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Heard This Week - 01/17/2008

Heard Tis week in Iran
on Radio Farda

Radio Farda Covers Expanding Crackdown on Students...

January 16 -- Radio Farda interviewed [text in Persian] a lawyer representing ten members of the Freedom and Equality students' group, who were arrested on January 14 by Intelligence Ministry agents, who said the bail set for their release, approx. US$108.000, cannot be paid by the students' families. On January 10, a lawyer representing group members arrested in December 2007 said [audio in Persian] the students were not asked their names when they were detained, much less told of the charges they face. The mother of one detainee, Ali Kalaee told Radio Farda on January 12 [text in Persian] she has no idea whether "he is dead or alive."
On January 15, two student activists interviewed by Radio Farda [audio in Persian] said 30 students have been arrested and 60 summoned before university disciplinary boards in the last 6 months. They linked the intensified pressure on students to the upcoming parliamentary "election show."

...Reveals Arrest of Kurdish Activist, Family...

January 10 -- A human rights activist reported to Radio Farda [audio in Persian] that police and intelligence forces raided the house of Kurdish civic activist Ahmad Javaheri, beat him and arrested him, his wife and his 18-year-old and 2-year-old daughters; their whereabouts and the charges they face are unknown.

...Publicizes Amnesty International Statement on Stoning...

January 15 -- Radio Farda interviewed a researcher at Amnesty International [text in Persian], which has called on Iran to abolish the practice of death by stoning: "in our view, according to most rights activists and undoubtedly, based on international law regarding human rights, stoning is a form of torture."

...Analyzes Fairness of Upcoming Iranian Parliamentary Elections

January 11 -- Georgetown University professor Mehrdad Mashayekhi, Tehran-based journalist Abbas Safaeifar and former Iran Election Headquarters head Mashallah Abbaszadeh debated possible threats to the fairness of the March 14 parliamentary elections on Radio Farda's weekly roundtable program, "Viewpoints" [audio in Persian].

RFE/RL Analysis

Detained Student Dies Under 'Suspicious' Circumstances

January 18 -- In an exclusive report, Radio Farda talks to the family of Ebrahim Lotfollahi, a student detained in the city of Sanandaj in early January, who died in prison under circumstances described as "suspicious." Prison officials claim Lotfollahi committed suicide; his family was not allowed to see the young man's body before it was buried and the grave covered with cement.

Turkmenistan/Iran: Good Relations Take Turn For The Worse

January 15 -- RFE/RL analyzes the rupture in generally-close relations between Iran and neighboring Turkmenistan, over a range of issues including gas, electricity, fishing rights, and water sharing, as well as sensitivities surrounding northern Iran's 3 million ethnic Turkmen.

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