Six months ago, the people of Iran started their protests against the election results and the election fraud by the authoritarian regime. You can read more about the so-called Twitter-revolution here, and view some photographs of the events here. If you’re interested in my personal perspective on these events, you can peruse my blog posts of 6 months ago (here, here, here and here). Some new stories and events:
Some news about Neda Agha-Soltan, the most famous victim of the repression:
Caspian [her boyfriend] has lost not only the woman he was planning to marry, but also his country, his family, his friends and his career. Anyone and everyone who had anything to do with Neda’s death are now toxic to the Iranian government. Members of her family have been bullied, threatened and even detained. The doctor who is caught on camera trying to save her life is now exiled in Britain. The music teacher who was with her when she died has been rolled out on Iranian television, patently required to deny what he saw: that Neda was shot by a member of the religious militia.
And Caspian disappeared. In the days after her killing, he spoke out on foreign satellite stations and then vanished. Finally it was confirmed he was in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran – the frightening symbol of the Shah’s oppressive regime smoothly transferred into the hands of the Islamic Republic’s secret police. He was held for more than two months, some of that time in solitary confinement. In September he was released on bail pending trial – perhaps being prepared for one of the extraordinary show trials that have been broadcast on Iranian TV over the past months, in which leading supporters of the opposition have been obliged to recant their actions. Urged on by family and friends, Caspian decided he had to escape. (source)
As the internet, and especially Twitter, played an important role in the protests, the Iranian regime has stepped up its efforts to “regulate” the internet, undoubtedly following the example of China:
[The regime] has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. (source)
In the end, however, these moves may be futile. The ‘police unit’ to monitor the Internet has only 12 people. Satellite TV has been illegal for years in Iran, and yet by the regime’s own account 40% of households have access to it, twice as many as last year. There are occasional crack downs that try to clear satellite dishes from everyone’s rooftop, but they always go back up eventually. (source)
And something really petty:
Iranian authorities confiscated Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi‘s medal, the human rights lawyer said Thursday, in a sign of the increasingly drastic steps Tehran is taking against any dissent.
In Norway, where the peace prize is awarded, the government said the confiscation of the gold medal was a shocking first in the history of the 108-year-old prize. Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts in promoting democracy. She has long faced harassment from Iranian authorities for her activities – including threats against her relatives and a raid on her office last year in which files were confiscated. (source)