Interview With Omid Ali Shenas’s Mother

Posted on: April 15th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Mother of Omid Ali Shenas,  civil activist who is in detention for  more than six months awaiting for his sentence to be issued, in an interview with HRANA, expressed her hope that his son would to be treated with “justice”.

Omid Ali Shenas, was arrested on 4th September, and was transferred to the ward 2A of IRGC, and despite a bail of 100 million Tomans was requested, unfortunately, primitive court and previously, prosecutors with unknown reasons refused to accept the bail. He was transferred to ward 8 of Evin prison, after his trial and is waiting for his sentence. (more…)


Untold Stories of Nasir Abad – Interview with Habibollah Sarbazi

Posted on: February 17th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Nasirabad is one of the villages in the county of Sarbaz located in the province of Sistan and Balouchestan (Rusk as its capital). This village become centre of attention of Human Rights Organisations after security forces raided the village and arrested 30 locals on 4:00 am, 04 January 2015.
Those arrested are from a wide range, from religious authorities to students and pupils. But what is the reason behind these arrests? (more…)


Untold Stories of Nasirabad- Interview with Mohammad Omar Mollazehi

Posted on: February 9th, 2015

HRANA News Agency – Nasirabad is one of the villages in the county of sarbaz located in the province of Sistan & Balouchestan (Rusk as its capital). This village become centre of attention of Human Rights Organisations after security forces raided the village and arrested 30 locals on 4:00 am, 04 January 2015.
Those arrested are from a wide range, from religious authorities to students and pupils. But what is the reason behind these arrests? (more…)


Interview with “Nastaran Naeemi” , the wife of “Soheil Arabi”

Posted on: December 14th, 2014

HRANA News Agency – During this month, the death sentence for Soheil Arabi , a Facebook Activist has been approved by the Supreme court on the charges of insulting the Prophet and Imams and his case is sent to the Enforcement Office.

HRANA News Agency has performed an interview in this regards with the wife of this death row prisoner which can be seen in the following: (more…)


Interview with Mahdi Farahi Shandiz, a political Prisoner

Posted on: December 1st, 2014

HRANA News Agency – Mahdi Farahi Shandiz is a Political Prisoner at Karaj Rajaee Shahr who has been subjected to less attention by media. During the prosecution he was denied the right to have lawyer and although he has served his sentence, his release from prison is denied based on new charges and allegations. Here is his interview with HRANA’s reporter: (more…)


Iranian Lesbian: We Are The Denied Identity | March 8 Interview

Posted on: March 7th, 2014

As a part of women’s community, the Iranian lesbian community faces problems twice more than other women in Iran. For 8 March, International Women’s Day, we have prepared an interview with an Iranian lesbian who is also active in LGBT rights.

 

*Please introduce yourself and give us a summary of your activities.

My name is Samira, an Iranian Lesbian. Because of lack of support by my family and other issues in the society, I was forced to leave Iran. I am a member of IRQO (Iranian Queer Organization), for now, I am active in LGBT issues and defending LGBT rights, doing researchers to finally improve the awareness of people with cooperation of my friends.

*Dear Samira, why you were forced to leave Iran? What were your problems in Iran? Was it the only solution to leave Iran?

As I mentioned, lack of support by family, problems in the society, by government and people, these are parts of issues that forced me to leave Iran. As you know, Iranian society is Masculism, and being a woman by itself, does not make you have enough civil rights, now imagine a woman who is a lesbian in this society. After many years of being aware of my orientation, I was forced to play a role, always I was forced to reject myself and wear a mask [of a woman who is not lesbian] in favor of my family and society. But it wasn’t me and my “real self” was oppressed. Regarding the last part of your question, I think abandoning and leaving is better than staying and sufferings in humiliation.

*Suppose the family as a small part of society, were you successful in educating your family about your desired issues? What was their reaction?

I tried in many ways, both directly and indirectly, by talking, showing documents, magazines and essays of homosexuals. But the reaction was always not to hear and pretending that this issue does not exist.

*Did you try to change the situation in favor of yourself in Iran? What was the reaction of street women to you?

Unfortunately no because of the fear of everything I couldn’t act or do any awareness in this issue. But I had some friends who I told them about it, they had a very bad reaction and even made me humiliated. But I tried to explain for them that I or any lesbian is not what you think. I always tried to behave like a homosexual, but the only result for me was depression.

*As an Iranian lesbian, how you explain the problems of this part of Iranian women’s society?

