Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - December 25, 2004 - A Special Christmas Story: Our Iranian Freeper Is Finally Safe!
Posted on 12/25/2004 12:12:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn
Top News Story
A Special Christmas Storyby Joe Katzman at December 25, 2004 03:23 AM
I haven't talked about this, but over the past few weeks a number of bloggers have been working to help a certain gentleman escape from a dangerous situation in Iran and find freedom. Our Iranian friend is now out of the country and in a safe location, with people on the ground set up to help his transition and a refugee application in progress.
I'm told that our Iranian friend extends his profound gratitude to the crew of elves (Gary Metz, Emily, Jack Wheeler, Spirit of America's Kerry Dupont, Michael L., and Winds team members Dan Darling, Joe & Armed Liberal) for their advice and assistance along the way.
It was really touch-and-go for a while, and there were times I thought this might end very badly - but Christmas Eve had a gift up its sleeve. Thanks, Santa!
DoctorZin: The Christmas story above is about our Iranian Freeper who recently escaped Iran.
As of a few hours ago he is finally safe!For the past few months it has been a roller coaster of emotions. Many small miracles and many disappointments. Until a few hours ago we didn't know if our Iranian Freeper would actually make it to freedom or be sent back to Iran. We are all very relieved to hear he finally made it.
He was exhausted and is now sleeping. But I am pleased to report that he has a great place to stay for the time being and will be guided through the upcoming legal processes from other Iranians who have gone through them themselves. He is in great hands.
We will publish more details when it is appropriate. Please be patient.
What a wonder Christmas gift.
We have a lot to be thankful for tonight. Thanks for all your prayers.
Please ping list thread and spread the word.
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Wellll now, that is GREAT news!
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Yes it is!
God bless you.
Stoning of adulterous woman put on hold
Friday, December 24, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Dec 24 (IranMania) - Iranian authorities have temporarily stayed the execution by stoning of a woman convicted of adultery while her case is studied by the judiciary pardons commission, the press reported Thursday.
Hajieh Esmailvand, whose plight has been taken up by rights group Amnesty International, was originally sentenced by a court in the northwestern town of Jolfa to be flogged 100 times, jailed for five years and then hanged.
According to the press report, her lover, identified only as Ruhollah G., who was 17 years old at the time of the affair, has been sentenced to hang and is still awaiting execution.
In its report, reformist daily Tosseh said the two had murdered Esmailvand's husband in 2000.
The Supreme Court later changed Esmailvand's sentence to stoning because of the adultery, as is permitted under Islamic law.
But an unnamed judiciary official said the "stoning has been stayed pending a decision by the pardons commission."
There was no indication of when that might be expected.
Right group Amnesty International has called on its members to appeal to the Iranian authorities for the stoning to be stopped.
According to Amnesty, Iran's penal code is very specific about the manner of execution and types of stones that should be used.
It states that men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. However, those who manage to free themselves are spared.
It also says, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones."
According to AFP, although the exact date of Esmailvand's arrest and trial are not known, it is reported that she has been imprisoned in Jolfa since January 2000.
Amnesty said reports suggested that the Supreme Court has ordered that the remainder of her prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence could be carried out before December 21.
But no sentence of stoning has been carried out in Iran for more than a year, with the practice seeming to have been suspended since the end of 2002 under pressure from the European Union, which has made human rights a touchstone of talks with Tehran on closer trade ties, AFP added.
Murder, armed robbery, rape, apostasy and serious drug trafficking are also punishable by hanging in Iran.
One at a time works until such time they can flood over the borders or overthrow the oppressive regime in power.
very very ... cool.
Thank God! God Bless you and the other people who helped this Freeper get out of Iran! You guys are fantastic!
What wonderful news on this Christmas morning! Packages are wrapped and under the tree and I just finished the stockings when I decided to come on FR and see if there was any news! I am so glad that I did log on the computer to read that the Iranian Freeper is free!
This is wonderful news! Merry Christmas, and may God bless these brave men and women, and the Iranians still battling for their freedom...
Amen to that dandelion and Christmas blessings to you.
It's nice to see a happy story on Christmas morning.
Hopefully, the new year will find all of Iran free!
Beware, the Iranian gov't is reading these posts.
They may want to extracate jamie gorelick and her husband.
Gee, I can't imagine why!
