News June 9, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 February 25, 2021 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Iran News Receive email alerts Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about serious human rights violations by the Revolutionary Guards against journalists and netizens held in Iranian prisons. Prosecutors may be about to request the death penalty for two bloggers who have been detained since 2008, Vahid Asghari and Hossein Derakhshan.“The serious charges against Asghari and Derakhshan, which are completely groundless, are punishable by the death penalty under Islamic law,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The international community must intervene and demand explanations from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is backed by the Revolutionary Guards, and from the judicial authorities, who are abusing the law.”Organised Crime Surveillance CentreEver since its creation by the Revolutionary Guards in March 2009, the Organised Crime Surveillance Centre has played an active role in tracking down and arresting outspoken netizens. Shortly after its creation, the centre announced the dismantling of a “malevolent” online network in March 2009 and the arrests of several website moderators. Their photos and “confessions” were posted on the centre’s website, Gerdab (www.gerdab.ir), a few days later. They reportedly admitted to links with websites that criticised Islam and the government, and to their intention of “misleading” Iranian youth by publicising porn sites. They also confessed to participating in a plot supported by the Americans and Israelis.On 17 June 2009, two days after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection triggered a wave of street protests, the centre issued a communiqué announcing that it had noted “several cases of websites and personal blogs posting articles inciting disturbances of public order and urging the population to rebel.”“These sites, created with the help of American and Canadian companies, receive the support of media that are protected by the American and British security services such as the BBC, Radio Farda (Free Europe) and Radio Zamaneh,” the statement added, urging website managers to suppress “content that incites the population to riot and spreads threats and rumours.”One of the Revolutionary Guard commanders, Ebrahim Jabari, officially confirmed on 20 May of this year that a “cyber army” had been created to crack down on “destructive” online networks. The “cyber army” has reportedly been responsible for the arrests of hundreds of netizens and attacks on such websites as Twitter and the Radio Zamaneh site.Prison conditions, forced confessionsDetainees have been subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and to torture to obtain confessions that are used in their trials. Asghari, a leading target of the “network dismantling” policy, is one of the victims of such abuses. Aged 24 and an ICT student in India, he was arrested on 11 May 2008 at Tehran airport for possessing several credit cards. He is still awaiting trial more than two years later. He was held in solitary confinement for seven month and was mistreated and tortured to make him confess to organising a pornographic network that blasphemed Islam and criticised the government in order to pervert Iranian youth. And what was Asghari’s crime? Hosting websites, including the sites of government opponents.“I was beaten with a stick for hours and hours while blindfolded and handcuffed,” he wrote in a letter to the president of the 15th chamber of the Revolutionary Court on 17 October 2009. “With a knife against my throat, I was threatened with death and rape. I and my family were insulted. I was forced to make a confession and sign it. They then videoed my confession and broadcast the video with the national television station’s complicity although I was legally presumed to be innocent.”According to article 168 of the constitution, defendants prosecuted on political charges should be given public, jury trials but most of the trials have been held behind closed doors. Their lawyers are often sidelined and denied access to the case files and in some cases defendants were not told they had been tried and condemned. Asghari said in his letter: “I have never seen my lawyer and, even in court, I did not have the right to say hello to him.”Asghari also wrote: “I was alleged to have received money from abroad as a result of Google advertising on the websites I hosted. I was accused of insulting the Shiite Imams and the Prophet because of their content. And I was forced to say that Hossein Derakhshan was an agent of both the Iranian ministry of intelligence and the CIA.”Derakhshan, who has Iranian and Canadian dual nationality, was arrested by Revolutionary Guards on 1 November 2008. He was given a trial without due process and has remained in detention even since awaiting the court’s verdict.A trumped-up charge of “insulting government leaders and Islam’s holy texts” was brought against him although he clearly defended not only the Islamic revolution’s principles but also President Ahmadinejad’s policies in his blog entries. He appears to be a collateral victim of the in-fighting between the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence services.Two other bloggers, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Hossien Ronaghi Maleki, are also being held in extremely arduous conditions.“Canada and the rest of the international community must redouble their efforts to get the Iranian authorities to release all of the imprisoned netizens and journalists,” Reporters Without Borders added. Nine netizens and 26 journalists are currently detained in Iran, which is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Enemies of the Internet.” Help by sharing this information News September 23, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two bloggers held by Revolutionary Guards could face death penalty March 18, 2021 Find out more Organisation After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists IranMiddle East – North Africa IranMiddle East – North Africa
