Sunday, April 29, 2007

Help Request from Samrand, son of Mahmood Salehi
Workers, working people, and freedom lovers:

On Monday April 23, 2007 when my mother went to visit my father at the detention centre in Sandaj-Iran, there were many of my father's fellow class members gathering there. They were bringing flowers with the hope of also visiting my father. But only my mother, aunt, and my father's lawyer were able to visit him.

My father is in a dreadful physical situation. He was even in the hospital the day before.

As all of you know, one of his kidneys does not work and the other one only works 5%. He must always do water therapy but no such treatment exists in the jail. My father does not even have a bed to rest on. This is why my father is in terrible physical crisis. And, if we do not do anything for his release there is the real possibility that he end up requiring dialysis.

I, as a son of one the worker leaders, am calling upon you-workers, working people and freedom lovers either in Iran or overseas for help in releasing my father.

Samrand Salehi
April 24, 2007

Please circulate this extremely urgent request widely.

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Doctor Naser Zarafshan ( Lawyer of Zahra Kazemi's family and lawyer for the family's of serial murdering in Iran) in "Beheshte Zahra" cemetery - section #33 where dissident murdered by Shah are buried. In an interview Mr. Zarafshan speaks about Mr. Salehi a prominant labour personality who has been arrested and detained just prior to May Day . He speaks about the struggle of a nation for freedom and that this struggle won't stop as long as there is oppression.

Watch this video clip:

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

News in brief-
The "Association of Iranian Writers" about recent oppression and narrow passes which is created by Ahmadinejad's government released a statement:
Leave the people alone !
The Association of Iranian Writers loudly says: What do you want from the life of these people? What is all these arresting , harrassing, summoning, imprisoning, torturing and bothering of people? What is these all censorship and freedom killing for? Leave the people alone!
You are silencing the independent writers who are writing just for living, loving, hoping and freedom; You are imprisoning the women activists of this country who are just demanding for their human rights; You are suppressing the workers who are just asking nothing but their violated rights; You are imprisoning the independent journalists ; You are thretening and detaining teachers who are just demanding for their human rights; You have taken away the right to wear which is the basic right of every human being : You are banning the students from their human rights to free social activities and ............
In continuation of all these oppression; You are threatening the independent publishers; You are not even leting alone the grave of all those who have fought for the freedom of this land ; You are also not leting alone the historical structures and cultural heritage of the people of Iran and the world including the collective " Pasargad " historical heritage. Why? What is all these opperession and lack of wisdom?
At the end on the occasion of May first the international labour day ; the association demanded for the immediate release of Mr. Mahmoud Salehi and other workers , teachers, students, women human rights activists , journalists and demanded for an end to oppression and summoning.
Association of Iranian Writers

Link to this news:

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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 10:04 AM
Subject: [DemocracyAlert] Update: Campaign for Sentenced Women Activists
Sentenced in Iran

The WMD's DemocracyNews
Electronic Newsletter of the World Movement for Democracy -

April 26, 2007)

Democracy Alert: Update: Campaign for Sentenced Women Activists Sentenced in
The Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP)
has issued an alert and began a writing campaign to help four women's rights
activists who were sentenced to prison last week for their role in
organizing the June 12, 2006 peaceful protest demanding equal rights for
women in Iran. Fariba Davoudi Mohajer was sentenced to 4 years in prison,
three of which are suspended. Parvin Ardalan and Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani
were sentenced to 3 years, of which two and a half years are suspended.
Sussan Tahmasebi received 2 years, of which one year and a half years are
The women will be required to serve the suspended sentences if "found guilty
of another crime" during the next five years. WLP claims the government is
using the suspended sentences as a way to pressure activists into ceasing
their activities. All activists were tried in absentia, because when they
walked outside the courthouse to stop police from beating supporters and
friends assembled to hear the outcome of their cases, they were arrested and
prevented from returning to the courthouse to be present at their own trial.
To protest the sentencing of the four activists, WLP asks you to please
write to the following individuals:
Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Iran
Fax: +98-21-649-5880 or +98-21-774-2228
Salutation: Your Excellency
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi
Head of the Judiciary
Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Iran
Fax : +98-21-879-6671
Salutation: Your Excellency
Dr. M. Javad Zarif
Ambassador to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10017, United States
Fax: +1-212-867-7086
Salutation: Your Excellency
Go to:
To subscribe send an email to
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
If you do not have access to the Web and would like to access the materials
mentioned above, please contact us by e-mail( fax
DemocracyNews is an electronic mailing list moderated by the National
Endowment for Democracy as the Secretariat of the World Movement for