A Christmas Miracle, Thank you God.
This is an unexpected package to open this morning. Great news!
What a Present! Some of the best ones don't fit under the tree!
"Murder, armed robbery, rape, apostasy and serious drug trafficking are also punishable by hanging in Iran."
By supporting terrorism, the Iranian government has murdered hundreds. I hope they will follow their religion and hang themselves.
WOW, MERRY CHRISTMAS INDEED! What a JOY to read that this dear "lover of FREEDOM" is in good hands. I'm glad that other Iranians who have already been through this are helping him. Thanks so much doc for the update, and please continue to give us updates when you can. : )
I came this close to not logging on today--so very glad I did! This is a terrific Christmas gift, a wonderful story. Thanks so much for the update!
What a wonderful Christmas story! Thank God for the people who participated in the rescue of this FReeper! I didn't realize how world-wide this brotherhood is, but I am proud to be part of a "family" who does such heroic things for one another. I hope the Iranian brother (?) stays safe and is able to help free the rest of his people!
Let's add that there were other "elves" who helped in different ways and your thoughts, words and actions are all appreciated.
Thank You All!
WOW thats amazing!
I hope he is allright and safe now and may God bless the poeple who helped this guy!
AI Index: MDE 13/055/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 330
24 December 2004The case of Leyla Mafi, who faces execution on account of charges including sexual intercourse with blood relatives, giving birth to an illegitimate child and acts contrary to chastity, flies in the face of justice and human dignity. It also breaches Iran's own obligations under international law, Amnesty International said.
Iran: Lives in the balance: an open appeal to Irans judicial authorities
On 10 December 2004, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action appeal on behalf of Leyla Mafi, who, according to the organisation's information, was facing flogging and execution on charges of acts contrary to chastity (a'mal-e khalaf-e 'ofat), by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives (eteham-e zena ba maharem) and giving birth to an illegitimate child (tavallod-e bache-e haram). Leyla Mafi had reportedly been forced into prostitution from the age of eight and was raped by those to whom her mother introduced her. She reportedly has a mental age of eight yet she had been sentenced to death by a lower court in Arak around May 2004 on the basis of a "confession" that she had made to the court. The circumstances of this were not clear.
In the past two days, in response to urgent appeals from within Iran, from Amnesty International's Urgent Action network and from foreign governments, the Iranian authorities have taken the exceptional step of publicly commenting on the case. Amnesty International welcomes this engagement by the authorities, but believes that statements made by the judiciary leave far too many questions unanswered while exposing the shortcomings of Iranian law in respect to the international standards it is committed to uphold.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life. Iran has made an explicit and unreserved commitment under article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), that it will impose the death sentence "only for the most serious crimes". This means that a death sentence should be a most exceptional measure, and in any event is applicable only to intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences.
The Iranian authorities have contested Amnesty International's information about Leyla Mafi's current age and mental capacity, and have stated that the charges relate to events which took place while she was of adult age. In view of the inconsistencies in information, Amnesty International believes it is essential to have an independent professional assessment of her age and mental capacity. This is a crucial factor in determining her awareness of whether she was committing a crime under Iranian law. Full account should also be taken of the social conditions in which she may have entered prostitution and the reported sexual abuse and exploitation which she was subjected to throughout her childhood and adolescence. However, irrespective of her age, mental capacity, coercion or criminal responsibility, on no account should she face execution.
Amnesty International calls on Iran's legislators and judicial authorities to work urgently to bring domestic law and practice in line with Iran's obligations under international law as set out in the ICCPR.
On 16 December 2004, Amnesty International issued another Urgent Action appeal in respect to Hajieh Esmailvand and an unnamed man who has since been identified as Ruhollah G, aged 17 at the time of their alleged act of adultery. The two are reportedly in detention in Jolfa, in north-western Iran. Both face a death sentence which, in Hajieh Esmailvand's case is to be carried out by stoning following a November 2004 decision of the Supreme Court which upheld the death sentences. It was reported that the Supreme Court had ordered the stoning sentence against Hajieh Esmailvand to be carried out before 21 December. On 23 December, the authorities reportedly temporarily stayed the execution of Hajieh Esmailvand, referring the case to the Amnesty and Clemency Commission (ACC, or Komisyon-e 'Afv va Bakhshoudegi) to review the sentence of execution by stoning. It is not clear whether the ACC will also review the other elements of her sentence, originally intended to be imposed before the execution, of flogging and a five-year custodial sentence. The ACC, a part of the judiciary, is empowered to reduce sentences or pardon prisoners. Ruhollah G, a child offender, who allegedly committed the acts in question while under the age of 18, is still awaiting his execution.