Jo Fairley is co-owner of Judges organic bakery and grocery shop in Hastings and co-founded and sold Green & Black’s chocolate firm, with hubby Craig SamsDespite the rise in interest rates and the government cuts, we are all privately or publicly giving three cheers for the fact that the UK is officially out of recession. At Judges Bakery, situated in Hastings a town on the south coast which boasts three out of the 10 poorest boroughs in the UK it has been challenging to compete with the BOGOFs, the sudden middle-class ’fashion’ for trawling the aisles of Lidl and Aldi (where before, the 4×4-driving mob would never have been seen dead), not to mention Tesco online.But we’ve survived and thrived. Indeed, a second shop a ’franchise’ has now been opened 10 miles away. So, how have we managed? Initially, it was all too easy to be lured down the route of price-cutting. In fact, bread is unbelievable value, when you consider pence-per-calorie but we felt we needed to be perceived as truly competing with the supermarkets and bakery chains, even though our organic flour costs more. So our £1 loaf was born: a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday-only initiative, which offered an 800g (unsliced) sandwich loaf for just a quid.Because we sell a wide range of groceries, we started to offer more goods on promotion: our own two-for-ones, or offering discounts on slower lines to shift stock. The lunchtime ’meal deal’ was created: a sandwich, a drink and a piece of fruit for a very competitive price. But none of this really worked, and turnover fell. The £1 loaf was popular but the customers that bought it didn’t come back, the rest of the week, as we’d hoped. And as for lunch? We all know that, across the land, many people started making their own sandwiches, to save money.So we took a different tack and decided to innovate our way out of the doldrums. Enter the Judges brioche; the seven-seed sourdough; the ’Mmmmmeringue’, as we call it a multi-peaked light-as-air confection about the size of Wales. We ’sexed up’ the sarnies and we introduced innovative and yes, often more expensive grocery lines. And, hey presto! Sales revived beautifully.Because the simple truth is that, while many people are out there looking for a bargain, the majority want to be excited, tempted and delighted when they visit a small, independent bakery/store like ours. BOGOFs don’t do that, but a garlic-and-rosemary ’bread of the month’ another initiative sure did. And if the bread proved popular enough, we kept it as a weekend item. Most importantly, we tasted out our creations right, left and centre because tasting really is believing.So Judges has become known again as somewhere to go to have your taste buds tantalised. The simple truth is, no matter how we cut prices, we were never going to compete with Lidl. But Lidl cannot compete with a bakery where there’s always something new and exciting to try, and where you never know what this month’s bread-of-the-month is going to be until you nip in to find out.They say nothing succeeds like success. But in a recession, I’d say, nothing succeeds like innovation.
Roderick Alemania, ReadyUpSan Francisco based ReadyUp, which calls itself the ‘first esports team management platform, will go live this Autumn. New organisations in esports crop up rather regularly but it’s safe to say that a lot underestimate the amount of varied hard work that goes into building something successful. ReadyUp is looking to provide would be big team owners with the tools to make this job easier. Some of these tools are focused on roster management, communication and scheduling. As first reported by VentureBeat, ReadyUp is now out of what they called ‘stealth mode’ and is making itself known before a formal launch in the coming months. The ReadyUp CEO is Roderick Alemania who has worked in executive roles at the likes of IGN Entertainment/Fox Interactive Media. Of the plans for ReadyUp he said: “With hundreds of millions of global esports enthusiasts, we believe esports’ scale and fragmentation now warrants a comprehensive set of team management tools. ReadyUp will bring the best practices in traditional sports that have been successful at providing structure and efficiency from running recreational teams to managing large sports organisations.”Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, a well known and well regarded former pro, is a Co-Founder and will be ReadyUp’s Chief Gaming Officer. He stated: “Whether you’re an entry level amateur or seasoned pro, competition takes intense dedication, discipline and time,” said Wendel, in a statement. “By taking on day to day team management tasks that take teams away from gaming, ReadyUp allows for structure which will help the gamer to utilize its time more efficiently to become their best.”Sean Allen, who boasts extensive experience at Sony, will take the role of CTO. We’re as yet unclear on the pricing strategy and who ReadyUp will be primarily targeting. We’ve reached out to ReadyUp for further comment so hopefully we’ll have more information soon. Esports Insider says: The primary aim of ReadyUp is to make things easier for team owners and managers with a platform which will allow them to focus on competition and player management. It sounds useful on paper but we’ll wait to see the product in action before commenting further!