Children Learn Their Rights, Activists Under Pressure, Dogs Arrested

Narges Mohamadi, activist and deputy chair of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Center, was arrested on charges of “gathering information and colluding against national security, membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and acts of propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.

Narges Mohamadi’s husband, who had been a prisoner of conscience himself, was forced to leave the country. The imprisonment of Ms. Mohamadi leaves her two children without either parent at home.

Defenders of Human Rights Center – where Narges Mohamadi worked– was founded the Nobel Laureate, Shirin Ebadi.

Movin’ Out

Quds Online has posted the news of a property boom in neighboring Turkey fueled by Iranian buyers. Many Iranians are becoming wary of purchasing new homes inside Iran. According to Arseh Sevom sources in Iran, many are worried about “economic instability and the imminence of a war.” One businessman interviewed added, “It is not only Turkey, we are also checking out other places such as Armenia.”

Children in Juvenile Detention Learn Their Rights

Unicef reports on workshops held in Tehran’s Juvenile Correction and Rehabilitation Center designed to help children combat violence against them and understand and advocate for their rights. Through role-playing and discussion the children learn to deal with many of issues such as improper sexual advances in the workplace, child labor, and abusive family members.

The workshops, which are the result of the UN Secretary General’s 2006 report on violence against children, are led by peers rather than adult experts. Unicef reports:

“It makes a lot of difference when the trainer is a peer rather than an adult expert from outside,” said Zahara, the teen facilitator. ”When the girls see that someone like them – who has experienced living in the center – is training them on violence, they feel more comfortable talking about their experiences.”

International Tribunal, Mourning Mothers

Mansoureh Behkish, a supporter of the Mourning Mothers, was recently sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for “propaganda against the regime” and endangering “national security.” Her crime? Visiting the graves of loved ones. She told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

“I did not do anything illegal. I told my interrogators, too, that everyone is entitled to go to the grave site of whomever he or she chooses and the law has not set any limitations on this activity. It is my minimum citizenship right to choose whose grave I would visit, and I will not give up my minimum right. They know themselves that what I do is not against the law, but, unfortunately, they build cases against individuals in Iran,”

The graves Behkish was visiting were those of her sister and brothers, executed during the 1980s. In this video from December 2011, her 91-year old mother testifies about the executions (four sons, one son-in-law, and four sons). She asks why they were executed? Why hasn’t the UN done anything? Why has the UN not spoken out about the executions of her children? “We are Muslims. They are Muslims. If Muslims abuse us this much… then…?”

This testimony is now part of the “Iran Tribunal,” which is acting to bring attention to the mass executions of the 1980s. They plan to hold “court hearings” this coming June.

During the 1980s 20,000 dissidents disappeared in Iran. Five thousand of those 20,000 have been confirmed executed.

ICT Calls for Outsourcing to “Localize” the Internet

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