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Heard In Iran: Protests Over Closing of Reformist Newspaper

Iranians Protest Closing of Reformist Newspaper

August 17 -- Demonstrators chanted "Death to the dictator" outside the offices of the shuttered daily newspaper Etemad-e Melli (National Trust) as police and security forces beat the crowd with batons to disperse them. The reformist paper was closed the day it planned to print an interview with its owner, recent presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi, responding to criticism levied at him by clerics at Friday Prayers, a member of Karrubi's campaign told Radio Farda. Karrubi has drawn criticism for his allegation that several demonstrators arrested during post-election protests have been raped in prison. [listen in Farsi / read in English]

Former Detainees: Iran Has History of Prison Rape

August 16 -- Journalist Fereshteh Ghazi told Radio Farda she was repeatedly threatened with rape in 2004 after being arrested for contributing to reformist Internet sites. "The threat of rape is a kind of rape itself," she told Farda's weekly women's magazine, "The Other Voice." "The interrogators kept telling me they would rape me in front of my husband, she said." Ghazi said she discussed the threats with Iranian authorities, who deny that rapes take place in Iran's prisons. [read in Farsi]

Soudabeh Ardavan, a former political prisoner who survived the mass executions in Iranian prisons in 1988, told Radio Farda that rape in Iran's prisons is nothing new. "During the 1980s, young female political prisoners were raped before being executed because authorities thought that if a woman dies a virgin, she will go to heaven," she said. [read in Farsi]

No Medical Help for Jailed Journalist

August 16 -- A lawyer representing noted journalist Isa Saharkhiz said his client was beaten in jail and is still being held in solitary confinement. She said he has been denied medical treatment for broken ribs suffered during his arrest. [read in Farsi]

Iran Appoints New Judiciary Chief

August 17 -- A Tehran-based lawyer weighed in on the appointment of Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani as head of Iran's judiciary on Radio Farda's weekly roundtable, "Viewpoints." "As long as the judges' political positions interfere with their verdicts, which has become common since the 1979 revolution in Iran, changing a judiciary chief will not bring about any change in the judiciary system in this country," the lawyer said. [read in Farsi]