Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Engineering Silence

با سلام به خوانندگان من. شده است بیش از حد طولانی

Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and lawyer, Houtan Kian (purportedly*)
International Committee Against Stoning

The Iranian political machine continues its charge for gagged and bound justice. Sunday, Sakineh Ashtiani's son, Sajjad, her current attorney Houtan Kian and a German photographer and journalist, were arrested in Tabriz. The Germans, reportedly working for Bild am Sonntag, were in contact with dissident Mina Ahadi of the International Committee Against Stoning immediately prior to their arrest. 

Bloggers and protesters across the world won't let Ahmadinejad get away with the campaign to executel Sakineh and to silence her son and attorney in their fight to prevent her execution. People all around the world are watching. And no one is fooled by arrests claiming that improper press credentials are the problem.

Sakineh Posters in Italy

The arrests of the German reporters is not the only attempt to silence reports getting out to the West about Sakineh's plight. According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, their Iranian based reporter Angeles Espinosa had her residency permit canceled abruptly Monday, after having reported from Tehran for the past five years, even throughout the Green Revolution. Espinosa, who's passport was detained back in July after she interviewed Ahmad Montazeri, son of the late dissident cleric Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, who had been a staunch advocate of Baha'i rights, women's rights and in general, civil rights, within an Islamic state. Montazeri was an outspoken critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Iran may try to clamp down on the lines of communication to the outside world but I doubt they'll succeed. They didn't during the election of 2009, after all. 

What is worrisome is what they're willing to do to try to engineer silence so that they can continue to wrong their own citizens, who clearly want freedom of expression. I fear for the welfare of Sakineh's children and her brave attorney. Keeping their name high profile, like hers, may well be what keeps them safe. After all, even if you scrub someone's name from Google's search engines within your own borders, you can't stop people from knowing what they know. Right China?

*Full size enlargement of this photo of Sajjad and Houtan appears to indicate that they have been superimposed on the bookcase backdrop. Since it's the only photo of Sajjad, that's what we're going with, okay?

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

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