numerous protest actions and demonstrations against the Islamic Republic and for immediate release of the imprisoned students have been organised.
On behalf of all students, we the Freedom and Equality – seeking Students are very proud of these waves of solidarity and thank all who were with and for us in these difficult days. But the fact of the matter is that despite all these efforts, our friends are still in prison.
To release the arrested students an international action is urgently required!
We call all the international organisations and campaigns to join us on 28th December to protest against the Islamic Republic and raise your voice to free the students in Iran. Your solidarity and joint actions all around the world will strengthen our efforts and make the release of our friends and comrades possible.The movement for freedom and equality urgently needs your support and solidarity and united action.
Long Live Freedom!
Long Live Equality!
Freedom and Equality – seeking Students of Universities in Iran
19 December 2007 / 28th Azar 1386

Monday, November 26, 2007


A call to all Political Parties, Organisations and concerned Individuals!
The threat of US attack against Iran has pushed the country to the verge of a catastrophe. The consequence of an attack will be dire. Such an attack will either lead to the strengthening of the Islamic Republic’s position vis-à-vis people of Iran, or to the disintegration of the fabric of the society and the unleashing of various armed Islamic and fascistic gangs. Such a scenario and prospect are totally unacceptable. We cannot wait for this calamity to fall on us. We must stop it now.
The only option open to the people of Iran is to redouble their efforts to bring down the Islamic Republic. Organising and leading these efforts are the task of the political parties and forces that no doubt will, each according to their own policies and plans, be engaged in.
Further to their own independent activities, the political parties are obliged to play their parts in raising the public awareness and understanding of the current political climate and promote a greater self-awareness of the dangers that lie ahead and pave the way for the establishment of a civilised and orderly condition to carry out political activities and deprive, the Islamic Republic and the political gangs, of the opportunity to turn Iran into a new Iraq.
We, at our recent congress and indeed the previous one, highlighted this situation and while warning against such a development, called on the opposition political parties to sign up to an accord to oppose the war and support an orderly political environment for all to carry out their activities. Unfortunately our pleas were not heeded.
Today, with the prospect of the war looming, we have been forced to re-launch our efforts, this time publicly, and call on all concerned political forces and individuals to do their utmost to prevent such a development.
The least that could be done is for the political parties to sign up to a set of fundamental political principles and endeavour to extend these principles to the whole of the society. The success of such an effort can decide the fate of the country and the region.
The following statement does not represent our plan of action or our political platform. It is a minimum requirement that can, in the fast moving political scene of today’s Iran, offer a barrier against the spectre of a catastrophe that awaits our society. We call on you to join this effort.
Executive Committee
Worker-communist Party of Iran- Hekmatist
October 29, 2007

Against the war and in defence of preservation of civil life in Iran
The ongoing confrontation between the US and the Islamic Republic has raised the threat of US military attack against Iran. The policies and aims of both warring sides are alien to the well being of the people of Iran and the region.
Along with this confrontation the presence of various armed Islamic and tribal gangs, supported by both sides, have pushed Iran closer to the verge of a catastrophe on a scale much bigger than what we have witnessed in Iraq.
Under these circumstances we declare that:
The Islamic Republic itself is an important element in fuelling the threat of war and plunging the country into chaos. We deplore any appeasement and rapprochement towards the regime or any of its factions. The overthrow of the regime and dismantling all its oppressive apparatuses and organs of terror and reaction is the most effective way of countering the threat of war the prerequisite for a progressive development in Iran.
Any military intervention by the US or Israel must be opposed and stopped. Such interferences play into the hands of the Iranian regime and will lead to the collapse of the fabrics of the society and the degeneration of the country into chaos and the total break down of civil life. We deplore any collaboration and cooperation with these states over military intervention in Iran.
The imposition of economic sanctions will primarily hurt the people of Iran. It is obvious, from the sanctions against Iraq, that the first victim of economic sanctions will be the vulnerable groups in the country; children, elderly and the deprived sections of the society. We oppose economic sanction and condemn any calls in support of blockades and imposition of economic sanction against Iran.
Exploiting and playing the cultural, ethnic and religious difference is a recipe for ethnic cleansing and civil wars across Iran. We strongly condemn any such attempts to exploit these differences. Promoting the universal rights of people of Iran to live as equal citizens must be regarded as the basis of politics in Iran.
The decision to shape the future political system in Iran is the undeniable right of the people of Iran. People must be allowed to freely determine the nature of their future regime. The precondition to exercising this right is the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and the recognition and establishment of full social and political freedoms.
We, on our part, guarantee the following rights and abide by them:
a- Unconditional freedom of expression, belief, media, assembly, organisation, party politics and strike.
b- Full and unconditional equality of women and men in social and political life. Abolition of all legislations contravening this principle.
c- Equal rights for all citizens regardless of their belief, gender, religion, ethnicity, and race and residency status.
d- Separation of religion from state and education.
e- Abolition of all laws and legislations that are rooted in religion. Freedom of religion and atheism.
f- Release of all political prisoners.
g- Abolition of capital punishment.
h- Provision of adequate unemployment benefit for everyone above the age of 16 and available for work. Provision of unemployment benefits and other essential costs for those unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is Ahmadi Nezhd going to checkmate Harper on failing to protect Canadian abroad?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is Ahmadi Nezhd going to checkmate Harper on failing to protect Canadian abroad?

