Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Basij forces enter Azad University

Police were stationed outside Tehran's Azad University and Basij forces entered the main building to prevent student demonstrations today.

According to a student leader contacted by Radio Farda, Azad University students had made plans days ago for a protest on Tuesday. But about one hundred Basijis from Amir Kabir, Science and Industry, and Tehran universities were bused in today, ostensibly for a ceremony at Azad Universy's mosque marking the martyrdom of the 6th Imam. Once the mosque ceremony ended, the Basijis began insulting Azad University students and chanting 'Death to hypocrites!' The Basijis allegedly assaulted several students, but were soon overwhelmed by some 2,000 students who left their classes at noon break. Police and plainclothesmen were called in later in the day. They checked the mobile telephones of students as they left the campus. Nevertheless footage of the events managed to make its way onto the Internet.

This footage was filmed outside the university and shows security forces stationed on the street.

'Free thought is not possible with beards and whiskers!' 'Ahmadi, you clown, the 63% is here!' 'Long live Mousavi, may Karroubi stand long!' 'Oil money has been lost, it's been used to pay for Basijis!'

Black-clad Basij goons rough up a student in a classroom. Old habits die hard even when you're being filmed:

'Ahmadi you midget, you still call this football!?' (Referring to Ahmadinejad's comments on June 14, when he said that the protesters were like football hooligans unhappy because their side had lost a match) 'This is what a quota student looks like!' (Referring to university quotas for Basij members) 'Death to the Taliban, whether in Kabul or Tehran!'

'They've arrested someone!' shouts one student. 'Basiji get lost!' the crowd shouts, before singing a hymn of the student movement 'Yareh Dabestani Man.' Some Basijis can be seen filming the protesters.

'They've used pepper spray!' said the student who filmed this footage.

Students take this Basij leader, referred to as Mr. Abbasi, to task for using tear gas. The Basij leader says that a university is not the place to shout slogans and denies Basijis used tear gas. Protesters claim that the Basijis who have entered the campus are not students there: 'This one asked me where the elevator was. What kind of student is that?'

Azad University has been the scene of regular protests since the start of the academic year.

It's in the mail: Date for presenting official report on post-election abuse is postponed... again

The final report on 'post-election events' will not be delivered this week, according to a member of the special committee set up to investigate violations that occurred during the regime's crackdown. The presentation of the report has already been postponed twice.

Farhad Tajari, a member of the special committee looking into post-election events and the Kahrizak detention center, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Monday that he could not give a date for the presentation of his group's final report. 'Some new facts have come to light and we must look into them before we are able to offer our report,' he said. Tajari is also a key member of the Majlis judiciary committee.

On Saturday Hamid Reza Katouzian, Majlis representative from Tehran and another member of the special investigative committee, told Parleman News, the news site of the Imam Line Faction of the Majlis, that pressure was being exerted on the group. 'This committee must not surrender to the pressure and must present a comprehensive report to the Majlis,' he said.

Katouzian, a conservative Principlist lawmaker, has been a vocal critic of the government's actions. In early August, he was one of the few official voices to clearly state that abuse at Kakrizak detention center had led to the deaths of jailed protesters and he placed the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of then National Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam. Ahmadi Moghaddam claimed at the time that no one had died at Kahrizak and 'only three individuals had succumbed to disease' after their release.

'The report was supposed to have been completed last month, but the meetings were never held,' Katouzian said to Parleman News. 'No meetings were convened and we were unable to review the progress of the rapporteurs.'

Asked whether there was any resistance to the completion of the report, Katouzian stated, 'It is possible to speculate that they are preventing some information from being gathered, but I believe that this committee must carry out its duties and produce a report.'

A month ago, a member of the special committee who wished to remain anonymous told Parleman News, 'It has been established that certain prisoners [in Kahrizak] were raped with batons and bottles.' He added, 'If the report is completed, we will present it to the Majlis Speaker and senior figures of the regime.'

On Saturday, Katouzian said in his interview, 'We are waiting for Mr. Aboutorabi, who is in charge of convening this committee, to call a meeting.' Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard is the Majlis's Deputy Speaker.

According to the Norouz news site, Deputy Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi has been pulling strings to prevent the report from being read by the Majlis. Mortazavi, who was Tehran Prosecutor at the time of the most serious human rights violations, would be in the line of fire if the abuses were ever prosecuted.

At least two Majlis representatives, three according to some accounts, were also allegedly involved in the crimes that took place in Karizak. This blog will not publish their identities as it is unclear whether the names that have been circulating are truly those of the culprits or whether they are a part of a disinformation campaign led by the real perpetrators.

In another interview, Farhad Tajari told Mehr news service that he and two other special committee members -- Parviz Sorouri and Kazem Jalali -- had met with the judiciary's special committee on abuse claims on Monday with a view to finalizing their report.

The judiciary's special committee is made up of  Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, and judicial adviser Ali Khalafi. This committee famously denied all of Mehdi Karroubi's claims concerning the rape of prisoners several weeks ago and it is unclear how they would contribute to this report.

Ahmadinejad gets a Shiraz welcome

A group of young Shirazis chanted slogans against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as they walked down one of their city's main thoroughfares, Mulla Sadra Avenue, yesterday evening.

Ahmadinejad gave the opening speech for the National Hafez Day ceremony at the beloved 14th-century poet's mausoleum in Shiraz earlier on Monday.

(video courtesy of NedaSoltan's channel on YouTube)