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Heard This Week - 07/12/2007

Heard in Iran This Week
on Radio Farda

(Washington, DC -- July 12, 2007) Radio Farda provided breaking news coverage of the arrest of prominent Iranian trade union leader Mansour Osanlou, the arrest and harassment of student opposition leaders, and the outcry that arose from the imposition of a judicial sentence of death of an adulterer by stoning.

� Radio Farda reported that eyewitnesses saw the president of the Syndicate (Union) of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company, Mansour Osanlou be pulled from a bus and abducted on July 10 after he was assaulted and called a "thug" by men in civilian clothes. Syndicate Deputy Director Ebrahim Madadi told Radio Farda shortly after the incident that, "In the continuation of our search we -- Osanlou's wife, brother, and I -- went to the Narmak police station and from there we went to the public safety police and to a revolutionary court on Moalem Street. Unfortunately we didn't obtain any news [about Osanlou]." Terming the arrest illegal, Osanlou's lawyer Yusef Molaei told Radio Farda Osanlou's arrest was illegal. Radio Farda also reported that the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) have called for Osanlou's unconditional and immediate release (

* On July 7, Radio Farda aired an interview with Ali Nikunesbati, a member of the central council of Office to Foster Unity (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), the largest student organization in Iran. Nikunesbati told Radio Farda that the recent wave of violence against students is evidence the authorities want to prevent any commemorations on July 8 of the 1999 "18 Tir" student demonstrations. Nikunesbati told listeners that as pressure increases on the Iranian government, government critics -- including those in the press -- find themselves under increased pressure as well. Nikunesbati also noted that 60 days have passed since students at Tehran's Amir Kabir University were arrested -- and they still have no access to legal representation, and have been subjected to sleep deprivation and other forms of physical intimidation: "They have been under serious psychological pressures to confess to what they have not done and this is deplorable."

* The next day, July 8, Radio Farda reported that six members of the central council of the Office to Foster Unity -- including Ali Nikunesbati -- were arrested during a commemoration of the "18 Tir" demonstrations. Other members of the council to be arrested were Mohammad Hashemi, Mehdi Arabshahi, Bahareh Hedayat, Hanif Yazdani and Ali Vafghi. Office to Foster Unity spokesman Abdollah Momeni told Radio Farda that the arrested students were holding a "symbolic sit-in" in front of Tehran's Amir Kabir University that was broken up by police and plainclothes agents. Shortly after this interview, Momeni himself was arrested, along with a number of other students, when police forces firing their weapons into the air broke into the organization's office.

* On July 10, Radio Farda reported that Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi confirmed that alleged adulterer Jafar Kiani had been stoned to death on July 5 in Takestan, Ghazvin province. Hi alleged partner, Mokarameh Ebrahimi, has also been sentenced to death by stoning, although the sentence has yet to be carried out, Jamshidi said. According to the Radio Farda report, Ebrahimi has been given a reprieve due to massive protests by women rights activists and human rights organizations.

* During an interview aired by Radio Farda on July 10, Abdolkarim Lahiji, the Vice President of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, emphasized to listeners the need for Iran to change its law allowing the use of Islamic punishments. Lahiji said that as long as this law allowing torture and savage executions remains a part of Iran's legal code, judicial authorities will be free to impose such sentences. Lahiji added that international organizations cannot prevent the Islamic Republic from enforcing sentences such as stoning without strong backing from diplomatic powers, such as those involved in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

For more on these and other stories about Iran, please visit: -- Radio Farda's Persian-language website -- "Focus on Farda" bi-weekly review -- "RFE/RL Iran Report" weekly analysis -- RFE/RL English-language coverage of Iran

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