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Watch this video clip on women's human rights :

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

News update-
Islamic Republic continues violating human rights code by arresting many women's human rights advocates !
Human Rights comittee of the Organization of Iran's " Danesh Amukhtegan" in a statement protested to the summoning of Ms. Fariba Dawoodi Mahajer member of the council for policy making of this organization and also sentences for Ms. Susan Tahmasbi , Ms. Azadeh Forghani and other summoning of women activists.
The statement also read : These women activists were practicing their peaceful activities for " Women and Men Equality Rights " , and because of their civil rights activities they were faced with harsh sentences by the judiciary. On that note Ms. Fariba Dawoodi Mahajer was sentenced to four years imprisonment( She has to serve one year in prison and the other 3 years is a suspension sentence). According to her lawyer she was chrged with " joining a gathering and helping to commit a crime" . She is a women's human rights activist and the Islamic judiciary call this activity as a crime.
The statement also protested to the sentencing of the following human rights advocates:
1-Ms. Susan Tahmasbi - 2 years imprisonment ( one and a half year prissuspension sentence and six months jail term)
2-Ms. Azadeh Forghani- 2 years suspension sentence
and the following were summoned to to the court:
Ms. Bahareh Hedayat
Ms. Shirin Ardalan
Ms. Elnaz Ansari
Ms. Zara Amjadian
The statement also hope that the judiciary take better step towards other women's rights activists including : Ms. Nushin Ahmadi Khorasani and Ms. parvin Ardalan.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Teachers, students , women and workers continue their protest for their human rights.
Their protest make the " Human rights and Democracy movement" stronger.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

News in Brief-
Iran's Nobel Laureate Says Passport Seizure Illegal !

April 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) --Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi says Iranian authorities should return Radio Farda broadcaster Parnaz Azima's passport, Radio Farda reported.Azima's passport was seized when she arrived in Tehran three months ago to visit a sick relative. Ebadi, a lawyer representing Azima, told Radio Farda that the move is against Iranian laws. "The punishments should be based on law, in our laws we don't have any punishment that includes seizing [someone's] passport, especially when the charges against a person are not clear," she said. "The way it has been dealt with Azima is totally against the law."Ebadi said authorities had not announced charges against her client. All Azima's efforts to get her Iranian passport back have so far failed.Azima is a broadcaster with Radio Farda, the Persian-language service run jointly by RFE/RL and Voice of America.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Whats happening in Iran ?
Ms. Nazi Azima Radio Farda's journalist is banned to leave Iran !
Radio Free Europe: Let Radio Farda's journalist leave Iran!
Radio Farda: Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin, the head of the Radio Free Europe , Radio Liberty , has asked the Islamic Republic of Iran to let Ms. Parnaz( Nazi ) Azima who is banned from leaving Iran to leave Iran.
Backstory - On January 25 , 2007 Ms. Nazi Azima the journalist for visiting her mom ( Due to illness she was transfered to ICU) arrived in Mehrabad international Airport in Tehran and her passport was confiscated and all her efforts to get back her passport ended with no result.Ms. Azima was working for Radio Farda in Prague - Czech Republic since 1998. On Spring of 2006 she had same problem and her passport was confiscated by the airport agents for several weeks and she could not leave Iran.Ms. Azima has a dual nationality of U.S and Iran.
In an interview with Radio Farda she said:
All my effort has ended with no result and yesterday my lawyer spoke with the deputy on security and they have told me to waite.She said she has been in Iran for two times and this was her third one. She said : It is my right to return to my country and everyone has right to return to her/his country and no one must stop her except; for those who have been found guilty of charges. I dont know at all .....without any reason or problem , why they are dealing with me this way.
Link to this news in Farsi:

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You may be unable to open the link to American Federation of Teachers. Here is the AFT's letter:

March 13, 2007

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President, Islamic Republic of Iran
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: 011-98-21-649-5880

Dear President Ahmadinejad:

On behalf of the nearly 1.3 million members of the American Federation of Teachers, I am writing to bring to your attention our serious concern over developments within the Iranian education sector. We have closely followed recent reports in the international media concerning the arrest and detention at an undisclosed location of two senior officials of the Teachers' Trade Association on March 7th, and the additional arrest of a further 20 education leaders.
Those arrested have been involved in peaceful protests for decent living wages and improved classroom conditions for teachers. Several times within the past months, thousands of teachers have courageously rallied in public asking that their voices be heard. Their grievance centers on a long-promised, but yet to be enacted government reform granting teachers pay equal to many other civil servants.

