Leaving Islam



A Canadian Journalist is beaten to death in Iran.

And BBC reaches new low.    

By Ali Sina  

Kazemi, 54, an Iranian born freelance journalist from Canada, was arrested after taking photos outside a prison in Tehran on June 23.

She was then allegedly branded a spy and beaten into unconsciousness by police interrogators. One report said she had suffered a brain hemorrhage. The news of her death came to her family in Canada on Saturday. 

Friends who visited her in hospital Tuesday said she was unconscious, with severe cuts and bruises on her face and head. They said she had been given a 50-50 chance of survival. 

Zahra Kazemi was a Montreal based journalist and she had been authorized to take pictures of the recent student protests for the British agency Camera Press. Associated Press quoted a spokesman as saying she was detained while trying to photograph families of the arrested demonstrators outside Tehran's Evin prison. She was branded a spy and subsequently assaulted by her police interrogators.   

According to Iranian officials Zahra Kazemi was taking photo in "no photography zone " around Evin prison. In fact , she was taking photos from the arrested students' families outside the notorious prison. This was the crime for which she was arrested, interrogated and savagely beaten to death. Her body was black and blue from her beatings.

In her last email to her son, Kazemi described the anti-government student protests that engulfed the capital, sparking mass roundups and the detention of numerous journalists by security forces. "The country is living through nighttime upheavals that are ideal for photographers," Kazemi wrote. 

Canadian Foreign Affairs learned of the arrest on Monday, when Kazemi's mother contacted the Canadian embassy in Iran. 

At least 17 journalists and over 4000 demonstrators are believed to still be in custody following a security clampdown after the student protests. 

The Islamic Republic’s interrogation is always accompanied with beating. Videos showing 300-hour long police interrogation of several detainees were stolen from the office of the President Khatami and broadcasted last year through LA based Iranian televisions. The videos showed gruesome beatings of the prisoners and hitting their heads. The screaming of other prisoners being tortured in other rooms can be heard in the background. The interrogators worked for Mr. Khatami, the so-called reformist and the smiling president of the Islamic Republic. 

Iran's director of foreign press, Mohammad Hoseyn Khoshvaqt, an official in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and an ally of Mr. Khatami said Ms Kazemi died on Friday night as a result of a brain stroke.  

Officials said she began to “feel ill” while under interrogation on 26 June, and was immediately taken to Baghiatollah Azam hospital where she suffered a stroke.  

A Canadian foreign affairs spokesman said consular officials visited Ms Kazemi twice in hospital, but were only allowed to see her through a window. Obviously the Iranian officials did not want the Canadians see the cuts and bruises on Kazemi’s body.  

Savagely beating the detainees is a common practice for the regime of Mullahs. No one is detained in Iran for political reasons without being beaten during the interrogation. If the prisoner dies under these sever beatings the official version of the Iranian government is always that they died with natural death. One must be truly gullible to believe that a healthy 54-year-old woman who is doing her job taking photographs suddenly goes into comma and dies when interrogated by police and mysteriously cuts and bruises appear on her body. The Islamic Republic has also earned the distinction of having the greatest number of political prisoners. Tens of thousands of Iranians have been systematically executed by the Islamic regime for their political views and accused of drug trafficking, theft, spying or other unrelated charges.  

The Family members and a press freedom advocacy group are demanding an independent investigation into the death of a Quebec-based photographer.   

The Iranian government's version of events is "just not enough," said the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, calling on Canada, other governments and the UN to apply diplomatic pressure on Iran for the immediate return of Kazemi's body. 

"For us, the most important thing is to have the body back in Canada. Without that, we cannot do an autopsy to see how she died, or why she died," Tanya Churchmuch, president of the Canadian chapter of the organization, told a news conference.


The BBC reaches new low  

The brutality of the Mullahs in how they treat their opponents is not a secret. However what is shameful is BBC's efforts to cover up this crime and their biased reporting in what happens in Iran. The BBC on Saturday, 12 July briefly reported this story emphasizing the Islamic Republic’s version of it.  The title of their story reads the official line of the Isalmic Republic. “A Canadian freelance photographer has died after falling ill in detention in Iran.” The rest of the British press almost completely ignored this news or reported it from the Islamic Republic’s perspective.   

As Potkin Azarmehr, the Iranian student dissident in UK pointed out, "Zahra Kazemi also did not make the BBC television news. Instead the BBC TV's top news item was about the sixties football soccer star and whether he had started drinking or not. Had Zahra Kazemi died in Zimbabwe the BBC would have had non stop reporting of it."

This is not the first time that BBC tries to twist the facts in favor of the Iran’s Islamic Regime. The BBC has been instrumental in the overthrow of Shah in the revolution of 1979 while depicting Khomeini as the savior of Iran. It unleashed a campaign of misinformation broadcasting in Farsi to Iran to instigate the Iranians and was busy venting the fires of the revolution. Since then the BBC has been reluctant about reporting the crimes of the Mullahs and neglected completely the anti cleric movement of the dissident Iranians, both inside and outside of Iran.  

Last month, John Simpson, the World Affairs Editor of the BBC in a response to Potkin Azarmehr, who politely objected his biased journalism, wrote to tell him that he does not respond to Azarmehr’s email because he has been “rude” and “life is too short”. The correspondence between Mr. Simpson and Mr. Azarmehr is published here. Many readers were outraged by the arrogance of Mr. Simpson and wrote to him to express their disgust. Mr. Simpson has refused to respond.  

What happens in Iran is nothing out of ordinary. Mass detentions, tortures of the political dissidents, beating, stoning, maiming and gouging the eyes of the prisoners are the daily practices of the Islamic regime. We all know the real face of the Mullahs and their reign of terror. No one expects anything different from them. However we expect more from BBC. The BBC has been biased in their reporting the news from Iran. Where does BBC in particular and the rest of the British media stand? Are they on the side of the truth? Are they on the side of human rights? Or all they care for is to save face of the Mullahs? Is the BBC funded by the Islamic Republic? Are people like Mr. John Simpson receiving any revenues from the Mullahs? Why this much untruthfulness in reporting of what is going on in Iran? It is perhaps time that the British take a closer look at the BBC and probe into that agency. Is the BBC run by a Mafia? Who pays them? Who controls them? It is time that the British demand the truth.   


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