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Heard This Week - 01/24/2008

Heard This Week in Iran
on Radio Farda

Radio Farda Probes Student's Suspicious Death...

January 23 -- Radio Farda, the first Persian-language media [text in English] to report the death in custody last week of student Ebrahim Lotfollahi in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, aired a statement [text in Persian] calling for Lotfollahi's body to be exhumed and a full autopsy to be completed. During a January 19 interview with Radio Farda [text in Persian], the London director of Human Rights Watch said Iranian officials must investigate the suspicious deaths in custody of both Lotfollahi and Zahra Bani-Yaghoub, adding that "any officials found to be responsible... should be held accountable."

...Airs Exclusive Interview with Freed French-Iranian Filmmaker...

January 22 -- In her first interview following her January 18 departure from Iran [text in Persian / in English], French-Iranian filmmaker Mehrnoush Solouki discussed with Radio Farda the 11 months she spent in Iran as a virtual prisoner. Said Solouki of Evin Prison, where she was jailed for one month, "I never thought there could be a place in the world with so many students, intellectuals, writers and women's rights activists held in prison."

...Interviews Teacher's Activist Facing Prison...

January 18 -- Teacher's union leader Ali-Reza Hashemi, whose 3 year prison sentence for participating in a rally at Iran's Parliament was affirmed by an appeals court, told Radio Farda [text in Persian] such sentences will not keep teachers from demanding their rights.

...Examines 'Sword of Damocles' Over Student Activists...

January 17 -- Prominent human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani told Radio Farda that all students--religious or secular--who have criticized the government over the past two years have been arrested [text in Persian]. The arrests are a "sword of Damocles for students" aimed at preventing future protests, according to Soltani.

...Exposes Abuse of Political Prisoners

January 18 -- The wife of a prisoner held at Gohardasht prison--known as a "place of exile for political prisoners"--told Radio Farda [audio in Persian] that officials are beating prisoners who protest poor conditions at the prison, including the denial of heat. An activist told Radio Farda that two prisoners have sewn their lips together in protest.

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