We urge you, Mr. President, to:

investigate the circumstances and secure the immediate and unconditional release of any educator detained while exercising the right to peacefully protest;
require the Ministry of Education to open serious negotiations with teachers and other education workers so that their long-standing needs for a living wage and respectable working conditions may be met; and
assure in the future that all Iranian educators may exercise the freedoms of association and assembly, without fear of discrimination, harassment or intimidation.
Iran, as a member of the International Labour Organization for more than fifty years, has an obligation arising from its membership to adhere to the ILO’s “Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.” We strongly ask the Iranian government to now do its part, to its fullest ability, in respecting these principles and ensuring these rights.


Edward J. McElroy

CC: Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary, Education International
Teachers Trade Association Kanooneh Senfiyeh Moallemaneh, Iran
Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Golam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Leader of the Iranian Parliament
Juan Somavia, Director General, International Labor Organization
Guy Ryder, General Secretary, ITUC

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Letter of support by the American Teachers Federation to Iranian Teachers Union
AFT protest letter:

E-Mail address for the worldwide umbrella group of teacher unions, Education International ("E.I."):

Iran Arrests Striking Teachers
The government of Iran has stepped up its campaign against teachers seeking better salaries and working conditions. Several demonstrations have been organized by teachers in recent months, bringing tens of thousands to protest in the street in front of the national parliament and ministry of education. Peaceful protestors have been met by police violence and as many as a thousand arrests. Speaking out in favor of teachers’ rights in Iran, the AFT has sent a letter of protest to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Click here to see the letter.

The American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, represents more than 1.3 million teachers, paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel, higher education faculty, nurses, healthcare workers, and federal, state and local government employees. Our programs in international affairs include curriculum development, teacher training, cross-cultural exchange, democratic skills training, and support for trade unions and human rights worldwide.
We have conducted projects in many countries, including emerging democracies in Africa, Central America, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union. We draw upon a large skills-based network from among our international partners, union members, elected leadership, volunteers, and professional staff.

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Whats happening in Iran?
The head of the teachers union Mr. Aliakbar Baghani was arrested while the students were taking their exam in the class.
The secretary general of the Iranian Teachers Union was arrested in this morning while his students were taking their exam in the class.
Today at around 9:30 am three agents with plaincloths attended at " Roshd" high school, while two of the agents waited in the school yard the third person entered in Mr. Baghani's class and by showing a note as written summon arrested and left the school by taking him away.
At present, there are six board members of the Iranain Teachers Union in Evin prison.
They are : Mr. Hamid Poorvosugh, Mr. Seyed Mahmoud Bagheri, Mr. Mohammad Taghi Falah, Mr. Aliasghar Montajebi , Mr. Mohammad Reza Rezaie and Mr. Alireza Akbari-Nabi .
Mr. Asadi
a teacher from the city of Karaj was also summoned to the court.
The teachers demand : The harrasment against teachers to stop and their rights and demands be answered.

Link to this news in farsi:

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Supports for Iranian women's rights advocate are on the rise as Ahmadinejad's government shows its teeth on them by summoning ,arresting and detaining .

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Whats happening in Iran?
As I surf around on online news, here are what makes these newses on the spotlight:
Womens rights advocats who have been arrested and released later now saying: They have been receiving call urging them to appear to the court branch.These calls have been received by many women rights advocates and all of them have decided to not appear in the court because they beleive it is illegal. The womens human rights advocate believe that ; The only way they would appear in the court is when they receive a written summon. Ms. Nasrin Sotudeh the lawyer for most of these women beleive that it is illegal to summon people by phone call.
Ms. Zeynab Payghambarzadeh said: "They have called in my cell phone and asked me to appear to the court on Sunday morning ".She didn't appear and then the court officials called her dad and told him that: If she won't appear on Monday they will arrest her. Ms. Nahid Jafari agrees with Zeynab and said : Without a written summon she won't appear to the court. The same is true with Ms. Farnaz Seifi.
In the last week Ms. Sara loghmani, Jila Baniyaghub and Jelveh Javaheri were also summoned the same way but did not appear to the court. The defense lawyer emphasized that : Summoning by phone is illegal.

