Iran tightens restrictions on ex-President Khatami

Mohammed Khatami
Updated 07 October 2017
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Iran tightens restrictions on ex-President Khatami

TEHRAN: Iran’s opposition said Friday that restrictions have been tightened on reformist former President Mohammed Khatami, barring him from all public meetings for three months.
Khatami has been banned from appearing in the media since mass protests against the government in 2009-2010, but continues to wield considerable power behind the scenes.
The opposition Kalemeh website said the Special Clerical Court had sent Khatami a letter asking him “not to take part in any political ceremonies and publicity for three months.”
This was said to include any meetings, theater performances and concerts, and barred individuals, government and seminary officials and student union members from meeting with him.
The new restrictions were first revealed by Khatami’s nephew Mohammed Reza Tabesh, a member of Parliament, earlier this week.
The letter was said to have been signed by the head of the Special Clerical Court, Ebrahim Raisi, the hard-line runner-up in this May’s presidential election.
The conservative Fars and Mehr news agencies said on Thursday that unnamed officials had denied the existence of the letter or the new restrictions.
But outspoken member of Parliament Ali Motahari — considered a political moderate — criticized the new measures, saying they were illegal without proper consultation with Khatami or his lawyers.
“We have a good constitution and the Parliament has also devised good laws but some councils and institutions such as the Special Clerical Court bypass the constitution and the Parliament and drag the country toward autocracy,” he said in comments carried by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“Imposing more restrictions, at a time when public opinion is opposed to the continuation of the house arrest is regrettable,” Motahari added.


Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

Updated 24 September 2018
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Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

  • Al-Ghufran tribe hand a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA
  • The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force

ZURICH: Qatar was accused on Monday of building stadiums for the 2022 football World Cup on land stolen from a tribe it has persecuted for more than 20 years. 

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran tribe handed a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA, and demanded that Qatar be stripped of the right to hold the tournament unless the tribe receives justice. 

“The World Cup is a gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own citizens?” a spokesman for the tribe said. 

“The FIFA system states that the country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, but this is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights, and then talks about freedom and democracy.”

The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force, and that sports facilities were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were thrown off the land and stripped of their citizenship.

“The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with the Al-Ghufran tribe, from deprivation to expulsion from the country, withdrawal of their official documents and denial of education and health care,” the spokesman said.

The tribe’s ordeal began in 1996, when some of their members voiced support for Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the Qatari emir deposed the previous year by his son Hamad, father of the current emir, Sheikh Tamim.

About 800 Al-Ghufran families, more than 6,000 people, were stripped of their citizenship and had their property confiscated. Many remain stateless, both in Qatar and in neighboring Gulf countries.

A delegation from the tribe has been in Switzerland for the past week, presenting their case to UN human rights officials in Geneva. 

They have asked the UN to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous and systematic discrimination against them, to protect the tribe’s members and restore their lost rights, and to punish the Qatari regime for human-rights violations.

A delegation from the tribe organized a demonstration on Monday at the Broken Chair, a monumental wooden sculpture opposite the Palace of Nations in Geneva that symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs.

“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against the Al-Ghufran tribe by the Qatari regime,” said Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghafzani, a member of the delegation.

“We are talking to everyone who comes in and out of the United Nations building about our crisis and our stolen rights; after Qatar took our nationality away, there is nothing else we can lose.”