While welcoming this stay of execution of Hajieh Esmailvand, Amnesty International continues to call for the death sentence on both parties to be overturned, since their alleged "crimes" are not internationally recognisable criminal offences. The UN Human Rights Committee (in the case of Toonen v Australia) has made clear that treating adultery and fornication as criminal offences does not comply with international human rights standards.
In December 2002, the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, reportedly sent a directive to judges ordering a moratorium on execution by stoning and for alternative punishments to be used instead. However, legal provision for execution by stoning remains, and in September 2003 a law was passed listing regulations for the implementation of particular sentences, including stoning. Since the reported moratorium, Amnesty International is aware of at least one case in which a sentence of execution by stoning has reportedly been issued. According to a report on 8 January 2004 in the Iran newspaper, a criminal court in city of Qazvin sentenced an unnamed man to 80 lashes and 10 years' imprisonment to be followed by execution by stoning. It is not known whether this sentence has been carried out.
Iran Students Hold a Referendum on Changing the ConstitutionDecember 24, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Students at Sabzevar university, set up a mock referendum at Teacher Training college, on whether the present constitution of the Islamic Republic should change. The action was the first of its kind to be held inside the Islamic Republic, following the appeal made by 8 of Irans well known dissidents.
The students set up polling booths and discussed the pros and cons of the appeal over two days. A total of 668 students took part in the poll, 524 were in favour of changing the constitution, 74 were against, 50 undecided and 20 votes were considered spoiled.
The appeal, which is demanding for the drafting of a new constitution that is compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all its associated covenants, has become the most debated topic in Iran since its launch four weeks ago. The site for the appeal, www.60000000.com has so far gathered over 27000 signatures. People inside Iran however were denied access to the 60000000.com site almost immediately after its launch, when the Islamic Republic blocked access to the site.
The appeal has also received some international backing, including members of the Swedish Parliament from the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet Liberalerna):
Subject: Announcement in support of National Referendum in Iran.
From: Member of the Swedish Parliament from the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet Liberalerna).
We, Members of the Swedish Parliament from the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet Liberalerna), support the National petition for referendum in Iran; this petition has been initiated and supported by Iranian independent students movement and Human Rights activists in Iran.
This petition demands a free Referendum under direct and effective supervision of international observers to allow Iranians to elect a legislative parliament which shall approve a new and preliminary constitution in accordance with the convention of Human Rights and Proclamations, and to facilitate a national election in order to elect freely the desirable future form of political system in Iran.
There is no doubt that this referendum, shall, by ending a dictator regime, peacefully assist Iranians to have a direct approach to democracy, freedom and human rights.
Erik Ullenhag, Member of the Swedish Parliament, representing the Liberal Party.
Helena Bargholtz, Member of the Swedish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, representing the Liberal Party.
Ana.Mari Narti, Member of the Swedish parliament, Committee on Education and Inter-Parliamentary Group, representing the Liberal Party.
Gunnar Andren, Member of the Swedish Parliament, representing the Liberal Party.
Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of the Swedish parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs, representing the Liberal Party.
Fredrik Malm, President of Liberal Young in Sweden, representing the Liberal Party.
Nina Lundstrom, Member of the Swedish Parliament, representing the Liberal Party.
Erling Bager, Member of the Swedish Parliament, representing the Liberal Party.
Folkpartiets riksdagskansli, Riksdagen, 100 12 STOCKHOLM, Tfn 08-786 40 00, Fax 08-20 98 68, email@example.com
You just don't know how relieved I am to hear this news. The young folks in Iran have been on my mind and in my prayers recently. Thank you so much for posting this. Prayers continue.
The Unquenchable LightDecember 24, 2004
Iran va Jahan
I picked up the telephone to talk to a friend right after a French television station aired an hour-long programme about the Shah*. I asked her how she liked the programme and she broke down crying and could not stop to say anything. Watching the programme was not easy for me either. I sat on the edge of the sofa glued to the television swallowing my tears and watching a chronological account of the beginning and end of a man who was the king of my country for thirty-eight years.