Link to this news:

The Islamic Republic have started to arrest more members of the teachers union !
After the arrest of 45 teachers from the city of Hamadan, yesterday the security agents in a planned agenda attacked on teachers in Tehran by attending in their resident and searched their houses. In a summoning letter the court have asked The teachers to appear in the court.
There are conflicting news about the release of teachers from Hamadan. While the judiciary spoksperson said 30 teachers have been released but the deputy of the Hamedans governor on security have said 20 teachers in Hamedan have been released.
The teachers union have said : Because of no response to their demand and because of harrasment, arrest and detention the teachers won't attend on their classes on April 15 and 16 and April 29.
In Iran the teachers day is on May 2nd and on that day teachers from around the country will attend in Ministry of Education for response to their demand.
Link to this news :

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This picture was taken in Shahrvand publication office in Toronto , Canada while Ganji was here to receive his award from Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE).

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Monday, April 09, 2007

News in brief-
Judge Said Mortazavi the interrogator of Zahra Kazemi , Tehran public prosecutor and the Judge of press court on the spotlight.
According to the news: The press jury found Mr. Mohamad Reza Khatami the manager in charge of the banned Mosharekat newspaper a reformist party newspaper guilty of charges and the complainant was Mr. Said Mortazavi the interrogator of Zahra Kazemi the Canadian-Iranian photojournalist.
Mr. Khatami was charged with : Propaganda against the system, insulting officials ,publishing lies to creat public disterbance and defamation of officials.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ahmadinejad's government is anti Iranian and anti human rights and democracy !

While the British sailors are with their family ,Iranian women rights advocates are still in Evin prison !

On April 2 ,2007 while collecting signature on a petition to end discriminatory laws against women In "Lale Park" , Ms. Mabubeh Hosainzadeh and Nahid Keshavarz were arrested and now six days have passed since their arrest. According to constitution they didn't break any law and their action was peaceful.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

News in brief-
Three women rights activists are summoned to the court!
The security branch of Tehran Court of Revolution has asked Ms. Saghi Leghaie, Ms. Parastoo Dokuhaki and Ms. Sara leghaie to attend to the court on Sunday.
These three women rights activists were among those 30 women who staged protest for the release of their colleagues in front of TCR last month and was arrested at the time , imprisoned but released on international pressure and on bail .
They are charged for "breach in national security" and "causing public unrest".
Link to this news in Farsi :

IWC : The movement for democracy and human rights is alive in Iran !

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Raising a voice
In Canada, they're the `invisible' press. They hope to change that with a new online journal, writes Nicholas Keung
May 27, 2006. 03:25 AM

Mohsin Abbas discovered his destiny in Pakistan at age 8, when he found himself near a roadside tea shop watching with fascination as a crowd of people — some illiterate, others too poor to buy a newspaper — debated a column in Mashriq, the main daily in the industrial border city of Sialkot.

"I saw men beating their wives, and kids working as child labour, and I always wondered: Who's responsible for all these problems?" recalls Abbas, now 32. "Then I was at this tea shop looking at these people talking about these stories in the newspaper, and I knew I could use words as a tool to express myself and expose these injustices I saw."

Under a regime often criticized for its restrictions on press freedom, Abbas started freelancing as a journalist while still in high school, served as a stringer for Associated Press and Reuters in war-torn Kashmir, and as a staff writer at the Urdu-language Daily Pakistan, where he worked from 1993 until 2002.

He never shied away from writing about sensitive issues — even police violence, the politically risky topic that ultimately forced him to flee in 2002.

The irony is that Abbas, like many other journalists living in exile in Canada, has been muzzled again in a land that prides itself on freedom of speech. So much so that members of the organization Journalists in Exile, sharing Abbas' frustration, this month launched their own online magazine — at — to create a place to be heard again.

"I don't have any fear in Canada and I feel free to write about anything that I like," says Abbas, who has worked in sales, in factories and freelancing for BBC news online while awaiting a decision on his refugee claim. "The problem is there's no outlets for our voices to be heard, because the Canadian media would not take a chance on us. I took up the profession for my passion. It makes me crazy that I don't even have a voice now."

Back in Pakistan, Abbas quit only when his life was at stake. He broke a story in February 2002 alleging police involvement in the murders of two journalists, including a Daily Pakistan colleague who had been writing a book about the press and the police.

