Monday, March 23, 2009

A blogger died in an Iranian prison

Our friend Hamid Tehrani has told us that Omid Reza Misayafi has died in prison in Iran. Omid was sentenced in December to two and a half years in prison for “insulting” Iranian religious leaders.
“(T)he reason for his death,” says Hamid, “has not been announced but he was in very bad psychological condition.”
Considering torture and other types of mistreatment are par for the course for free speech prisoners in Iranian prisons, Omid’s death may well have been a direct result of Iranian government actions. Considering the government usually places bloggers in prison with the most dangerous criminals, his death may only have been an indirect result. Either way, the men of the government of Iran and its prisons have a lot to answer for.
In the meantime, for what it’s worth, our heartfelt condolences go out to Omid’s family. They’ve killed one of us.

Turkey's 'religious foreign' policy.

The NAVO will decide on its summit of April 3 and 4, who their next secretary-general will be. Most NATO countries with heavy weights such as France, Germany, the UK and the USA support the Danish prime-minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The only country which complains about this possible appointment is Turkey. They accuse Rasmussen of an ‘objectionable’ approach to billions of Muslims and for his remarks in 2003 that Turkey never can be an EU country. What was his ‘sin’? He refused to apologize for the cartoons, which sparked riots and attacks on Danish embassies all over the world and speaking out against a Turkey in the EU, not in the Nato! How can a PM of a country be held resposanble for its independent press? Yes, Turkey doesnt know this phenomen of a truly independent press organ. And the NATO stands for a non-religieus North Atlantic Treaty Organization of democratic states, and the current government must know this.
But the Turkish quasi-democratic and religious government is likely to use its veto, as the only of its 26 members. Will this be seen as a ‘bow to Mecca’ or Turkish right on vetoing, based on religious’ motives? Turkey becomes religious and bigot in its foreign policy.

Day opening - March 23

Dawn over the Marmara sea, Istanbul.
Picture by Belgin Zeytin.