Why me, my friend and many other Iranians feel so passionately about the Shah? We were not part of his so-called inner circle to be missing the royal glamour we were once surrounded with. Speaking for myself, I do not give two hoots for royal glamour or any other forms thereof. Neither are we pining for the cushy jobs, we had while the Shah was in power and mourning our deprivation of those positions now that he has gone. I and many of my peers were high school students when the Shah left the country and were not yet of an age for employment. Our parents also had to work hard to make ends meet. No, the affection we have for the Shah has nothing to do with material considerations. It has everything to do with the love we have for our homeland.
The Shah was not a president, a mere ruler or head of state. He was a living manifestation of the continuity of our civilization. And what is that supposed to mean you might say? And you will be right in your skepticism. One hears a great deal of cant rattled off about our "ancient Iranian civilization" stretching from Greece and Egypt across Central Asia to India and so forth. This kind of talk is only tiresome claptrap. A great deal of it is highfaluting self-aggrandizement of people who hide behind the laurels of their forefathers. It can be meaningful only if the present achievements succeed in making a logical connection to the traditions and cultural heritage of the past. And a glance at the current state of affairs in our country obviously shows that this connection is non-existent. Ergo our cheque from the bank of ancient glories would bounce miserably.
So what after all do I mean when I say that the Shah was the manifestation of the continuity of our civilization? I mean he was the living representation and the custodian of an identity that was balanced on the three pillars of religious faith, national heritage and political tradition. He was the personification and upholder of that trinity that provided Iranians with their unique sense of selfhood setting them apart from other cultures and civilizations. The Shah was absolutely right when in a 1979 discussion with Sir David Frost, in answer to the celebrated interviewer's question about what in his opinion was the common bond uniting the Iranian people, he answered 'The crown, the king'.
For the past quarter of a century deprived of its Shah, that keystone of its national trinity, Iran has been writhing in the throes of degeneration and backwardness. It has by no means lived up to its creative potential and true national aspirations. A look at the low morale of the dispirited Iranians living in their homeland or abroad shows the extent of this decay. The ever climbing rate of suicide, drug addiction, prostitution and family violence demonstrates how the moral foundation of our country has been disturbed and its central assumptions been thrown out of whack. If watching old movies of the Shah makes Iranians break down in tears, it is because of a huge emptiness in their national soul that yearns for fulfillment and repair. For the same reason Reza Pahlavi's website is visited by thousands of Iranians everyday and Shahbanou is greeted by throngs of her compatriots wherever she goes.
The people of a nation can go from day to day, double and triple the size of their population, even materially prosper and nevertheless remain dispossessed of something essential in their collective soul. To continue as a living civilization however requires something quite different. The Shah was a symbol and a proof of that stubborn Iranian spirit that had stood up to all foreign invasions and resisted all the trespass to its cultural integrity. It had survived the Greeks, Mongols, Arabs, Turks and the Communists because it held on to a spiritual core of national values which was more powerful than any of those formidable foes.
What the mullahs represented was also an important part of this core. Shia Islam at its best like its Zoroastrian predecessor was a strong pillar that held up our national identity and provided us with a unique set of spiritual, moral and mythological values. These values like the monarchy itself are not measurable in utilitarian terms or by mathematical charts. Nevertheless their worth to the well-being of our culture has been inestimable. Anyone who denies this is either intellectually or emotionally out of tune with the Iranian situation.
The Shah himself was aware of that delicate structure that rested on religious faith, national heritage and a political tradition. Although he was following a secular programme for modernization and development of the country, not only had he nothing against the thoughtful branch of the Shia Islam, he did his best to support and promote it. Thanks to the Shah's special attention the city of Mashhad, the burial site of the 9th century Shia saint Imam Reza gained high prominence as a magnificent pilgrim city and a reputable center of religious learning. The peaceful spiritual leaders in Qom were far freer in the time of the Shah than during the dictatorship of Ruhollah Khomeini who started the repressive custom of keeping his fellow ayatollahs under house arrest. Even Khomeini himself as the leading exponent of the most backward fanatical branch of violent shiaism had nothing worse to fear from the Shah than an exile into a holy city in the country's neighborhood.
