[fund] persecution of opposition

In an Amnesty International document a number of key human rights challenges are described that must be effectively addressed to ensure concrete improvements in the situation of human rights across Iran. These include discrimination against women and minorities in law and practice, as well as entrenched failings in the administration of justice leading to arbitrary arrest, torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful killings, restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, unfair trial, and the death penalty and other cruel punishments.

How can a photographer defame her country? Uzbekistan tried to answer that question this week in a slander trial that harked back to the days of Soviet censorship. The answer, in part: by showing people with sour expressions or bowed heads, children in ragged clothing, old people begging for change or other images so dreary that, according to a panel of experts convened by the prosecutors, “a foreigner unfamiliar with Uzbekistan will conclude that this is a country where people live in the Middle Ages.” Umida Akhmedova, a photographer and documentary filmmaker, was found guilty on Wednesday of slandering and insulting the Uzbek people, in a case that has stirred outrage in artistic circles throughout the region. Though the charges carried a prison sentence of up to three years, the judge waived the penalties, saying that Ms. Akhmedova had been granted an amnesty in honor of the 18th anniversary of Uzbek independence. Update on Uzbekistan: Ahmedova charged with defamation against Uzbek nation

Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture, By Shadi Sadr: When I was sitting in an interrogation room, with my face to the wall, my eyes covered with a blindfold and my body with a chador, I never imagined that one day I would be at the United Nation Headquarters giving my testimony about this very day. So, I am very glad that I have the chance to be here, especially when many other political prisoners are still locked up inside the prisons or, even among those who were released, have to remain silent and neutralized out of fear. Let me start with my own experience, which is just one example of the many human rights violations that have occurred in Iran since the July 2009 Presidential Election.

Dans la matinée du lundi 8 Février, 3 heures, heure locale, Maryam Ghanbari, a 27 ans, avocat et ancien membre actif de Meydaan Field (Femmes), a été arrêté à son domicile de Téhéran par cinq agents de sécurité iraniens, selon son avocat, Mina Jafari. L'emplacement dans lequel Mme Ghanbari a été prise et où elle est actuellement détenu est inconnu, ainsi que toute inculpation formelle, elle pourrait être confrontée.

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers is deeply concerned at reports (The Guardian, 1st Feb 2010) that a 15-year-old girl, a Turkish Kurd, named Berivan, has been jailed in Turkey for nearly eight years after being convicted of "terrorist" offences. She was arrested at a demonstration in the south-eastern city of Batman in October 2009. The 13-and-a-half-year sentence originally imposed on her was later reduced on appeal to seven years and nine months because of her age. She was found guilty of "crimes on behalf of an illegal organisation" after prosecutors alleged she had hurled stones and shouted slogans. She was also convicted of attending "meetings and demonstrations in opposition to the law" and "spreading propaganda for an illegal organisation". There are substantial concerns as to the fairness of her trial and conviction.

On the morning of Monday 8 February, 3am local time, Maryam Ghanbari, a 27 years-old lawyer and an active member of Meydaan (Women’s Field), was arrested at her home in Tehran by five Iranian security officers, according to her lawyer, Mina Jafari. The location to which Ms. Ghanbari was taken and where she is currently being held is unknown, as well as any formal charges she might be facing.

A British national has begged forgiveness from an Iranian revolutionary court after being put on trial in Tehran for subversive activities, Iranian websites reported yesterday. An unidentified woman, 24, the daughter of a British mother and Iranian father, has admitted some of the charges against her including encouraging and attending demonstrations, consorting with foreigners and drinking alcohol, government and opposition websites said.

PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN: Open Letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown: We, the undersigned, call on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to use all available diplomatic means to bring an immediate end to the repression of Kurdish politicians in Turkey and to promote a political and negotiated solution to the Kurdish conflict. The mass arrest of some 80 leading members of the new Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that took place in Turkey on Christmas Eve is a deeply disturbing development that can only have grave consequences for the country’s future peace and stability. The action followed the banning of the popular pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on 11 December by Turkey’s Constitutional Court.

Human rights defender Ms Shiva Nazarahari and six other members of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), Mr Kouhyar Goudarzi, Mr Saeed Kalanaki, Mr Mehrdad Rahimi, Ms Parisa Kakaie, Mr Saeed Haeri and Mr Saeed Jalalifar are being pressurized to falsely confess that the CHRR is affiliated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). Affiliation with the MKO is considered a very serious crime in Iran which carries a possible sentence of execution. Front Line previously sent an appeal in relation to Shiva Nazarahari on 23 June 2009 and in relation to Parisa Kakaie on 5 November 2009.

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