Iran Special: The Week in Civil Society, from Arresting Mountain Climbers to Strangling the Internet (Arseh Sevom)
Police display confiscated satellite dishes
Arseh Sevom, the non-government organisation promoting civil society in Iran, has started a weekly review of developments in the country --- this inaugural article covers 19-25 February. Read the full entry or jump to an individual item:
Hunger Strikes and Heresy: Prisoners of Conscience in Danger
Opposition Calls for Voters to Stay Home
The Call for Free and Fair Elections
Jammin’ and Jammin’ and Jammin’… Jam No More
Coming to Your TV: Iran’s Outrageous Confession Videos
Strangling the Internet
More Pressure on the Baha’i
Sixty Percent of Workers Under the Poverty Line
More Limitations on Who Can Stand for Office: If Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva were Iranian he Wouldn’t be Allowed to Run
Publishers Come Under Scrutiny: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself”
How can we not start with a great big congratulations to Asghar Farhadi, the director of A Separation, for his historic Oscar win? Congratulations!
Arseh Sevom also notes that Sunday, February 26, marked Lawyer’s Day in Iran. With dozens arrested, persecuted, and imprisoned for their work defending the rights of others, being a lawyer in Iran can be hazardous. Arseh Sevom salutes those lawyers who have so bravely stood up for the rights of others. (Details of the harassment of lawyers can be found here.)
In the lead up to parliamentary elections in Iran, there is increased pressure on civil society. Mountain climbers have been arrested in Sanandaj, publishers are being scrutinized, and prisoners of conscience challenge their detention.
With less than a week left before the elections, the mood domestically and internationally is becoming more hawkish and militaristic. On election day, March 2nd, 85,000 members of the Basij militia will be dispatched to the streets. This is all being played out amidst worldwide speculations of an imminent attack on Iran.