Monday, August 31, 2009

Saeedeh Pour-Aghai: Another case of rape and murder?

Unconfirmed reports of the rape and murder of another female protester, Saeedeh Pour-Aghai, are emerging from two sources.

Mowjeh Sabzeh Azadi, an opposition news site, reports that Pour-Aghai has been buried in an anonymous grave in section 302 of Behesht Zahra cemetery. According to this news site, Pour-Aghai was arrested as she was chanting Allaho-Akbar from her rooftop in Dolat Street, Tehran. Mowjeh Sabz continues, "After 20 days, her mother identified her corpse at a cold storage facility in southern Tehran. Authorities refused to release Pour-Aghai's body to her mother. Weeks later, her family learned that her body was in section 302 of Behseht Zahra."

Norooz first broke the story of dozens of anonymous graves in section 302 of Behesht Zahra cemetery last week. Video footage and additional corroborating information has been published since.

Mowjeh Sabzeh Azadi continues, "Pour-Aghai's family decided to speak out despite severe pressure to keep silent. She was savagely raped, then murdered. Her body was doused with acid to hide evidence. Pour-Aghai's family was told she had died from a severe kidney ailment."

Saeedeh Pour-Aghai's funeral service was held at Gholhak mosque, in her neighborhood, on Saturday 29 August.

Mowjeh Sabzeh Azadi went on to say that new information indicates that most who were buried anonymously in section 302 were women who had been raped. This news service also claims it has learned of a mass grave near Behesht Zahra. Mowjeh Sabzeh Azadi says that details of these last two points will be published on their web site after they have been confirmed.

Mowjeh Sabz's article includes a leaflet with Pour-Aghai's photo from her funeral service.

Later yesterday afternoon (Aug 30), Parleman News, the web site of the Imam Line Faction of the Majlis, published a relevant note. Parleman News explained that Pour-Aghai's father died two years ago from the protracted effects of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War. "[Martyr Abbas Pour-Aghai] had defended the honor of the Iranian nation over the 8 years of the war. He had hoped that we would defend his honor after he had passed away. He had left his wife and young daughter in our hands. What did we do?," wrote Parleman News.

The Imam Line Faction site went on to say, "Saeedeh's funeral service, if you could call it that, took place yesterday [Saturday 29 Aug]. Her mother, a few relatives, and Mir Hossein Moussavi were the only ones in that grief-ridden service. Saeedeh was neither an overthrower, nor a velveteer. She was simply chanting Allaho-Akbar until three women and two men came and took her away forever that night. Her mother sought Saeedeh unsuccessfully, until a relative close to the government guided her to an industrial cold storage facility where she embraced her child's black and frozen body. Why was there nothing left of that youthful joy and enthusiasm? Yesterday, everyone wept."

Parleman News's note can be found here

Khamenei sees threat in human sciences

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced concern that over two million Iranians study human sciences, saying that such fields encourage secularism. Khamenei made the remarks on Sunday 30 August in a speech to university heads and administrators.

Shiraz University president Mohammad Hadi Sadeghi said he would resign as soon as the new Higher Education Minister was confirmed. Sadeghi told Mehr news, "There is no proper understanding of universities in Iran. The job of running universities now encompasses too many unrelated responsibilities."

Sadeghi had already resigned from his post in June following attacks on university dormitories by security forces and vigilante groups after the election, but had accepted to return to work. Those attacks left at least seven people dead, according to the Office to Consolidate Unity student movement.

Mass protests planned for Ghods Day

Mehdi Karroubi confirmed that mass demonstrations are planned for Ghods Day, Friday 18 September.

As they did during a ceremony at Ghoba Mosque to commemorate Ayatollah Beheshti's martyrdom and Hashemi Rafsanjani's Friday prayer sermon in July, protesters are seeking to turn the tables on the regime again by attending a government-organized event.
Ghods Day or Jerusalem Day is marked every year to denounce Israel's control over Jerusalem. The Green Movement wants to take advantage of the official marching routes in cities throughout Iran.

In a statement to the central council of the Etemad Melli [National Trust] Party, Karroubi said, "
Don't mull over banned newspapers or web sites. Show you are continuing on your path with determination. By standing firm, these difficult days will soon pass."

He concluded, "You will once again see the people's power on Ghods Day."