Is Ahmadi Nezhd going to checkmate Harper on failing to protect Canadian abroad?By : Saeed Soltanpourssultanpour@yahoo.com
If you want to know how strong the Canadian government foreign influence is outside of Canada, no need to travel or read the reports, just look at the cases of the Canadian detained aboard to find out how many governments do not take Canada seriously. From William Sampson who was on death row in Saudi Arabia (2001-2003) to Maher Arar who sent back to syria in cooepration with Canadian inteliignec eservce and US , Zahra Kazemi who murdered in Iran, to Huseyin Celil in China. And so on but it is not over yet.

On Dec16, 2006, Sabri Rafipour a Canadian _Iranian has been detained in Cuba for alleged bribery. He held in an isolation cell where he beat and tortured ruthlessly. From being refused water for six days, being hit, head first , against iron door and just living under inhuman conditions in only wearing underwear for some months; it is evident that Canada has not been doing anything to fix this terrible situation.

45 days after being arrested, Julia a representative staff from Canadian Embassy in Cuba met Sabri rafipour, who advised Rafipour to sign an agreement ordered by the Cuban to get him out of isolation and into the public area. However, this agreement was written in Spanish, which is a language that Rafipour cannot read. This issue meant that Mr. Rafipour was eventually forced into signing something that he did not even know of the context and which was said to be the only way to get out of isolation.

The Cuban desk at the foreign affair ministry claims that no Canadian has filed a complaint for mistreatment in Cuban prisons and as concluded as such everything must be ok in the prison system. On the contrary, a Canadian male, Mr. Piere M…… , 72 years old resident of Quebec died on Aug 30 2006 due to constant denial medical care by the prison authorities .To our knowledge Canadian government never asked the Cubans for reason of the death.

When I met briefly Prime Minister Mr. Harper on June 15, 07, at a round table in Toronto I requested for his help for an intervention in pushing for the proper legal procedure to solve the problem. On the same day, I talked to his press secretary, who told me to email her, which I did several times, too. Although Mr. Harper sent a letter to Mr. MacKay , Foreign affair minister at the time, it was all that was done and even with that , nothing serious to the advancement of solving the problem occurred. Finally, Peter Mackay replaced with Mr. Maxime Bernier. The Canadian embassy received approval from the Cuban government to see Sabri Rafipour in jail but all of the sudden, two days before the arranged visit date; the Cuban informed Canada that Cuba do not recognize Sabri Rafipour as a Canadian citizen, but as an Iranian. During this time, the Iranian ambassador to Havana met the military prosecution and formally requested the immediate extradition of Sabri Rafipour to Iran. It is interesting to note that Sabri Rafipour was a dissident to the Tehran regime. On other hand, Canada is ignored while is being the forth-ranked trade country with Cuba.

On July 20, 07 I raised the concerns on the mistreatment of Canadian in Cuba with Mr. Jack Layton, the leader of NDP, in Toronto who he promised to help the family with following up the case, it was a disappointment once again no action was taken .

After waiting for more than 150 days for the Conservative government and an additional waiting for 80 days for the NDP to show some kind of result, I informed Mr. Stephan Dion, the leader of Liberal party , on Oct 14, 07 who was in Toronto through his press secretary while I meeting in Toronto with Ethnic journalists. In addition, On Oct 22, 07, I informed some of the GTA Liberal MPs whose ridings include many Iranian residences. Still no result, yet.

Ambassadors, Zahra Kazemi and Cuban connections

While Alireza Nobari ‘s nomination as the new ambassador by Ahmadi Nezhad government to Ottawa is in limbo due to tension between two countries on the case of Zahra kaezemi , Iran has not approved the new Canada ambassador to Tehran who is already in Tehran. One of the senior clergy advisor who was on a semi official tour to promote the relation between Iran and Canada said “It is very important for Ahmadi nezhad’s government to have a good relation with Canada”. He continues, “We know that Harper is under pressure from United State administration to hold the approval of the new ambassador but if Harper continues to play game , we will expel the Canadian ambassador within 48 hours “. When asked about Zahra kaezemi, he said” it was a big mistake handling her case. He added Canada is acting politically due to the fact that Canada has ignored other cases such as Canadian Journalist killed in Egypt.”

To my understanding, if Ahmadi Nezhad brings back RafiPour to Iran, then they will go on a propaganda campaign against Canada on double standard on human rights issues.Keep in mind Canada needs to keep Iran on the side due to fragile situation in Afghanistan, It looks to me that Harper does not have much options to move against Ahmadi Nezhad.

Canadian must stand for the values that they believe in

We urge Canada to take stronger position to protect Canadian abroad, while recognizing the sovereignty of other nations. Canadian government has an obligation to protect the citizens abroad.

Unfortunately, Canadian foreign policy is weakening Canada’s reputation. Canadian foreign policy needs a valiantly restructure to build more confidence among Canadian, and to maintain its well-known reputation for peace keeping around the globe. Multiculturalism in our country is a rear treasure that will give Canada a primary role in making the world a better place to live.

For a stronger Canada, Canadian government needs a vision based on human values and Canadian principals for more efficient diplomacy at the global stage. Replacing inexperienced ministers’ will not make Canada’s situation better. In addition, we need fresh and energetic forces in some of the departments of the foreign ministry. With respect to those who are working hard in foreign ministry and care about Canada’s future, according to a source inside ministry, drinking coffee is what they do most of the day.

Canada can make a difference in the world if all Canadian voices get across to Ottawa.


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