Age: 56 |
Birth City: آبادان |
Joined on October 02, 2012
It was claimed that when shown the 'evidence' against her on Saturday, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe realised it was the same material that had been used to convict her in the first place in 2016, for which she has been serving a prison sentence ever since.
Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who has campaigned for his wife’s release since she was arrested while trying to return home from a holiday with her daughter, said: “The judge briefly showed her the file against her.
Boris Johnson accused of 'failure' to secure release of British mother
“While she was not allowed to read it in detail, from that quick view she understood she was being prosecuted again with the same material that had been exaggerated and used to justify her first trial.
“The Judge told Nazanin to expect that likely there will be another conviction and sentence against her.”
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe does not appear to have been represented by a lawyer during the court appearance.
Calling for action from foreign secretary Boris Johnson, Mr Ratcliffe told The Independent: “Enough is enough.
“We have previously made the point to the British Government that we think it is a profoundly unjust ‘justice system’, and we have previously asked them to criticise that system.
“I think it would be helpful for the Government to say something >>>
After six months of silence in Park Police killing, Bijan Ghaisar’s family protests at Justice Department
The Washington Post: Six months after Bijan Ghaisar was fatally shot by two U.S. Park Police officers on a Northern Virginia side street, hundreds of family members, friends and supporters marched around the Justice Department building Saturday chanting, “We want names — we want justice — we are Bijan.”
Other than the video of the incident recorded by Fairfax County police, virtually no information has been released about the shooting, including the names of the officers or the reasons they fired nine times into Ghaisar’s Jeep Grand Cherokee as he sat behind the wheel, apparently unarmed. Both the FBI, who is investigating the case, and the Justice Department said Saturday they had no comment on the case.
“Where the hell are all the good cops?” asked Negeen Ghaisar, the victim’s sister, to an often tearful audience. The lengthy silence in the case has horrified her family. “My grandfather is a retired police colonel and police chief. He said the good cops outweigh the bad cops. Where the hell are you?”
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has been pressing the Park Police and the FBI for answers for months, with little success. “It’s beyond my imagination why it has taken so very, very long. … Little by little, the FBI is sacrificing its credibility. I have one request. Please Director [Christopher] Wray, finish the investigation and release the report.”
State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) also lent their voices to the demand for answers, as did speakers from Amnesty International, Mothers Against Police Brutality, the Iranian-American Community Center and the Avalan Institute.
Ghaisar, a 25-year-old accountant from McLean, Va., was shot on Nov. 17 by two U.S. Park Police officers as he sat behind the wheel of his Jeep in the Fort Hunt area of Fairfax County, Va. His family said he was unarmed and shot four times in the head. The Park Police and the FBI, which took over the investigation of the case, have declined to discuss the case since the incident occurred. The Park Police have refused to identify the officers involved, which most police agencies do shortly after a shooting. The officers remain on administrative leave with pay, Sgt. James Dingeldein, a Park Police spokesman, has said.
Ghaisar had been involved in a minor fender bender after he stopped in a southbound lane of the George Washington Memorial Parkway just north of Alexandria, Va. A Park Police report states Ghaisar drove away from that incident without speaking to the driver who had hit him, and a Park Police cruiser with two officers inside spotted the Jeep minutes later on the parkway south of Alexandria and tried to pull him over.
A Fairfax County police officer joined the pursuit and turned on his in-car video camera. The footage from that camera, released by Fairfax police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. in January, shows Ghaisar stopped in the right lane of the parkway, then drove off as the Park Police officers approached him with guns drawn. Several minutes later, after driving at a reported 58 mph, Ghaisar pulled onto an exit off the parkway and stopped again. Again the officers ran to his Jeep with guns drawn, and again Ghaisar drove off.
At the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue, Ghaisar stopped a third time. The officers again hurried to the Jeep with pistols drawn. Ghaisar’s Jeep appears to start rolling around the Park Police car blocking his way, with the officers to the side. The video shows the officers firing nine times into the Jeep.