"The police took my father for questions twice, and my five sisters were begging me to leave the country."

Abbas spent several months wandering through Dubai, London and the United States in dim hopes of returning.

But when Pakistan passed a "defamation ordinance" in October 2002, further tightening censorship, he knew there was no going back. That's when he contacted exiled journalist advocacy groups in Canada.

Like Abbas, most exiled journalists are toiling in two or more "survival jobs" to make ends meet, often while separated from families half a world away. Yet members feel compelled to contribute to the magazine in their free time, to have a forum for issues important to their ethnic communities — issues they feel are neglected in the mainstream media.

They are contributing columns, articles and cartoons, and the website includes links to individual blogs and a special area where journalists can pitch story ideas for the perusal of Canadian media outlets.

Maryam Aghvami, president of the six-year-old exile group, notes that these journalists are often sought-after sources for Canadian media.

"You spend two hours on the phone with a (Canadian) journalist to brief them on issues and get them contacts in the community. As much as I love them, you don't hear from them till their next story," laments the former Reuters reporter from Iran.

"They don't always have the expertise in these communities, and we want to help them so they don't screw up stories. But for us, this is another form of exploitation."

Earlier this year, Aghvami represented the Ethnic Media Press Council of Canada at a federal government news conference in Mississauga on immigration, and found herself passed over when an organizer found out she was with "the ethnic press."

"I asked him after the news conference why I didn't get to ask my questions, and he explained to me that the Q&A was for local and national media only," says Aghvami. "It's shocking and frustrating when others treat journalists like myself with such disrespect, that we're less than others."

Among her group's 70 members across Canada, none has landed a permanent mainstream media job, even though some had previous experience in international English-language media. While a few find freelance work, most volunteer for shoestring community publications to "keep their skills fresh."

"I guess our motivation is to get our self-confidence and self-esteem back, so we can still pick up a pen and write again," says Aghvami, who left Iran in 2001, when political reformists there lost ground to religious conservatives and she no longer felt safe as a female journalist.

She was never jailed or tortured, but when reporting for foreign media she'd get calls from government officials questioning her on her interview subjects.

She was on contract — and still occasionally freelances — as an associate producer with CBC's Fifth Estate, but she has also found bread-and-butter work in the insurance industry and for translation services.

Morteza (Mori) Abdolalian, JEX's co-founder, says the group's members, who hail from two dozen countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, reflect the rich life experiences of many new Canadians and can help local media see "the other side of the community."

"We are the invisible journalists in Canada," says the political writer, who left Iran in the 1976 to study in the Philippines. "It seems that journalists in the West don't really see us as one of them, though we're just as well trained and experienced."

A founder of the Iranian students association at Manila's University of the East, Abdolalian was critical of Iran's theocratic regime in the campus papers, Akhgar and Dawn. It was no surprise that he was greeted by intelligence officers at the Tehran airport upon his graduation in 1982.

He was imprisoned twice by authorities, leading up to his ultimate escape back to the Philippines the next year. When he began being harassed by some Iranian students and embassy staff in Manila, he moved to Japan with a Red Cross-issued refugee passport. After being stateless for five years, he arrived in Canada in 1990.

"We need to speak up for those who can't," says Abdolalian, who runs his own news Weblog at "This is in my blood because I truly believe in freedom and democracy. It all starts with a voice."

Saleem Samad, 54, an exiled journalist from Bangladesh, says the risks and threats he and many peers faced in defending press freedom are hardly fathomable to Canadians.

He was threatened many times and jailed twice over his three decades in South Asia's English-language press — once blindfolded and left in an isolated cell for five days without food or water.

But nothing could sway him from his passion for writing about conflicts and terrorism.
He fled to Canada in 2004, after a source within the intelligence services warned him his life was in danger.

"My friend just said: `You must go. Now!'

"Things are going wrong everywhere, and we need to expose them to the rest of the world. If I stopped writing about these things, I'd better retire from the profession," says Samad, a former reporter with The Bangladesh Observer and New Nation and a correspondent for Time Magazine's Asia edition.

Samad started a job as a security guard in Toronto a month ago, and hopes to see his wife of 25 years and their two children join him in Canada in September. He is a volunteer editor for JEX's magazine.

