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Near San Cristobal church.

Savage interrogation

Prominent Iranian unionist and member of the syndicate of the workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane complex, Ali Nejati, was taken to hospital on December 13, after "being harshly pressured under interrogation", the syndicate reported.
"Nejati is suffering from heart complication," the syndicate reiterated on its Telegram channel, adding, "he is suffering from several illnesses, including heart problems, and keeping him behind bars might seriously endanger his life."
Ali Nejati was arrested on Thursday, November 29 and his attorney, Farzaneh Zilabi, said that her client has been charged with "disrupting public order", "collusion and assembly against national security" and "cooperation in establishing a group intended to disrupt peace and security".
According to the syndicate, security forces stormed Nejati's house without presenting any legal warrants and arrested Mr. Nejati, his son, Payman, and his guest with force and violence. After interrogation, Mr. Nejati’s son and his guest were released, but Mr. Nejati remained in custody.
Furthermore, the syndicate has called upon all trade unions and relevant institutions in Iran and across the world to support Nejati and a young civil rights activist and journalist, Ms. Sepideh Qolian, who was arrested alongside him.

Earlier, the syndicate had also reported that the representative of the workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane mill, Esmaeil Bakhshi, and Ms. Qolian were under mental and physical pressure.
Bakhshi was released on Wednesday, December 12, while Ms. Qolian is still behind bars.
Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane complex are currently on strike, demanding overdue wages and demanding the return of their plant's ownership to the Public Sector.

Countdown to Christmas in Tehran...


Got Milk

Art store in Questa San Blas.

McGill grad jailed in Iran being criminalized for environmental work


CBC: Hayley Lapalme still can't wrap her head around why her friend Niloufar Bayani is behind bars in an Iranian prison.

It's been a year since the former resident of Montreal and Toronto was arrested and accused of espionage.

"To learn this person, who had a wonderful presence in our community here [in Toronto], is now in a prison cell — it's stunning, really," Lapalme told As It Happens host Carol Off.

Bayani is a former McGill biology student who graduated in 2009. She later worked for the United Nations Environment Programme. She was living in Toronto when she met Lapalme.

She had returned to Iran to do environmental work, when she was arrested in January and accused of espionage.

She has been behind bars in Evin prison outside Tehran ever since.

Nearly a year since her arrest, Lapalme wants more people to know who Bayani is — and to fight for her release.

"Niloufar is this person who has this lightness, goodness, intelligence and generosity about her that is really contagious," Lapalme said.

"She really brings out the best in people."

As It Happens reached out to McGill University for comment, but did not receive a response. University spokesperson Chris Chapello told the Montreal Gazette that McGill is "aware of the situation and has been in contact with the Canadian authorities."

Researching Iran's endangered cheetahs

Bayani was always passionate about doing environmental field work anywhere in the world, Lapalme said.

She studied zebra mussels in Montreal and researched marine life in Beliz, she said.

Lapalme said her friend moved back to Iran to do field work with the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

That's when the trouble started.

At the time of her arrest, Lapalme said Bayani was setting up camera traps to track Asiatic cheetahs, an endangered species in Iran.

But to Iranian authorities, the act amounted to spying.

Bayani was charged with "sowing corruption on Earth," for which she could face the death penalty. She has not yet had a trial.

"For the kind of work that we can practice freely and that is appreciated here, it's work that's being criminalized now in Iran," Lapalme said >>>

Iranian Bobby Sands

Vahid Nasiri, Iranian political prisoner, died of hunger strike, just like how Bobby Sands died. 


Person of the Year

Time Person of the Year: 'The Guardians and the War on Truth'

Nazanin Boniadi Straddles Fact and Fiction in Her Upcoming Film


L'Officiel: The liminal space between fact and fiction can be a challenging space for actors to navigate, but Nazanin Boniadi and the cast of Hotel Mumbai manage quite well. Presented with the task of dramatizing on screen the very real story of the 2008 terrorist attack on the lavish Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India, Boniadi admitted to experiencing a “gut-wrenching feeling” when she imagines how the victims might react when they see the movie. “It can be very difficult for those who were there or who had loved ones there, like any horrific experience, or mass shooting, or any kind of terror attack,” she continues. “That's what we really have to be mindful of.”

For her part, the Tehran-born actress plays a wealthy British-Iranian Muslim woman on holiday with her all-American husband (the all-American-est Armie Hammer) and their newborn baby when a group of gunmen from terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba storm the hotel. From that point forward, both the privileged hotel guests and local staff have to come together: “[This film] really is about the resilience of the human spirit, and in situations like that, bullets don't discriminate,” says Boniadi. “It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, what religion, what ethnicity, what nationality—you're all in it together.”

As a former spokesperson for Amnesty International and a current board member at the Center for Human Rights in her native Iran, Boniadi’s take on the film is consistent with her personal modus operandi of finding projects that “raise hope, or inspire, or inform in some way.”

Hola ladies

On Questa San Blas.

Good morning?

Valentino checking his domain.