The government of Iran emphasizes the forbidding homosexuality by issuing severe sentences and punishments and also giving medical permission for sex-change to hide this issue in the society. In one sentence, we are always the denied identity. I have had [homosexual] friends who had faced misbehavior and discrimination such as being raped in custody, arrested in parties, deprived of education and work.

The punishment for lesbianism (Mosahegheh) involving persons, who are mature, of sound mind, and consenting, is 100 lashes. If the act is repeated three times and punishment is enforced each time, the death sentence will apply on the fourth occasion. (Articles 127, 129, 130) The ways of proving lesbianism in court are the same as for male homosexuality. (Article 128) Non-Muslim and Muslim alike are subject to punishment (Article 130) The rules for the quashing of sentences, or for pardoning, are the same as for the lesser male homosexual offences (Articles 132 and 133) Women who "stand naked under one cover without necessity" and are not relatives may receive a punishment less than 100 lashes. (Article 134) Iran's Islamic Penal Code

The punishment for lesbianism (Mosahegheh) involving persons, who are mature, of sound mind, and consenting, is 100 lashes. If the act is repeated three times and punishment is enforced each time, the death sentence will apply on the fourth occasion. (Articles 127, 129, 130) The ways of proving lesbianism in court are the same as for male homosexuality. (Article 128) Non-Muslim and Muslim alike are subject to punishment (Article 130) The rules for the quashing of sentences, or for pardoning, are the same as for the lesser male homosexual offences (Articles 132 and 133) Women who “stand naked under one cover without necessity” and are not relatives may receive a punishment less than 100 lashes. (Article 134)
Iran’s Islamic Penal Code

Our main problems are society and fear of government’s behavior [toward us], lack of freedom of expression and our friendly gatherings and parties can be punished by death penalty. Because of these, we have to hide our sex orientation.

*Have you been supported by international organizations? Basically, how is the connection to these organizations and what are the problems in this way?

Yes, there is an organization called IRQO, as I mentioned above. This organization is managed by Ms. Saghi Ghahreman. As I was entered Turkey, this organization took [the responsibility of] my [UNHCR] case and have done many efforts not only for me, but for many Iranian homosexual friends. Other homosexual friends can contact this organization via their website for help in their cases after they left Iran.

*Did you ever witness any confrontation of the government in this field? For example, do you know any Iranian lesbian being confronted by the government? And, how was the confrontation?

As I mentioned, the punishment for homosexuality is death sentence in Iran, and always this will be a Taboo for government, people and the society. Some time ago, I learned that one of my dear lesbian friends was arrested in Iran, for publishing some issues about homosexuality [on Facebook or blog]. It was many days that we didn’t hear from her, until we learned she had been arrested by Ettela’at (intelligent) agents and after being tortured and threatened for some time, she was released. This shows that our safety is in danger day by day. We don’t have any real psychological and physical safety, because there are no competent authorities to protect us.

*At the end, what is your message for Iranian lesbian community?

That is a good question; it’s better first I address all people, then my lesbian friends. We are homosexual, a human with all differences. We do not have many expectations. We understand that you cannot accept this issue completely, but try to respect our sensations and love. We didn’t choose to be a homosexual. And, my rainbow friends, we were very lucky to be homosexual. Our world is the world of rainbow people. Years ago, even nobody had heard the word homosexual, but in spite of all problems, now we have reached a point that the taboos are being broken little by little. And, this is the beginning of a way that we should be patient and continue with a hope for the freedom of our love.

 

Ayatollah Khomeini about Lesbianism (Mosahegheh) wrote: “The sex of two women is called Mosahegheh and the ways of proving this crime, are the same as for male homosexuality and the punishment for it is 100 lashes, if they are mature, of sound mind, and consenting. This punishment is the same for married women or single, but it is said if the married women has done Mosahegheh, her sentence is to be stoned, but the more correct is the first sentence (taking 100 lashes but, not to be stoned) and there is no difference between non-Muslim and Muslim and involving persons in punishment.” Ayatollah Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, V. 4, P. 201

Ayatollah Khomeini about Lesbianism (Mosahegheh) wrote: “The sex of two women is called Mosahegheh and the ways of proving this crime, are the same as for male homosexuality and the punishment for it is 100 lashes, if they are mature, of sound mind, and consenting. This punishment is the same for married women or single, but it is said if the married women has done Mosahegheh, her sentence is to be stoned, but the more correct is the first sentence (taking 100 lashes but, not to be stoned) and there is no difference between non-Muslim and Muslim and involving persons in punishment.”
Ayatollah Khomeini, Tahrir al-Wasilah, V. 4, P. 201