Ghaisar lived for 10 days after the shooting, and was pronounced dead on Nov. 27. Though there is a full, clear video of the incident and a Fairfax County police officer as a witness to the entire episode, the Justice Department has given no indication of when a decision might be made on whether the Park Police officers will be charged with a crime >>>
Radio Farda: The surprising victory of an electoral bloc controlled by the influential Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq’s parliamentary elections May 12 can help reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq.
Iran-backed Shi’ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc came in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, once seen as the front-runner, finished third.
Even though, Sadr cannot become prime minister as he was not a candidate in the election himself, but by controlling 54 seats in the next parliament it is very likely that Sadr can influence the formation of the new government and the selection of a new prime minister.
The victory of the young cleric means in fact that Iran will lose some of its influence in the neighboring country.
Sadr, the son of an influential Iraqi ayatollah murdered in the 1990s because of his opposition to the former President Saddam Hussein, was a close ally of Iran in the past, however toward the end of Nuri al-Maliki’s era as prime minister, he distanced himself from Tehran. The Mahdi Army a militia group that he created in 2003 was one of the reasons for his dispute with Iran. He used his forces a few times to challenge Prime Minister Maleki who was a close ally of Iran.
Additionally, in contrast to Iran that still supports the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Sadr has been for his removal from power.
Sadr slowly has turned into a more complex figure. In the recent election, he presented himself as the supporter of the poor and dispossessed and entered into alliance with Communists, Kurds, and Arab Sunnis.
In an interview with the London based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Sadr said last year that he was about to create a bloc with “independent technocrats” in order to serve his country.
The young cleric did not leave any doubt about his political divorce from Iran when in 2017 he visited the Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman >>>
NIAC: The last seventeen years in which I have led NIAC have been the most rewarding of my professional life. I couldn’t be any prouder of what we have built together at NIAC - and how far we have come in giving Iranian Americans a seat at the table and a respected voice in Washington: for this I am deeply grateful to you.
On this anniversary, time has come for us to take the next step in our organization’s growth. After seventeen years of serving as NIAC’s President, I am passing the reins to NIAC’s next leader Jamal Abdi, NIAC's current Vice President for Policy. While I will always remain committed to NIAC, the next chapter for me will allow me to focus more on the US’s broader foreign policy in the Middle East.
Over the summer, I will transition out of my role as president of NIAC. On August 1, Jamal will officially take over as NIAC’s new leader. I will continue working at NIAC through the end of 2018 to support Jamal and the entire team with the transition, as well as with the numerous political challenges our community is facing.
Though leading the organization has at times been tough, it has nevertheless been an absolute privilege to be at NIAC and to be part of the political blossoming of our community.
When I interned on Capitol Hill 21 years ago, I was shocked to find out that our community had no voice. In fact, most members of Congress believed that a group supporting war and sanctions was the representative of our community. I realized that unless we raised our voices, others would speak for us.
Two decades later, Iranian Americans are running for Congress, organizing rallies, showing thought leadership, and perhaps most importantly, when the United States was on the brink of war, our community raised its voice and helped make peace possible.
We have indeed come a long way. When we incorporated NIAC in early 2002, we had a handful of donors and a starting budget of $60,000. Today, we have a mailing list of more than 70,000 people, a $2,000,000+ operating budget and a talented staff of former Capitol Hill staffers, State department officials, and community organizers.
I'm not going to lie - it is never easy to take a step back from something you have invested so much of yourself into for so many years. I have commented to staff that this is bittersweet, similar to a proud parent sending their child off to college. But more than anything, I am proud we have reached this important milestone. One of the most important tests of an organization's sustainability is when its founder is able to step away. This transition is an affirmation that NIAC is a durable institution and is bigger than any one person.
That is, after all, where our greatest strength is beyond the membership: our staff. We have been fortunate enough to be able to attract some of the smartest, most committed and hardest working leaders to the organization.
Among our staff, Jamal has shown tremendous leadership and strategic acumen over the past decade, which is why the Board and I have offered him the privilege to lead NIAC.
Jamal joined our team nearly 10 years ago, after having served on Capitol Hill as a foreign policy advisor for several years. I cannot do justice to the difference he's made to the organization and our community. Without him, we would never have been able to help win the battle on the Hill regarding the Iran nuclear deal, nor would we have been able to establish our early warning system in Congress - or our extensive coalition building in Washington.
