Iran: Unknown people fire shots at opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s car
Published in German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” on January 8 2010
Source (German): http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2010-01/iran-karrubi
The situation for the opposition in Iran is getting more and more critical: Today, unknown persons fired shots at the car of Iran’s opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi.
The car of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was shot at by unknown people. According to information provided by Iranian opposition websites, the cleric was not hurt in the incident. Only the windows were damaged, since the car was armored.
Karroubi had intended to attend a mourning ceremony in the city of Qazvin in the West of Tehran. At first, about 500 members of the Basij militia together with citizens of close-by villages surrounded the house where Karroubi was staying. They threw rocks at the house, breaking windows. Four hours later the police eventually got involved and escorted the opposition leader out of the house. No official information about the incident was available at first.
The cleric Karroubi, who is the chairman of the party Etemad-e Melli (National Trust Party), is known as one of the harshest critics of Iran’s preisdent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and one of his rival reformist candidates in the presidential elections of 2005 and 2009. He accuses Ahmadinejad of rigging last summer’s elections and does not acknowledge his re-election.
New protesters put on trial at the Revolutionary Court
On Thursday, five protesters who were arrested during the recent protests against the government had to stand their trials. This was reported by news agency ISNA. The court in charge is the Revolutionary Court that deals with cases against the national security.
General prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei had announced on Monday that arrested protesters who used weapons during the demonstrations or insulted Islam and the leadership of the country will have to be regarded as “enemies of God”. Therefore, in case of their conviction they face death penalty.
According to official reports, 300 people were arrested during the protests on 27 December. The opposition reports more than 900. At least eight protesters were killed during clashes of police forces with supporters of the opposition movement in Tehran. The protests on the religious festival of Ashura were the severest since the beginning of the demonstrations against the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June that was overshadowed by allegations of electoral fraud.
Iranian translator of Hermann Hesse’s works arrested
Meanwhile, the German PEN condemned the arrest of the Iranian author and translator of Hermann Hesse’s works, Reza Najafi. The wave of terror has now seized “all those who do not yield to the delusional ideas of the Iranian regime”, says the writers’ union located in the German city of Darmstadt. Najafi, who is a bridge builder between German and Iranian literature, was detained on January 3rd, according to PEN. His wife, the writer and translator Parisa Rezai, and his young son are missing without evidence.
Apart from Hermann Hesse’s works, Najafi has introduced to Iranian readers works of authors like Günter Grass and Franz Kafka. He is “not a political activist, but a man of literature”, states PEN vice president Dirk Sager. Najafi as an author, translator and literary critic has always been defending the freedom of word, though. “The horror of persecution of all those who refuse to be instrumentalized as the regime’s propagandists is continuing”, it says in the declaration of PEN.
ZEIT ONLINE, dpa, Reuters, AFP