Join 28 December demonstrations in solidarity with imprisoned students in Iran

More than two weeks ago 43 students and political activists across the cities of Iran were either abducted or were arrested before, during and after the national student day on 7 th December in Iran and all of them were imprisoned.

The arrested students who have not committed any crime but defending freedom and equality; those students who have expressed their opposition to the militarised atmosphere in the universities created by security forces; our comrades who have not committed any crime and only defended humanity and justice; the students who organised the national students day with slogans such as “No War”, “University is Not a Militaries Camps”, “No Sexual Apartheid”, “Long Live Freedom & Equality”, “Workers Unity”, have been accused of actions against country’s security including conspiracy and bombings.

It is a fact that political prisoners in horrible wards 209 and 325 of Evin prison live under difficult conditions. Every day we here news about bad health and worsening of the physical condition of our comrades. According to news we have received our friends are under torture and all physical and psychological pressure. We are gravely concerned about our comrades as their families are banned to visit them. Students’ lawyers are not permitted to meet them and they are deprived of their basic human rights.

This treatment of students by the Islamic Republic has been faced with a fierce international protest. The amnesty international has organised a campaign to free students. The head of the EU Parliament has asked for their immediate release. During the last two weeks we have received hundreds of protest letters from across the world and numerous protest actions and demonstrations against the Islamic Republic and for immediate release of the imprisoned students have been organised.

On behalf of all students, we the Freedom and Equality – seeking Students are very proud of these waves of solidarity and thank all who were with and for us in these difficult days. But the fact of the matter is that despite all these efforts, our friends are still in prison.

To release the arrested students an international action is urgently required!

We call all the international organisations and campaigns to join us on 28th December to protest against the Islamic Republic and raise your voice to free the students in Iran. Your solidarity and joint actions all around the world will strengthen our efforts and make the release of our friends and comrades possible.

The movement for freedom and equality urgently needs your support and solidarity and united action.

Long Live Freedom!
Long Live Equality!
Freedom and Equality – seeking Students of Universities in Iran
19 December 2007 / 28th Azar 1386

Never a choice

As I have said on many an occassion, the veil – socially speaking is never a choice.

Lest anyone forget, Hojatolislam Gholam Reza Hassani said: “women who do not respect the hijab and their husbands deserve to die.” Hassani, who leads Friday prayers in the city of Urumieh, in Iranian Azerbaijan said “I do not understand how these women who do not respect the hijab, 28 years after the birth of the Islamic Republic, are still alive.” He is the representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in eastern Azerbaijan.

Political prisoners in Iran need international solidarity

In a pre-emptive attack on independent student organizations the Islamic regime in Iran arrested dozens of politically active students prior to Student’s Day (December 7), practically a day of protest against the status quo during decades of student struggles. However, despite the said arrests, the students celebrated their day by holding protest actions in different forms on a national level. In the course of those actions more students were arrested. At present there are forty-odd student activists from various parts of the country held in detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, as well as in other known and unknown places.

The detained students have been subjected to torture and cruel treatment. The news of torture has gravely alarmed their families and the people at large. The trumped-up charges brought against the students have aggravated the widespread concerns for their lives. Among other things, the Ministry of Intelligence has released a communiqué with regards to the Leftist students claiming that “the troublemakers had already obtained slingshots, collected rocks, and made sonic hand grenades” or “the detainees were found in possession of a considerable amount of alcoholic beverages, immoral literature, heretical books, and leaflets with sacrilegious content.” Also, the state-run Raja-news website has published reports stating “following extensive nation-wide investigations of the universities, the core communist cell, with connections abroad (read: connections with opposition organizations abroad), has been discovered and arrested. The said communist cell plotted to raise riots at universities on December 7th through violent provocations, using incendiary devices such as Molotov cocktails and hand grenades … etc.”

The fake and fabricated nature of such reports is obvious to all. However, these are heavy accusations used by the regime throughout its 30-year-long existence to line up thousands of freedom-seeking people against its firing squads. Today, it resorts to the same accusations against the students. This has, naturally, caused grave worries for the lives of the detained students among their families and the people at large. We simply have to thwart this conspiracy of the regime and free the imprisoned students by means of our international solidarity.

There is presently a massive protest movement underway for the release of the students at family, university, and town levels in various parts of the country. However, what is needed for a powerful fight for their immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other political prisoners in Iran, is an extended global solidarity. We, therefore, call upon all individuals, institutions and organizations defending human rights to join our international campaign for the release of the recently arrested students and all other political prisoners languishing in the dungeons of the Islamic regime in Iran.

It should also be noted here that besides the detained students a large number of labor activists – among whom the internationally well-known Mahmoud Salehi, Mansour Osaanlou and Ebraahim Madadi – as well as scores of women who have resisted the regime’s current wave of mass intimidation on the pretext implementing its Hijab and other Islamic codes are in jail too.
An immediate demand of the Iranian people is the unconditional release of the recently arrested students, as well as all other political prisoners. Lend them your extensive international support so that they can open the prison gates, release their political prisoners and take their just struggles against the barbaric Islamic regime one step further.

Please send your protest letters to:
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Iran
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Iran
Email

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran, Iran
Email

Committee for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Iran
International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
Equal Rights Now; Organization for the Defense of Women’s Rights
International Federation of Iranian Refugees
International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
December 17, 2007

The latest list of detained students, and pictures of some of them
1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ehsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkime Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim Soltan Beygi (Communications faculty, Allameh University) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic University) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbeh Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17- Roozbehan Amiri (Computer Science, Tehran University) 18-Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 19- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Allameh University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari (Rajaee University) 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran (Rajaee University) 27- Amir Aghayi (Rajaee University) 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (Chamran University) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University) 31- Parsa Kermanjian (Kermanshah University) 32-Abed Tavanche 33- Reza Arab (Mazandaran University) 34- Sadra Pirhayaty(Shahed University) 35-Peyman Piran 36- Majid Ashrafnejad (Rajaee University) 37- Shovan Merikhi (Mazandaran University) 38- Sara Khademi (Mazandaran University) 39- Nima Nahvi (Mazandaran University) 40- Mohammad Saleh Ayuman (Tehran University) 41- Sohrab Karimi (Tehran University) 42- Farshad Dustipoor (Tehran University) 43- Javad Alizadeh (Tehran University)

Help free jailed students in Iran now!

In the last two weeks more than 40 student leaders and activists* have been rounded up by the Ministry of Information of the Islamic regime of Iran. We have been informed that at least 43 of the detainees are being held in the notorious Evin Prison, and the whereabouts of the rest is unknown. These students were arrested on or before 7 December 2007 in anticipation of protests on Student Day**.

Many of you are aware of the brutality and oppressive nature of the Islamic regime of Iran. Many of you would not be surprised by the degree of its savagery. However, what is extremely worrying in these arrests is the fabricated charges that have been announced publicly against them by the regime and state-controlled media. The Ministry of Information has stated: “The rioters had obtained bows and arrows and stones and made sonic hand grenades… The detainees had in their possession a significant amount of alcoholic drinks and illegal and immoral literature containing insults to the sacred”. The Rajanews website, linked to president Ahmadinejad, has said: “Following extensive nationwide investigations of the universities by the security organisations, the core of the communists who had connections with aboard has been identified and arrested. The communist cell’s plan was to create riots in the universities on 7th December by obtaining incendiary devices such as Molotov Cocktail and hand grenades to cause mayhem and disturbance”.

Although references to ‘alcohol, banned literature, insulting sanctities, link to opposition groups abroad’, etc. only demonstrates the depth of the oppressive nature of this regime, the mention of ‘obtaining incendiary devices such as Molotov Cocktail and hand grenades’ are dangerous security codes which have been used in the past to execute thousands of dissidents or to impose long-term prison sentences. The news of torture of students is most worrying. The world must react to this atrocity.

The reality is that the Islamic regime, which has been defeated politically in the universities and in the face of students’ struggles, aims to intimidate the people and the protest movement which is gathering momentum nationally by brutally suppressing the students.

The protest to free the jailed students is continuing. The families of the detained students have begun to organise protest meetings. It is therefore vital to organise an international solidarity movement to free the students and political prisoners. The Islamic Republic is fragile when faced with international pressure and would not be able to carry out its criminal plans against the students.

We call on all of you to use all in your power to support the detained students and their families and force the Islamic regime to immediately and unconditionally release the prisoners. It should also be noted that many labour activists, women’s rights activists and women who have refused to obey the regime’s Islamic dress codes are currently in prison. The people of Iran would appreciate the international solidarity with their struggle against the Islamic regime. International pressure would make a difference to the situation of the political prisoners, and would limit the ability of the regime in its repression against student, labour and women rights activists and the people of Iran.

Asqar Karimi
Head of the Executive Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
12 December 2007

Send your protest letters to:

Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street Tehran, Iran
Email: mailto:[email protected]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran , Iran
Email: [email protected]

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, IranIran
Email: [email protected]

Notes :

* List of detained students
1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ehsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkime Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim Soltan Beygi (Communications faculty, Allameh University) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic University) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbeh Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17- Roozbehan Amiri (Computer Science, Tehran University) 18-Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 19- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Allameh University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari (Rajaee University) 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran (Rajaee University) 27- Amir Aghayi (Rajaee University) 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (Chamran University) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University) 31- Parsa Kermanjian (Kermanshah University) 32-Abed Tavanche 33- Reza Arab (Mazandaran University) 34- Sadra Pirhayaty(Shahed University) 35-Peyman Piran 36- Majid Ashrafnejad (Rajaee University) 37- Shovan Merikhi (Mazandaran University) 38- Sara Khademi (Mazandaran University) 39- Nima Nahvi (Mazandaran University) 40- Mohammad Saleh Ayuman (Tehran Univercity) 41- Sohrab Karimi (Tehran Univercity) 42- Farshad Dustipoor (Tehran Univercity) 43- Javad Alizadeh (Tehran Univercity)
Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakolli and Ehsan Mansoori from the Polytechnic University of Tehran have been in prison and under torture since February 2007, sentenced to 2 to 3 years’ prison in unofficial courts.

** Student Day (16th Azar in the Persian Calendar, 7 th December) is an important day in the students’ protest movement in Iran. Initially marked in protest at the 1957 killing of three students by the Shah’s police during a protest to a visit by the then Vice President Richard Nixon, it has become an annual day of protest by students against the Islamic Republic regime

The left-leaning protest movement in Iran

If you still don’t believe the protest movement in Iran is left leaning, take a look at these pictures of recent student demonstrations in Iran on the blog of the Communist Youth Organisation.

The banners say:
‘Socialism or barbarity’
‘Freedom, Equality’
‘The university is not a military base’
‘Student movement unite with the labour movement’…

Protest the arrest of students in Iran!

Letter No.2

To Amnesty International and all human rights defending organizations all over the world

In our previous letter on 2nd of December we made you aware that Islamic Republic of Iran has arrested some students on the eve of Student’s Day in Iran and has done so in the most brutal way. Despite the arrest and threatening of activists and organizers of Student’s Day, on 4th of December, students organized the event in Tehran University. 30 people were arrested and now being held in Evin prison and unknown places. All the students have leftist tendencies and Islamic government treats its critics, specially those with leftist tendencies, very brutally and inhumanely and that has worried the families of those arrested, student activists and human rights defenders.

Here you can see a list of those arrested on 4th of December and we hope you, with your quick and definite reaction, be able to stop the Islamic Republic’s crimes in relation to these arrested students and all political prisoners.

1- Milad Moyini (Mazandaran University) 2- Behrang Zandi (Mazandaran University) 3- Hamed Mohammadi (Mazandaran University) 4- Arash Pakzad (Mazandaran University) 5- Hasan Maarefi (Mazandaran University) 6- Anooshe Azadfar (Tehran University) 7- Ilnaz Jamshidi (Communications, Azad University, Central Tehran) 8- Mehdi Gerayloo (Geophysics, Tehran) 9- Nader Ahsani (Mazandaran University) 10-Sayid Habibi (ex-member of the Central Council of Advare Tahkim Vahdat) 11- Behrooz Karimi-zade (Tehran University) 12- Keyvan Amiri Elyasi (Masters, Industry, Sharif Technical University) 13- Nasim SoltanBeygi (Communications faculty, Alame) 14- Ali Salem (Masters of Polymers – Polytechnic) 15- Mohsen Ghamin (Polytechnic University) 16- Roozbe Saf-Shekan (Tehran University) 17-Roozbehan Amiri (Computer sciences, Tehran) 18- Yaser Pir Hayati (Shahed University) 10- Mahsa Mohebbi 20- Okhtay Hosseni (Azad University) 21- Sayid Agham Ali Khalili (Alame University) 22- Behzad Bagheri (Tehran University) 23- Ali Kalayi 24- Amir Mehrzad 25- Hadi Salari 26- Farshid Farhadi Ahangaran 27- Amir Aghayi 28- Milad Omrani 29- Soroosh Hashempoor (from Ahvaz) and 30-Yoones Mirhossein (Student of Shiraz University).

Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakolli and Ehsan Mansoori are also among those student activists from Polytechnic University of Tehran who are in prison and been tortured since February 2007 and have been condemned to 2 to 3 years of prison in unofficial courts.

Students and youth of Iran are determined to continue their protests until the release of their friend and classmates and they need the widest possible international support to stand against the inhumane Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Republic must be pressured to release them immediately. With your protest letters, protest gatherings and any other initiative demand the release of jailed students and political prisoners.

Communist Youth Organization
6th of December 2007

In the face of the threat of an attack on Iran, support the people of Iran!

The threat of a US attack and the devastating consequences of economic sanctions are looming over the people of Iran. US’s war with the Islamic Republic is not the war of the people. People of Iran and their interests are not represented in this conflict. They want neither the Islamic Republic, nor a military attack, nor economic sanctions. For years, they have been fighting the Islamic Republic and the unbearable conditions that this ultra-reactionary regime has imposed on society.

Iran is a society where people sing the Internationale anthem in their protest gatherings and chant “One earth, one humanity” and “One race, the human race”. It is a society where the slogan “Freedom, equality, human identity” has adorned the banner of its struggles. A society where the International Day of the Child is celebrated in large gatherings in scores of cities, and where its manifesto in defence of the rights of homeless children and child workers declares: “for children to be free, this inverted world must be changed”. It is a society where prisoners on death row, from deep inside the jails, call on the people of the world to fight for the universal abolition of the death penalty. Iranian people in their numerous demonstrations have repeatedly stated that they want neither war, nor a nuclear programme, nor the Islamic Republic.

People of the world!

To end the threat of a military attack on Iran, support the struggle of the people of Iran! The overthrow of the Islamic Republic by the will and power of the people is the only human and civilised way to end the threat of war and the deadly race that Islamic terrorism and US militarism and state terrorism are waging in Iran, the Middle East and globally. The Islamic Republic does not represent the people of Iran. This regime is their enemy, not their representative! This is a regime that has been able to survive only by executing tens of thousands of people and carrying out the most ghastly medieval tortures and punishments such as stoning to death, flogging and amputating. The Islamic Republic must be rejected and isolated internationally. The world must treat this regime of sexual Apartheid like it treated the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa. Demand that the world’s states and international bodies not to recognise the Islamic Republic as the government of Iran. Demand that they cut off their diplomatic ties with this medieval regime.

In the fight against the US government’s warlike, inhuman and brutal policies, the Iranian people are on your side; they are asking you to be on their side in the fight against the Islamic Republic! To defeat the American government’s and its allies’ bullying and militarism, to defeat the reactionary and terrorist political Islamic movement and to overthrow the Islamic Republic, support the struggle of the people of Iran.

Hamid Taqvaee
Secretary of WPI Central Committee
30 November 2007

Makwan Moloudzadeh is executed

Another crime by the fascist Islamic regime in Iran:

The news has just reached us. Makwan was executed last night (local time) in Dizel Abad Prison in the city of Kermanshah. Makwan’s family have just collected his body and are on their way to the city of Paveh. Around 200 cars are following in procession the car carrying the body of a youngster murdered in cold blood by a bunch of criminal thugs.

This crime must be recorded in history. Not only that the criminals in power in Iran must be indicted through international courts. Makwan had not committed any crime. He was executed for a sexual relation with a class mate when they were both 13. He was executed for homosexuality.

The International Committee Against Executions, along with several human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, launched a campaign to save Makwan. As a result of these actions, the head of the judiciary, Shahroudi, was forced to call for a review of the case, saying that the death sentence was incorrect.

According to our information, the local authorities in Paveh and Kermanshah were insistent that the death sentence should be carried out. One of the officials is reported to have said the city ‘Paveh’s youth have become too cheeky; we should execute one so that it may be a lesson to others’.

The Islamic regime executed young Makwan because it wanted to create a climate of fear. The prison authorities even said to the family of Makwan that they had been good enough not to execute him publicly.

Since the announcement of the news of Makwan’s execution at the hands of Islamic hangmen, a wave of sympathy and solidarity has swept the city.

The International Committee Against Executions strongly condemns this savage and despicable crime by the Islamic Republic, and calls on the people of Paveh and Kermanshah to extend their sympathies and support to Makwan’s family.

Our Committee will pursue this crime through international bodies so that the murderers may be prosecuted.

International Committee Against Executions
5 December 2007

Students demand Freedom and Equality and No War!

Despite the arrests and repression, students came out in large numbers to demand freedom and equality, and the freedom of political prisoners. they also came out in full force against both war and the Islamic regime of Iran.

To see student protests at Tehran University yesterday, click here.

Protest the arrest of students in Iran!

According to the news received by the Communist Youth Organisation of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran today, December 2, the police forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran has raided the residences of Anoushe Azadfar and Elnaz Jamshidi, arrested them, and taken them to an unknown place. Elnaz Jamshidi’s brother, who was inquiring about his sister’s situation, was also arrested. Mehdi Garailou, Ehsan Azadfar, and Nader Ahsani have also been arrested by the police forces. Saeed Habibi, another student activist, has also disappeared and there is no information about his whereabouts. Saeed’s family has not been able to acquire any information about him. Six student activists of Mazandaran University have also been arrested and have been taken to an unknown place. Some other students have been trapped inside the University of Tehran. The police have surrounded the university in order to arrest these students: Behrouz Karimizadeh, Peyman Piran, Bijan Sabbaq, and Behzad Baqeri.

The students have been arrested because of their activities towards the University Student Day on December 7. The main focus of the protests and meetings for this year is the arrest and torture of students and political prisoners and the United States’ military threats. Every year students and other sections of society organise meetings, demonstrations and marches that usually take place around universities.

The Islamic regime in Iran attacks any protest; it intends to oppress any resistance. Despite the regime’s brutality, students are determined to make this year’s December 7 protests and meetings larger and stronger than ever.

The Communist Youth Organisation calls upon Amnesty International and all other human rights organisations and libertarians around the world to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for the arrest of the student activists and to demand the immediate and unconditional release of them and all political prisoners.

Libertarians of the world!
Iranian students and youth are in need of your support to resist the anti-human Islamic regime in Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran should be pressured in every possible way; the regime should be flooded with protesting letters; it should be opposed through demonstrations. The anti-human activities of this regime should be condemned and should be pushed back.

Communist Youth Organisation
December 2, 2007

Taslima Nasreen’s freedom to speak and write must be protected

December 3, 2007
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain statement

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain condemns the attacks by the political Islamic movement on Taslima Nasreen in Kolkata, and calls for the vigorous prosecution of those who led the assault and threatened to kill her. It is in the context of sustained death-threats and a campaign to cancel her visa, that Ms Nasreen has now withdrawn two pages from her book, Shodh.

We further condemn the government in Bengal for responding to the Islamist mob’s demands by pressurising her to leave her adopted home in Kolkata, and we call on the Indian government to support her return to Bengal and protect her freedom to speak and write.

Gillian Gibbons must be released today

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Statement
December 1, 2007

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain calls on the British government to demand the immediate release of school teacher Gillian Gibbons. Her arrest, trial, conviction, and imprisonment in Khartoum, Sudan, for insulting Islam because she allowed her class to name a teddy bear ‘Muhammad’ reveals the inhumane nature of Shariah or Islamic Law and its incompatibility with civil rights and 21st century values.

The CEMB notes that Islamic organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain find the events in Sudan ‘embarrassing’ – as indeed all supporters of the Shariah should. But they do so on the grounds that no insult to Islam was intended by Ms Gibbons. This implies that had an insult been perpetrated, it would have been deemed a crime and punishable according to the Shariah, which could have resulted in 40 lashes or worse. Recent death threats against apostates or the case of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad two years ago are some examples of how any criticism is deemed offensive or insulting. Islamists will not hesitate to use Islamic law where possible or other violent means to stifle such criticism. In line with this, they have been aggressively campaigning for a law on incitement to religious hatred in the UK, which will severely curtail freedom of expression.

The CEMB strongly defends freedom of expression, which crucially implies the freedom of criticism of all beliefs and ideologies including religion. Wherever this precious principle is abandoned, the appalling vista of the imprisonment of an innocent teacher, and the baying for her blood by Islamists, becomes a frightening reality.