 

By: Mustafa Rahmani


We must speak up, speak out, and act

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013

Biographical Background

Mr. Rolf Gompertz was born in Krefeld, Germany, on December 29, 1927. During his childhood, he was faced with a harsh reality that being Jewish has made it very difficult for his family to have a normal life in Germany. Hitler had started a campaign to demonize the Jews and to spread the slogan that “Jews are our misfortune!” The Nazis banned and burned books, including Rolf’s family book, any book written by a Jew or about a Jew, and any book considered incompatible with the Nazi ideology. Soon Rolf could not socialize and play with his non-Jewish friends, and things got worse. Then on November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht—“Crystal Night” or the “Night of Broken Glass”–started against the Jews all over Germany and Austria. “Half a dozen Nazis, armed with rifles, stormed into our house and up the stairs in the middle of the night, “said Rolf.  “They wanted to lock is into the kitchen but my mother stopped them.   ‘No!  No!’ she shouted.  ‘We won’t be locked up!’ We ran away from them, through the rooms.  When my father got to his desk, he tore open a drawer, pulled out his Iron Cross, a Medal he had received for serving in the German Army during World War I, faced the Nazi leader, held up the Iron Cross and shouted, ‘Is this the thanks I get for having served the Fatherland?’ The two stood face to face for what seemed like an eternity.  Then the Nazi turned, signaled his men, led them down the stairs and out of the house, without breaking one dish.  Later, others came to take my father to a concentration camp, along with other Jewish men of the city.  He was at the doctor’s.  They never came back for him, and let him go.  30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps, synagogues were burned, 2500 Jews were killed in the camps.” Rolf was fortunate to come to America, arriving June 11, 1939. He was happy to have survived, but sad that millions didn’t. Rolf lost half of his family in Auschwitz and other death camps.  In America,  Rolf went to school and received a BA and MA in  English literature, served in the United States Army, worked as a newspaper editor and media relations practitioner, taught at a university, and published 5 books dealing with love. In 1987, he and other Jews from Krefeld were invited back by the city and  church groups. Half of the city’s Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. Rolf went back three times and delivered speeches, including one  on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, raising awareness about human rights and civil liberties, in hopes that such crimes never happen again.

Interview

 

Q. You are a Holocaust survivor and you know people who have lost their lives in the Holocaust. How did you feel when you heard Ahmadinejad deny Holocaust ever happened?

I was outraged.  I found Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust cruel and obscene.

I found that history was being repeated again. Mr. Ahmadinejad had no historical awareness or education, and yet one day he decided to deny the Holocaust to please a few radical groups and increase his popularity within the Arab countries. The Jewish community and especially those who have gone through so much during WW II were outraged. We especially did not expect this from the Iranian president, whose responsibility is to improve his country’s relations with the world and encourage peace. He is a representative of a country, and Iran is a great country with diverse and peace-loving people. How could he misrepresent his people like that?   Instead of sympathizing with the victims, he chose to use this as a political strategy. Denying the Holocaust has increased the pain of the victims and those who care about humanity around the world.

Q. Holocaust is not the first genocide in history, but a special attention is given to it. Can you tell us why?

There have been other murderous regimes in the world. But what sets this genocide apart, from all the others, past and present, was not only because it was aimed at a whole people – the Jewish people – but that it was conducted by a highly civilized country that prided itself on its culture and that it was carried out systematically using the most advanced, modern methods and technology. More importantly, this was a one-sided genocide based on ethnicity and religion. Jews in Germany were not an enemy in the battlefield, nor did they take arms against German soldiers. Therefore the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate them has been significant.

Q. Why do you think it is important that the people in the world and in Iran understand the truth about the Holocaust?

I hope they do. Of course years of propaganda and lack of access to independent books and media can hinder such knowledge. But lack of societal understanding can cause history to repeat itself. If the level of awareness is high, then such catastrophic events will not find support in the society. This is not only about the Jews, but about other ethnicities and minorities. Also, it is very important that people know not only that the Holocaust happened but how it happened, through tyrannical, power-mad leaders, who seduced the people of Germany with false promises and betrayed them through lies, and because the people, out of their personal and collective desperation,  wanted to believe the false promises and the lies.