One should never make the mistake of thinking that the eventual downfall of the Shah proves that he was wrong in allowing so much power and resources to the country's major religious faith. Apart from being a sincere believer himself, his astute mind provided him with a long- term vision and a far reaching insight into the delicately forged balance that kept the country together, territorially, emotionally and spiritually.
Contrastingly, the mullahs who opposed him could not see further than the tip of their noses. They could only think of short term gain, seizing the reigns of power and holding on to it as long as they could manage it. They failed to see, or could not care less about the long term interests of the religious faith they claimed they were trying to safeguard. They could not see that the heartlessness and emotional sterilization they were instigating against the Shah could eventually pave the way for their own departure. If a nation with 2,500 years of monarchy could bring itself to get rid of such a highly significant national symbol as the Shah, it could also manage to jettison a foreign religion with much less seniority. A parent who mistreats his spouse in front of the children could not expect to gain their love but should understand that he is eroding the sense of respect, family honor and fidelity that will one day come to haunt him. As the saying goes 'what goes around comes around'. And the time for the end of Islamic faith at least in its present form has come around in Iran for quite some time. It is not a secret to anyone that the mullahs are derided and despised by the majority of Iranians. They hold political power by intimidation and repression and not because they are entrusted to do so by the free will of the population.
What kind of Shia Islam can be expected to emerge after the dust of the present dictatorship has settled in Iran is not an easy question to answer. Whether the religion of the majority of Iranians will be able to recreate itself and be born anew sometime in the future depends on many different factors. In its intelligent progressive form it will have a better chance of survival through the restoration of that political system which itself draws its strength from traditional values i.e. the constitutional monarchy. What is certain is that after their inevitable liberation from the present dictatorship, Iranians will never accept to give religion the overwhelming sway it once exercised in their political life. The concept of Shia Islam as the official religion of the country is finished. For that matter, the Iranian monarchy also in its old overarching form has for ever come to an end.
Today we Iranians are sitting amongst the ruins of twenty-five years of national turmoil. To prevail as a civilization we have to pick up the pieces and recreate our national trinity of God, the Shah and country for the democratic age of the twenty-first century. To think however that we can dissolve this trinity, reduce its number or concoct something else altogether instead is to repeat the folly of the Islamic revolutionaries.
A secular republic with no imaginative roots in our national consciousness for Iranians will be like a loveless marital contract full of clauses and sub-clauses but ultimately bereft of any binding emotional attachment or heartfelt yearning. We cannot build the future of our nation in a spiritual vacuum, forgoing its true sources of cultural inspiration and vitality.
What is certain is that multi billion dollar investments are not the only thing we require for rebuilding our country. We need to make an attempt to identify and heal our festering emotional wounds. We need to scrutinize the truth beyond the clouds of falsehood propagated in the past twenty-five years by political opportunists and religious terrorists.
A good place to start is to consider clearly and free of fanaticism the place of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the history of our modern civilization. Such an understanding is essential for our moral recovery. It will enable us to come to terms with our past and proceed in the direction of creating a just, fair and humane society.
The Shah stood at the political helm of our country for nearly four decades, giving us his youth and old age. He bestowed on us all the intellectual and emotional energy his life could muster. The least we can do for him is to give him the recognition he deserves.
* Le Shah d'Iran: un homme à abattre, by Reynold Ismar, broadcast on France 5 on 05.12.2004.
Really. really NEAT! Wonderful news!
Let My people go--what is old is new. . .again.
Best present tpday. (We did not get a legitimate governor.)
Very thankful he is safe.
There is no X in Christmas!! :)
Jesus is the reason for the Season! :)
BABY SHAH BUMP
Great news and what a timing!
the mullahs' day is coming and they may not be that lucky in their getaway!
This could not have been a better Christmas present. I can't tell you how relieved I am.
Thank God. That is great news about our friend from Iran. I will be glad to hear more when you think it is safe to tell us more.
"Iran: Lives in the balance"
A storm is coming.
This is awesome news! Thanks for letting us know, DoctorZIn.
And thanks for the heads up, Phil!
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Good news about our friend escaping from Iran, and also about the stoning being put on hold.
Well if this doesn't just make my day! God bless you for all you do!
'a number of bloggers have been working to help a certain gentleman escape from a dangerous situation in Iran and find freedom. Our Iranian friend is now out of the country and in a safe location ...'