LAWYER MEHRANGUIZ KAAR AND PUBLISHER SHAHLA LAHIJI JAILED
By Safa Haeri
PARIS 30TH Apr. (IPS) Prominent Iranian secularist lawyer, Mrs. Mehranguis Kaar and independent Publisher Shahla Lahiji were detained Saturday by the Islamic Revolution Court, her husband, Mr. Siamak Pourzand, confirmed.
Speaking to the Iran Press Service that contacted him from Paris by telephone, Mr. Siamak Pourzand said his wife went to the Court at eight in the morning alongside Mrs. Lajiji after being summoned by the Revolutionary tribunal, but then they went sent to prison at the end of an interrogation behind closed doors that last until four in afternoon.
"They were at the court until four, then I received a short call from Mehranguiz informing me that she was sentenced to prison", Mr. Pourzand said in a choked and tired voice.
Both women were among the 17-member delegation of pro-reform Iranian journalists, scholars, intellectuals, political analysts and a cleric who attended a conference organised early this month in Berlin by the Henirich-Boll Cultural Institute to debate the aftermath of last February parliamentary elections in Iran.
The conference was largely disrupted by leftist demonstrators who prevented the guests to speak with continued and loud shouts of "death to Islamic Republic" and insults against the participants. Demonstrators also created attraction with an Iranian actress who took off her clothes except her slip, bra and a black scarf, a man who climbed over the chairs completely nude and another women performing a sexy Iranian dance.
All the seventeen participants were summoned by the Islamic Revolution Court after the Television that is directly controlled by the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, in a deliberate and pre-planned move, screened scenes of the exhibition and dancing, anti-regime slogans as well as passage of some of the speakers critical to the present theocratic system.
All senior radical clerical personalities, led by the leader himself, denounced the Berlin meeting as a "US-led plot" against the Islamic Republic and Islam and accused the participants of "collaboration with counter-revolutionaries, activity and propaganda against the security of the Islamic State.
In her remarks to the Berlin Conference, Mrs. Kaar expressed pessimism concerning the situation of Iranian women under present theocratic regime and regretted that though women voted massively for Mr. Khatami, yet he failed to present the Majles "one single law" in their favour.
As for Mrs. Lahiji, she noted that censorship continues "unabated". "No matter than one cut one centimetre and another two metres, censorship is censorship", she observed.
Mr. Akbar Ganji, the leading investigative journalist and scholar and Islamic reformer and philosopher Hojatoleslam Hasan Yusefi-Eshkevari where the ones the conservatives singled out most loudly, some of them going as far as calling to defrocking the dissident cleric.
Editor Hamid Reza Jala'ipour, whose newspaper was one of the 16 dailies and publications that the Islamic Judiciary closed on orders from Mr. Khameneh'i, student leader Ali Afshari, Ezzatollah Sahhabi, Editor of Iran Farda, also closed, and Mrs. Jamileh Kadivar, an MP-elect from Tehran and the wife of the embattled Islamic Guidance Minister arrived at the court for closed-door interrogation.
Sources from Tehran said Mr. Sahhabi and Mr. Jala'ipour were latter released on bail but Mr. Afshari, a students leader with the Office of Consolidating Unity was jailed and there was no news about Mrs. Kadivar.
Though reformists, including the President, have called for the full screening of the Berlin, but informed sources said the Iranian TV has filmed only the most provocative scenes of the event.
Despite the anger the recent anti-reformists measures has created among the public, particularly the students, but calls by the President, editors and students leaders to preserve calm and order has been largely heard.
Analysts strongly believe that the aim of the conservatives, particularly the leader and his mentor, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani by shutting down the reformist press and jailing outspoken journalists is to prevent the next Majles that is dominated by pro-presidential candidates from taking office by creating disturbances in order to proclaim a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary announced Sunday that it had reduced from execution to 15 years imprisonment the sentences of four students arrested during last July's student's unrest.
The communiqué named Mehrdad Sohrabi, Ahmad Batebi (the students who's picture holding a bloody T-shirt of a wounded friend made front page of international press) Abbas Deldar and Akbar Mohammad, the brother of Manouchehr Mohammadi, the imprisoned leader of the Association of Nationalist Iranian Students. ENDS KAAR DETAINED 30400