Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tom Janssen

Ruben L. Oppenheimer
"Hanging someone with a royal decoration? We don't do that in Iran!" "No, we use a rope."

Joep Bertrams: Iranian Justice

In May 2006 Faleh Abdoullah al-Mansouri, president of the Ahwazi Liberation Organisation (ALO), which aims at independence for an Arab minority in the Khuzestan province in Iran, was arrested in Syria. A few days later he was handed over to the Iranians. His case would probably not have attracted much attention if he had not been ( in addition to his Iranian citizenship, if I am not mistaken ) a Dutch citizen ( who received a royal decoration for his work on human rights ) and an active member of Amnesty International in Maastricht. Last week there were persistent rumors that Al-Mansouri was sentenced to death and that his execution was imminent. This led to protests which united political groups and individuals who hardly ever agree on anything. Each of those protesters had his or her own reasons for showing support for Al-Mansouri or opposition to the regime in Teheran. I saw rightwing populist Geert Wilders standing next to members of the leftwing populist Socialist Party, and I also saw a show of support for Al-Mansouri and Ahwazi independence, as well as for Iran, on the website of the anti-Semitic Arab European League. I particularly was impressed with the way in which the latter explained its stance on the issue: "Al Ahwaz is part of the Arab world [...] Iran is an ally in the important struggle against the imperialist project of America and Israel and therefore has our support and dedication. We struggle of al-Ahwaz and the behavior of the Iranians we criticize as friends. During the essential struggle in the Arab and the Muslim world against a ruthless enemy it is important that we keep the ranks closed. [...] Only the neocolonial project profits from Al-Mansouri's death sentence. [...] Weakening Iran is a bloodletting/drain for our struggle in the whole Arab world." Clearly the AEL gets the meanings of Arab and Muslim mixed up.

Anyway, the Iranians have denied that Mansouri was sentenced to death. It is not known where he is held, since his arrest neither his family nor the Dutch authorities have had contact with him. As soon as rumors about his imminent execution started three Dutch cartoonists expressed their views on the justice system in Iran. These excellent cartoons were the main reason for this posting.

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