Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Defend Iranian Student Under Attack!

Last Sunday Hands Off The People of Iran (HOPI) held a successful fringe at Green Party Autumn conference in London, chaired by my fellow blogger Jim Jepps and featuring Peter Tatchell and Yassamine Mather. The latest mailing from HOPI details the ongoing persecution of Iranian student leader Anooshe Azadbar -

Iranian Student Leader Arrested

On September 4 at 11am, Anooshe Azadbar - overwhelmingly
voted one of its honorary vice presidents by the
British student union at its annual conference in
April - was brought before a court in Iran. She faced
multiple charges:

– plotting against the Islamic regime
– plotting against the Islamic order
– acting against Iranian national interests with a
left wing group

This arose from her prominent involvement in the 4
December 2007 demonstrations where Hands Off the
People of Iran placards were prominent.

Anooshe denied the charges, stating that this was a
legal student demonstration against the threat of war,
not an explicitly anti-regime protest.

In court, it was pointed out that this contradicted
what she had said under interrogation. Anooshe replied
that these statements had been obtained after she had
been subjected to great psychological pressure.

Vague charges were also made that she had either
received financial help from leftwing groups or had
given money to certain groups. Her lawyer denied these
charges, simply pointing out that as his client is
penniless, she is clearly neither receiving money or
in a position to dish it out. The judge eventually
decided that the dossier was 'incomplete' and so
Anooshe must go back to court at a later date for
further questioning.

It is not clear when the next court hearing will be.
She will be summoned to give another interview at the
prosecutor's office and following this there will be
another court appearance. She is not the only student
leader currently facing this oppression – it is
estimated that another four or five other students are
facing similar court procedures.

Ben Lewis of the Hopi steering committee commented:
"The dominant trend within the Islamic regime is
clearly using the tension generated by the
sabre-rattling of imperialism to clamp down on
internal dissent. The harassment of our comrade
Anooshe Azadbar comes at the same time as the
sentencing of women's rights activists of the One
Million Signatures campaign
to six-month prison terms
and the ominous threats against the 2003 Peace Nobel
Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, who has been dubbed an agent of Zionism.

"It seems the regime will not tolerate even
mild-mannered reformist attempts to moderate its
repressive rule, let alone the militant action of
students. The threat of war plays into their hands -
that's why we stand against the warmongering of the
imperialists and the repressive regime in Tehran."

Hopi demands that all charges against Anooshe Azadbar
are immediately dropped. Our campaign will be
organising press conferences and protests in
solidarity with the arrested students. See subsequent
releases and our website for details.

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