"The online magazine is an important forum for exiled journalists to get published," Samad says, "because this is the only platform that's open to us." #

Source: Toronto Star, Sat May. 27, 2006

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Read Noam Chomsky's article about possible U.S. war on Iran:
Another site :

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Recent Human Right Watch press release-

For Immediate Release
Iran: Release Women’s Rights Activists
(New York, April 7, 2007) – The Iranian government should immediately release two women’s rights activists arrested on April 1 and end its harassment and persecution of human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today.
On April 1, 2007, security forces arrested five women’s rights activists who were planning to gather signatures for the One Million Signatures Campaign, a project aimed at collecting one million signatures to demand an end to discrimination against women in Iranian law. This includes a call for women’s testimony in court to carry the same weight as that of men, equality of inheritance rights between men and women, the elimination of polygamy, and equality of compensation payments in the event of the wrongful death of a man and of a woman. The arrests took place in Laleh Park in Tehran; three of the five were released two days later.
Link to HRW

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

When British sailors are released why not Iranian women?

Mr. Ahmadinejad Now that you have released the British sailors because of Eastern and the approaching birth day of Prophet Mohammad, please release our Iranian sisters from Iranian Evin prison. They havn't done anything wrong . They were exercising their rights .They were only collecting signature on a petition to reduce discrimination against women. They didn't violate any law. End violation against women and release members of the "campaign for one million signature" Ms. Nahid Keshavarz and Ms. Mahbubeh Hosainzadeh.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Mother of Imprisoned Journalist: I Revert to God !
Omid Memarian - 2007.04.04
As the month of March came to its end, Ali Farahbakhsh, the journalists who has spent the last 5 months in prison in Iran on charges of espionage, was sentenced to three years imprisonment. His mother Badri Farahbakhsh and his father who is a retired judge tried everything to secure their son’s release. In her words, the judge for the case openly told her that he would not follow the instructions of the head of Iran’s judiciary to release Ali on bail. Following are the excerpts of an interview Rooz had with his mother Badri:
Rooz (R): What is the latest official news about your son:Ali Farahbakhsh (AF): I was in court today and spoke with the court clerk. Judge Babai was not there himself. They have made a mistake in the sentence. They added a zero the sum of money that they claim my son received from foreigners. In the charges brought against my son, the amount that is mentioned is $2,300. But the judge changed that to $23,000. My husband says the charge is a joke. How could anyone be a spy for $2,300? Nobody believes that.
R: Did anyone from the court give any explanation about this mistake?AF: Ali’s attorney was surprised when he saw the sentence and why the amount of money had been changed. He wanted to talk to the judge, but was told to wait until the end of the Iranian Nowruz holidays (which officially end on April 2nd, 2007). This is how lightly they take these things. The judge who passed this sentence should not be able to sleep peacefully at night, just as he has deprived us of sleep. How can they talk of Nowruz celebrations while we are going through hell. The morning I returned, they told me that the numbers was a typo. I asked him whether he understood what adding a simple zero does to the family of an imprisoned person, to which he responded that they had corrected the issue and asked for a review.
R: How did this happen? The extra zero.AF: I do not believe this was a mistake. How can a judge not read the sentence? I am sure if my son had seen this figure, he would have had a heart attack.
R: Have they promised to change the sentence?AF: I hope the sentence will be changed in the appellate court. We plan to sue the judiciary for causing us such distress in the mistake they have made. But when the word of the chief of the judiciary branch is not heeded to, how do you expect our efforts to succeed?R: In response to your letter, Mr. Shahrudi, the head of the Judiciary Branch had requested that your son be released on bail. Where did that go?AF: The judge blatantly told me he was not going to implement Mr. Shahrudi’s request. Our attorney put Shahrudi’s letter in the dossier, but every time I wanted to talk about it with the judge, he told me not to. He was indifferent to the letter, and did not care that Mr. Shahrudi was the head of this country’s judiciary. This makes one wonder: when the words of the head of the judiciary are ignored, how can one expect them to even listen to me. Mr. Shahrudi even sent a letter to the head of Tehran’s judiciary explaining that injustice was done to my son. Only my son’s release can compensate the pain that I have gone through.
R: Did they explain the reason for his detention during the Nowruz celebrations, especially as the investigation phase had been complete?AF: I do not know what is at play that even when the head of Tehran’s judiciary appointed a judge to investigate the issue, nothing came out of it. The investigative judge told me that he had read the charges and that there was no problem with asking for bail. Still, our efforts to have our son with us during Nowruz were useless.
R: Did they say when the appeal would take place? AF: They said they would apply after April 2nd.
R: How was your son when you last spoke with him?AF: He was very, very demoralized. His heart aches had returned and so he needs the care of a specialist.
R: What did Ali think about the sentence?AF: He was in a state of shock. The whole event from arrest, to detention and trail has been a nightmare for him. Out of fear for his condition, we did not tell him about the mistake in the Dollar number. He says he is innocent and that they have cocked up these charges against him. Ali’s colleagues too believe and say that he is innocent.
R: How are his wife and child?AF: She is in a bad state as well. Especially as they live in Ramsar (a city in northern part of Iran). She is a surgeon who is doing her service out of Tehran while their infant is only 18 months old. She used to come to Tehran once a week to see her husband and then go back because of her work.
R: Has Ali’s attorney applied for bail?AF: They would not allow Ali to see his attorney prior to the trial. On the day of trail they saw each other for the first time. The court hearings were in cameraR: Are you going to follow things up with Mr. Shahrudi?AF: No. Because he already made recommendations on two occasions. There is no one else to see, so we are reverting to God. Ali’s father is ill too, and does not leave the house for weeks and says he did deserve this after years of service to his country and people. He said he was ready to go and spend time in solitary confinement instead of his son.
R: What would you tell the judge if you were to meet him?AF: I hate you. You have broken my heart as a mother. You have injured my soul, made baseless accusations, and I hope God will punish you for it.