Q. The Iranian regime makes an organized effort to spread hatred toward the Jewish minority. It destroys their holy places, controls the subjects of study and the schools for the kids, and prevents them from having government jobs and entering good schools. These and other organized persecutions have resulted in massive immigration. These are non-violent acts but can they end up in something catastrophic as the Holocaust? Or you think spreading awareness has been successful in curbing hatred? What is the result of spreading hatred in the society?

I disagree that these are “non-violent” acts.  Attempting to or destroying holy places is a violent act.  Denial of educational, occupational, and professional rights limiting economic and intellectual freedoms are violent economic and spiritual acts.  The famous German writer and poet, Heinrich Heine, saw all this coming in Germany.  He predicted the Nazi Holocaust 100 years in advance.  He declared, “They that start by burning books will end by burning men.” — Heirnich Heine(1707-1856), from his play “Almansor”. “Heinrich Heine predicted the Nazi Holocaust” © 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham

When the world can witness events such as the denial of the Holocaust, then you can not say that these atrocities will not happen again. Spreading hatred, even the non-violent type, will eventually lead to violence, even if it is only a word. There is a thin line between words and actions.

Q. Iranian Jews are not able to tell about the atrocities or violation of their rights. In such situations, what is the role of human rights organizations and how can they help?

rolfg2If you are a human rights activist or organization and you know that the Iranian Jews are under pressure are persecution, then do your humanitarian duty to make contact and create a bilateral relationship with them and stand on their side to resolve their issues.  Raising awareness, spreading the news, and non-violent actions will help them and will improve the situation of the minorities in Iran.

November 9, 2008, the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass. I wrote and said at the time: “Isn’t this ancient history? I wish to God it were!”

But genocides are still with us, all over the world, threats to and violations of human rights and civil liberties are still with us, here, and all over the world. Jews, too, are targeted again, In vile and shameless ways, for hatred, defamation, and death.

We must speak up, speak out, and act.  This was a lesson learned the hard way by Martin Niemoeller.*

He was a famous German U-boat commander, a hero of World War I, an ardent admirer and follower of Hitler in the 1920’s, Niemoeller became a Protestant pastor but Hitler had great plans for him.

In 1933, Hitler came to power. By 1934, Pastor Niemoeller realized the big mistake he had made in supporting Hitler. By then, he started to preach against him and the Nazis. By 1937, Hitler had had enough. He had Niemoeller arrested, tried for “Abuse of the pulpit,” and “crimes against the state,” and sent to concentration camps, one after the other. Niemoeller survived.

After the war, whenever he spoke of these matters, he said:

rolfg1

“They came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak out, Because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the social democrats, and I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t a social democrat. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me, and, by that time, no one was left to speak out.”

Niemoeller has given us the answer. We must speak up, speak out, and act, in whatever ways we can, small or large. We must speak up against genocide, for human rights and civil liberties, especially on behalf of individuals and groups who are different from us. We must do so for their sake, and we must do so ultimately for the sake of our own souls.

Q. Do you have a message for the Iranian people and activists?

My message to the Iranian people is that please try to overcome the hardships imposed on you by this regime, and increase awareness about human rights and the rights of the minorities living in Iran. Study history to learn the importance of peace, and become an example for other nations and countries in the Middle East. Your great history and glorious civilization makes you a unique and special nation and you can rise above the hardships by advancing in the culture of tolerance and peace. I see a bright future for Iran and its wonderful people.

I end with this verse of Torah:

Praised are you, O Lord, our God,

God of the universe, who has kept us in life,

Preserved us,

And enabled us to reach this time!     

Schalom.

Interviws by Poya Jahandar


UN Experts Condemn Hanging of 17-year-old Alireza Molla Soltani

Posted on: March 17th, 2013

GENEVA – Four United Nations experts* condemned the public execution by hanging of 17-year-old Alireza Molla Soltani, which was carried out yesterday, and the ongoing practice by the Iranian authorities, of executing people charged with drug-related offenses.
(more…)


UN Special Rapporteur Requests Permission to Travel to Iran

Posted on: August 4th, 2011

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HRANA News Agency – Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who has been appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, has appealed for permission to travel to Iran to conduct his duties. The official request of Dr. Shaheed, former Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Maldives has come weeks after Iran refused to let him enter the country.

Iran had refused to accept Dr. Shaheed’s appointment as the government of Iran believed him to have been an agent employed by Western powers to fulfill their agendas. However, Iran said that they would welcome Dr. Shaheed in his own personal capacity. (more…)