Over the next several months, Jamal and I will continue to work closely together and he will have the opportunity to outline his vision for the next chapter in our organization’s growth. And while I won’t be on staff in 2019, I will continue to be involved and fully committed to the organization, but through a different role.
I want to say thank you for this opportunity and for your continued commitment to NIAC. We still have a war to prevent and a Muslim ban to rescind - and we have to ensure that at all times, our community has a strong voice and a dedicated seat at the table.
I hope that you will join me in ensuring that Jamal and the staff have the support and resources that they need to take our community’s voice to the next level!
President and co-founder
Porochista Khakpour is an author, teacher, advocate, friend, and, in no uncertain terms, a survivor. Porochista was diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease in 2011, but it is unclear when she originally contracted the disease. Doctors have pinpointed the range 2006-2009, though some doctors believe she's been afflicted since childhood.
For the last decade she's been in and out of hospitals, receiving new treatments and -- since no test can show if late stage Lyme has been fully cured -- living in fear of the next relapse.
Porochista's forthcoming memoir SICK examines the frequent hospitalizations, her battles with depression and overcoming addiction, and the emotional and financial tolls of a life lived in the shadow of illness, betrayed by her own body and uncertain of her future. But Porochista's story isn't just her own, it's also a call to action for the medical community and a validation for the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from Lyme disease in silence. Roughly 30,000 new cases of Lyme are reported to the CDC every year, but they estimate that more than 10 times that many go unreported.
As a result, research for the disease is underfunded, doctors are ill-equipped to diagnose its symptoms and treat its many complications, and people afflicted with the disease are often left without proper care, feeling confused and alone. Experts put the average cost of late-stage Lyme as somewhere around $20,000 to 200,000, and the annual cost of Lyme disease in the United States is over $1-3 billion as of 2017.
We're reaching out to you, friends and strangers alike, because Porochista's own fight with Lyme is not over -- her illness returned with a vengeance this winter while she was teaching in New England, and to complicate matters she returned to New York to find that her apartment had been filled with lead and asbestos dust from neighboring demolitions.
She has been left essentially homeless, relying on her friends for hospitality as her disease continues to worsen. (As of May 10, Porochista has just received test results that indicate very high inflammation markers in her body as a result of Lyme and mold.)
On top of that, SICK is released in June; Porochista is a true believer in the power of telling your story in person and has worked tirelessly over the last year to set up a tour to correspond with the book's publication, but with her Lyme relapse the financial cost of a book tour (and the Lyme-related travel precautions) is well beyond what she can afford on her own.
Our spirited, independent friend is dragged down by her symptoms, drowning in medical bills, and left without the time or money to properly search for a new home. She's currently in San Francisco seeing yet another doctor, relying on another friend, and receiving treatment that insurance won't cover.
So please, every dollar you can give will help towards Porochista's treatments and expenses as she continues to battle Lyme, raise awareness, and hopefully help usher in a brighter future for the next generation afflicted by this disease.
Thank you, you generous, lovely people,
- Esmé and Janice
The Onion: In the wake of President Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the United States would pull out of the international agreement to limit the Middle Eastern country’s program, Iranian nuclear scientist Ali Khatami was reportedly annoyed that he would have to return to his shitty old job building nuclear weapons. “Great, just what I wanted to do—go back to converting yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride all fucking day,” said a visibly irritated Khatami, adding that he wasn’t looking forward to being holed up in a newly reopened underground bunker, working overtime on the development of long-range ballistic missiles the way he always was before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was ratified. “This totally sucks. I hate the work, and the hours are fucking awful. And I’ll bet they’re bringing back my old dickhead boss who’s never satisfied no matter how much weapons-grade U-235 we crank out. I had just found a nice new position at a small research lab closer to my family, too. Oh, well, it’s got to get done, so back to the goddamn grind.” In related news, American nuclear scientist David Ebeling reported feeling pretty irritated that his weapons-production facility’s output goals had been raised yet again.