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Thomas Madondoro, Luis Matta, Morteza Abdolalian, Mir Hussain Mahdavi, and Ashoke Dasguita (left to right) are enrolled in a new program at Sheridan College that retrains foreign journalists so they can work in Canada.

Foreign journalists in a Sheridan College retraining program share a zeal to find work in Canada's newsrooms
Mar 29, 2007 04:30 AM

Ashoke Dasgupta Special to the Star
Ever wonder who answers the phone when you order a pizza, or who delivers it?
It may be a one-time journalist from Afghanistan. Or a pamphleteer from Iran.
Now a trail-blazing program at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning is giving foreign-schooled reporters and editors a chance to sharpen their skills to seek work in their chosen field in Canada.
The program, called Canadian Journalism for Internationally Trained Writers, started up in January. The first class has 32 people originally from Pakistan, Kenya, India, Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere.
It was set up by Joyce Wayne, a journalism and English literature teacher at Sheridan for the past 18 years. Formerly editor of the books magazine Quill & Quire, Wayne knew of newcomers with writing backgrounds here through PEN, the worldwide association of writers, and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
"Many writers living in Toronto are refugees and had to leave their countries for writing the truth," she says.
The daughter of immigrants to Canada, Wayne empathized with their struggles to re-establish their careers here.
"I don't see why most (Toronto) newsrooms are a sea of white faces in the most multicultural city in the world."
Wayne approached Sheridan academic vice-president Maureen Callahan who, she says, needed just two minutes to approve the year-long journalism certificate program.
The program got a major boost last month when Mike Colle, Ontario's citizenship and immigration minister, announced $348,000 in funding. The federal government has kicked in another $275,000.
The money will go to establishing a broadly based Centre for Internationally Trained Individuals at the Oakville college. Courses modelled on the program for journalists are planned for foreign-born accountants, technologists, nurses, early-childhood educators and filmmakers, among other pursuits.
Those enrolled in Sheridan's journalist program are paying $4,400 in tuition, with some helped by scholarships funded by the Globe and Mail, CBC, Canadian Press and Torstar, parent company of the Toronto Star. All students will get a three-month work placement as part of the program.
Some in the inaugural class came to Canada simply to seek a better life, but as the accompanying profiles show, others have backgrounds more evocative of political-intrigue novels than pizzeria work.

The writer is in the charter class of the Sheridan program for émigré journalists. Dasgupta worked as a copy editor in Nepal before coming in 1997 to Canada, where he has mostly worked in call centres.

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News in Brief-
Five members of the Campaign for " One million signature" have been arrested!
According to Roozna, four active members of the women movement while collecting signature for the campaign for " One million signature " have been arrested in " Laleh " Park in Tehran.
Ms. Sara Aminian, Ms. Nahid Keshavarz , Ms. Mahbubeh Hosainzadeh and Ms. Saideh Amin today at lunch time in " Laleh " Park while collecting signature for the campaign for "one million signature" were arrested by the agents and were transfered to the office of " Naja" . Naja is one of several inteligence office.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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