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Channel 4 Colludes With Iran Tyranny

Insult to 100,000 murdered Iranians "Pull the plug on President Ahmadinejad' s propaganda"


 "Channel Four has handed President Ahmadinejad a propaganda victory. It has given him a prime-time slot in which he poses as a defender of justice and peace, while ignoring his own human rights abuses. His regime executes children, journalists, gay people, and political, religious and ethnic dissidents. There are no apologies for these crimes against humanity in the President's broadcast. It is pure propaganda," said Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and human
 rights spokesperson for the Green Party of England. "This programme is an insult to the 100,000 Iranian people who have been murdered since the Islamic fundamentalists seized power in 1979," he said.
 Mr Tatchell was commenting on the decision by Channel Four Television to broadcast the Iranian President delivering The Alternative Christmas Message on Christmas Day. It was transmitted after the Queen delivered her traditional Christmas Message to the nation.
 
 Mr Tatchell had called on Channel Four to:
 
 "Pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world's most bloody despots. "Channel Four executives would not have given Ahmadinejad this propaganda coup if it was their partners or children who were being
 tortured in Evin prison, Tehran.
 
 "This Christmas, thousands of Iranian families are grief-stricken. Their loved ones have been jailed, tortured and executed. Instead of inviting them to deliver The Alternative Christmas Message, Channel Four is giving airtime to the man responsible for their loved ones' suffering," he said.
 
 President Ahmadinejad' s broadcast included the following statements:
 
 "Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice... .
 "If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.... "I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity."
 
 "Ahmadinejad' s apparently reasonable words are pure propaganda. His actions are devoid of love, justice, humanity and brotherhood. They involve the brutal repression of his own people," commented Mr Tatchell.
 
 "Trade union, student and women's rights activists are imprisoned and tortured. His government is pursuing a racist, ethnic cleansing policy against Iran's minority nationalities, such as the Arabs, Kurds and Baluchs.
 
 "According to Human Rights Watch, in March this year an Iranian parliament member, Hossein Ali Shahryari, confirmed that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is only one of Iran's many provinces. Many of those on death row are Baluch political prisoners. This staggering number of death sentences is evidence of the intense, savage repression that is taking place under the leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 http://hrw.org/ wr2k8/pdfs/ iran.pdf
 
 "In 2004, in the city of Neka, a 16 year old girl, Atefah Rajabi Sahaaleh, who had been raped and sexually abused by men for many years, was convicted of "crimes against chastity." She was hanged by the method of slow, painful strangulation, hoisted by a crane in a public square. http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 1/hi/5217424. stm
 
 "Ahmadinejad' s regime exports terrorism. Many of the death squads in Iraq are trained, armed and funded by Tehran. They murder political and religious dissidents. Instead of putting the Iranian President on Channel Four he should be put on trial at The Hague. ," said Mr Tatchell.
 
 Further information:
 
 Peter Tatchell - 020 7403 1790
 
 
 Statement format:
 
 Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
 
 Channel Four has handed President Ahmadinejad a propaganda victory. It has given him a prime-time slot in which he poses as a defender of justice and peace, despite his own human rights abuses. His regime executes children, journalists, students, gay people, political activists and ethnic minorities. There are no apologies for these crimes against humanity in the President's broadcast. It is pure propaganda - an insult to the 100,000 Iranian dissidents who have been murdered since the Islamic fundamentalists seized power in 1979. Channel 4 should pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world's most bloody despots. The channel's executives would not give Ahmadinejad this propaganda coup if it was their partners or children who were being tortured in Evin prison, Tehran. This Christmas, thousands of Iranian families are grief-stricken. Their loved ones have been jailed, tortured and executed. Instead of inviting them to deliver The Alternative Christmas Message, Channel 4 is giving airtime to the man responsible for their loved ones' suffering. Ahmadinejad may talk of peace and justice, but these apparently reasonable words are pure propaganda. His actions are devoid of love, mercy, justice, humanity and brotherhood. They involve the brutal repression of his own people. Trade union, student and women's rights campaigners are imprisoned and tortured. His government is pursuing a racist, ethnic cleansing policy against Iran's minority nationalities, the Arabs, Kurds and Baluchs. According to Human Rights Watch, in March this year 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is only one of Iran's 30 provinces. Many of those on death row are Baluch political prisoners. This staggering number of death sentences is evidence of the intense, savage repression that is taking place under the leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Instead of putting him on
 Channel Four he should be put on trial at The Hague.
 
 Ends
 
 --
 Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East www.greenoxford. com/peter and www.petertatchell. net
 
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