Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Foreign Policy: Iranian student leaders arrested on riots anniversary after blasting regime

This from AFP:

Three leading Iranian student activists were arrested minutes after holding a press conference to blast the Islamic regime for banning events marking the fourth anniversary of bloody student clashes with security forces.

The arrests were made after activists from the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU) -- a pro-reform student umbrella group -- said President Mohammad Khatami had failed in his drive for reforms and alleged the hardline-controlled judiciary was trying to prevent freedom of thought.

"Since we believe that Khatami's reforms have come to an end, we wanted to stage a sit-in opposite the UN," the OCU's Reza Ameri-Nassab said moments before he was arrested, adding the gathering was postponed on the advice of supportive MPs.

"But it is not forgotten... our demands are for the immediate release of our eight fellow students from the OCU (arrested during unrest last month) as well as those spelled out in our open letter to Kofi Annan (news - web sites)," he said.

On Tuesday, the OCU wrote to the UN secretary general, denouncing what it said was a "dark chapter" in Iran's history and a "political and social apartheid" that it argued deserved UN investigation.

Ameri-Nassab also said his group had no confidence in Iran's judiciary -- controlled by religious hardliners -- because the institution "is trying to eradicate all sources of independent thought."
I looked up the Iranian constitution--check out these gems:

Article 26 [Freedom of Association]
The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations, as well as religious societies, whether Islamic or pertaining to one of the recognized religious minorities, is permitted provided they do not violate the principles of independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic Republic. No one may be prevented from participating in the aforementioned groups, or be compelled to participate in them.

Article 27 [Freedom of Assembly]
Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.
Indeed. The students seem willing to lay it all on the line to win their freedom from the principles of Islam. I hope they don't have too.

No comments: