Political Punch-ups


If you’re not fighting, you’re not trying

“In a democracy, people usually get the kind of government they deserve, and they deserve what they get.” ~ Hunter Thompson

I am allergic to politics and politicians. I can never understand why some people like to fuss and fawn over them. At times it’s almost like hero worship, yet they are supposed to be servants of the public. All the scandals about politicians lying and cheating their way through life only reinforce my negative feelings. To further prove my point, here – in no particular order because there is no point trying to choose between them – are some examples of politicians behaving badly.

2013 – Venezuela

Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges arrives with a bruised face to his political party’s headquarters

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=66G-L1N7xzQ]

2011 – Italy

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Claudio Barbato, left, a member of the opposition FLI party, fights with Fabio Ranieri, right, from the Northern League in Italy’s parliament in Rome. Photograph: Ansa/Reuters

2005 – Russia

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Members of the Rodina (Motherland) faction fight with deputies of the Russian Liberal-Democratic party during the State Duma session in Moscow in 2005. The Liberal-Democrats protested what they described as violations in the course of elections to the legislature of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area and staged a walkout. As they made for the doors, some of them clashed with members of the Rodina party. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

2006 – Czech Republic

Political fights: political fisticuffs

The then Czech health minister, David Rath, in a punch-up with his right-wing rival, Miroslav Macek, during a meeting of disgruntled dentists in Prague. Macek, a presidential adviser and former deputy PM who is also a dentist, broke off an address to slap Rath hard on the back of the head. Rath responded by calling him a coward and the two men traded blows

2009 – Bolivia

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Bolivian opposition congressman Fernando Rodriguez, right, battles with an unidentified indigenous deputy of President Evo Morales’s party during a congress session in La Paz in 2009 Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

2012 – Macedonia

In Macedonia, violent brawling broke out in parliament over the 2013 budget. Police in riot gear had to be called in to break up the fight.

Macedonian deputies and members of opposition Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) rescue fellow party member Vesna Bendevska (C) during a clash with Parliament security as they try to protect parliament speaker Trajko Veljanovski in Skopje December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Viktor Popovski

2011 – Kuwait

Kuwaiti Shiite and Sunni MPs fight during a heated parliament debate over inmates in the US Guantanamo detention centre. Yasser al Zayyat / AFP Photo

Kuwaiti Shiite and Sunni MPs fight during a heated parliament debate over inmates in the US Guantanamo detention centre. Yasser al Zayyat / AFP Photo

2010 – Ukraine

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Ukrainian opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers fight against each other during ratification of the Black Sea fleet deal with Russia, in parliament in Kiev, in 2010. Ukraine’s parliament voted to extend Russia’s lease of a Crimean naval port for the Black Sea fleet in a chaotic session during which eggs and smoke bombs were thrown Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc5zLmn8D0E]

2010 – Mauritania

MPs Jamil Ould Mansour and Slama Ould Abdellahi manhandling each other after exchanging insults and profanities during a parliamentary session on the civil status law.

MPs Jamil Ould Mansour and Slama Ould Abdellahi manhandling each other after exchanging insults and profanities during a parliamentary session on the civil status law.

2009 – South Korea

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party react as they fall down during scuffles with parliament security guards in Seoul

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party react as they fall down during scuffles with parliament security guards in Seoul

See also: Brawling Legislators in South Korea – Photo Essay – TIME

2007 – 2010 – Taiwan

Taipei reform bill

Taipei, Taiwan: Parliament dissolved into chaos over an electoral reform bill.

Taipei reform bill

Taipei, Taiwan 2007: Rival legislators exchanged punches and jostled violently for position around the speaker’s dais.

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Taiwanese ruling and opposition lawmakers brawl as discussions start on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement planned with China in 2010, in Taipei. Pro-and anti-government lawmakers exchanged punches and threw garbage bins at each other in a raucous session in Taiwan’s legislature, after the speaker rejected an opposition bid to conduct a detailed debate on the contentious trade pact with China Photograph: Wally Santana/AP

News from Iran – Week 14 – 2012


News of the Prisoners

B- Arrests/Incarcerations

  • Blogger Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour is back in Ahvaz prison after a short time out on furlough for Norooz.
  • Civil activist Morteza Avazpour has been arrested in Tabriz .
  • Journalist Mehran Faraji reported to Evin today to start serving his 6 months sentence.
  • Milad Karimi member of Kurdish Democratic Students League reported to Sanandaj prison to start serving his 6 months sentence.
  • Journalist Mehdi Mahmoudian is back in prison after 6 days out on furlough.
  • Ahmad Miri back in Babol prison after a short furlough for Norooz holidays.
  • Baha’i Eighan Shahidi currently out on bail has been summoned to Evin to start serving his 5 years sentence.
  • Alireza Shahiri back in Babol prison after a short furlough for Norooz holidays.
  • Furlough extension for journalist Ahmad Zeydabadi was denied, he is back in Evin.
  • Iran arrest of dozens of young boys and girls who participated in a mixed party organized via Facebook -near Noshahr.
  • Government forces have reportedly arrested 50 farmers in the Arab regions of Iran protesting land grab.
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard arrests 40 Kurdish residents of a village outside of Khoy.


  • Popular singer Arya Aramnejad’s furlough has been converted to permanent release from prison by a judicial order.
  • Peyman Aref has been released from prison.
  • Baha’i Erfan Shojaei has been released on bail after 1 month detention in Kerman prison.
  • Khamenei pardons 1002 prisoners.

D-Other News

  • Journalist Ehsan Houshmand beaten during interrogation.
  • Kurdish death row prisoner Shirkoo Moarefi is on hunger strike in Saghez prison. He has been moved to solitary.
  • Fahkrolsadat Mohtashami Pour, wife of political prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh, writes of husband’s hardship to Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani.

News of injustice in Iran

  • Human Rights activist, member of MourningMothers Mansoureh Behkish sentenced to 4,5 years in prison.
  • Azari civil activist Naser Derazshamshir has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years.
  • Mohammad Hardani, from Iran’s Arab minority, was sentenced to 10 years in prison because of his cultural activities.
  • Iranian journalist working for Shargh newspaper, Reyhaneh Tabatabaei, sentenced to one year jail.

University  – Culture

  • Pursuing an Islamization program, Iran to ban dancing and singing in preschools.
  • New satellite raid reported in Tehran, Ekbatan.
  • Iran to cut off access to world wide web internet by August.
  • Iran’s international English Channel, Press TV removed from SES Astra.


  • On Thursday, March 15th around 80 former prisoners of war gathered in front of the northern gate of parliament to protest a lack of aid.
  • A number of farmers in the cities of Malasani and Veys gathered to protest new regulations by the Power and Water Organization about irrigation on their lands.
  • Medical students protest in front of health ministry and parliament.

Economy in Iran

  • VAT increased in Persian New Year from 4% to 5%, will continue growing 1% per year per quinquennial plan.
  • 1$ = 1903 Tomans / 1€ = 2550 Tomans.
  • Iran Central Bank withdraws money from Iran’s banks again.
  • Oil negotiations between Tehran and Pretoria hit a dead end and exports to South Africa stop.
  • Uruguay’s Agriculture Minister: We are willing to barter oil for rice.
  • IranAir intends to purchase three Boeing 747-300s through the Emirates. The airplanes that been provided to IranAir were actually sold to an unnamed Gambian company. The Al-Sayegh (Kyrgyzstan based) company currently has two other Boeing 747-300s in its fleet, and both are in storage. They are scheduled to be sold to Iran in May. These two airplanes have been registered in Burkina Faso and were in operation until late 2010 by Centrafrique Air Express.
  • Greece refiner Hellenic Petroleum stops Iran oil buys, banking a problem.
  • The Hyundai Motor Company, South Korean conglomerate, quietly ended its business dealings with Iran.
  • 650 of ‘Shahab Automobile’ workers were fired for their demands in last year.
  • 200 of Steel Company workers, were fired.
  • Emergency meeting of Majlis Economic Committees to submit plan regarding government violation of law in implementation of second stage of subsidy reform law.
  • Domestically grown apples and oranges in Iran rotting in storage because of fruit imports.

Iran  abroad

Hatoyama Yukio 日本語: 鳩山由紀夫

  • Germany stops shipment of 2.5 kilograms of execution drug sodium thiopental to Iran.
  • Khamenei: “Iran opposes any foreign intervention in Syria”.
  • 12 Iranian citizens, including five Iranian engineers, who were abducted by Syrian opposition forces in Syria, were released.
  • Iran summons Turkey ambassador.
  • Main insurance firms in China refuse to insure oil tankers from Iran.
  • Lebanon: Iranian traces in attempted assassination of Christian leader.
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama heads to Iran. 
  • Iran promotes ally to replace aging spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiites.

Politics in Iran

  • Ahmadinejad met with Assad’s special envoy, strongly backed the Syrian regime.
  • Erdogan meetings in Tehran were a disaster, Shargh reports. Major divergence on Syria.
  • Minister of Labor and Social Security has been summoned to Parliament; he may be impeached.
  • Fars News Agency sharply attacks Rafsanjani statements calling for talks with the US.
  • Iran purchases high tech surveillance equipment and Internet filters from China.
  • 1,200 new employees to be recruited for the Foreign Ministry.
  • In 2 regions, Ramsar and Damavand, parliamentary elections for 9th Majlis were voided without an explanation.
  • Second round of SMS asking people to “voluntarily” give up their subsidies.


  • Threat of losing fertile land because of unprecedented increase in Karun River salinity in Khouzestan province.
  • 200 tons of corrupted meat discovered in Tehran province.
  • IRGC’s dam breaks in rural area, government denies damage.
  • Iranian Navy said they captured 13 pirates in the Indian Ocean after they tried to seize cargo ship heading for Iran.
  • Afghans living in Iran were banned from a public park; Iranians take to Facebook to condemn racism.
  • Concerns rise again: water level of Lake Urmia dropped by about five centimetres.
  • Hossein Vafaei (17 years old) will make history as the first professional snooker player from Iran.
  • 210% increase in the number of unhealthy days in the Capital of Iran, Tehran.
  • Historic Christian cemetery in Kerman, more than 200 years olds,  destroyed by local authorities and Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Fish For Dinner? The Fruits of Slave Labor

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On March 25, 2011, Yusril became a slave. That afternoon he went to the East Jakarta offices of Indah Megah Sari (IMS), an agency that hires crews to work on foreign fishing vessels. He was offered a job on the Melilla 203, a South Korea-flagged ship that trawls in the waters off New Zealand. “Hurry up,” said the agent, holding a pen over a thick stack of contracts in a windowless conference room with water-stained walls. Waving at a pile of green Indonesian passports of other prospective fishermen, he added: “You really can’t waste time reading this. There are a lot of others waiting, and the plane leaves tomorrow.”

Yusril is 28, with brooding looks and a swagger that belies his slight frame. (Yusril asked that his real name not be used out of concern for his safety.) He was desperate for the promised monthly salary of $260, plus bonuses, for unloading fish. His wife was eight months pregnant, and he had put his name on a waiting list for the job nine months earlier. After taking a daylong bus ride to Jakarta, he had given the agent a $225 fee he borrowed from his brother-in-law, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Feb. 27 edition. The agent rushed him through signing the contracts, at least one of which was in English, which Yusril does not read.

The terms of the first contract, the “real” one, would later haunt him. In it, IMS spelled out terms with no rights. In addition to the agent’s commission, Yusril would surrender 30 percent of his salary, which IMS would hold unless the work was completed. He would be paid nothing for the first three months, and if the job were not finished to the fishing company’s satisfaction, Yusril would be sent home and charged more than $1,000 for the airfare. The meaning of “satisfactory” was left vague. The contract said only that Yusril would have to work whatever hours the boat operators demanded.

Locked In

The last line of the contract, in bold, warned that Yusril’s family would owe nearly $3,500 if he were to run away from the ship. The amount was greater than his net worth, and he had earlier submitted title to his land as collateral for that bond. Additionally, he had provided IMS with the names and addresses of his family members. He was locked in.

What followed, according to Yusril and several shipmates who corroborated his story, was an eight-month ordeal aboard the Melilla 203, during which Indonesian fishermen were subjected to physical and sexual abuse by the ship’s operators. Their overlords told them not to complain or fight back, or they would be sent home, where the agents would take their due. Yusril and 23 others walked off in protest when the trawler docked in Lyttelton, New Zealand. The men have seen little if any of what they say they are owed. Such coerced labor is modern-day slavery, as the United Nations defines the crime. (The South Korean owners of the Melilla ships did not respond to requests for comment.)

Debt Bondage

The experiences of the fishermen on the Melilla 203 were not unique. In a six-month investigation, Bloomberg Businessweek found cases of debt bondage on the Melilla 203 and at least nine other ships that have operated in New Zealand’s waters. As recently as November 2011, fish from the Melilla 203 and other suspect vessels were bought and processed by United Fisheries, New Zealand’s eighth-largest seafood company, which sold the same kinds of fish in that period to distributors operating in the U.S. (The U.S. imports 86 percent of its seafood.) The distributors in turn sold the fish to major U.S. companies. Those companies — which include some of the country’s biggest retailers and restaurants — sold the seafood to American consumers.

Yusril’s story and that of nearly two dozen other survivors of abuse reveal how the $85 billion global fishing industry profits from the labor of people forced to work for little or no pay, often under the threat of violence. Although many U.S. seafood companies and retailers claim not to do business with suppliers who exploit their workers, the truth is far murkier.

Musty Quarters

Hours after Yusril arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand, the Melilla 203 officers put him to work unloading squid on the 193- foot, 26-year-old trawler. The ship was in bad shape, and the quarters were musty, as the vessel had no functioning dryer for crew linens or work clothes. Yet the conditions seemed comparatively decent to Yusril.

Two years earlier he had worked on the Dong Won 519, operating under the auspices of Sanford Ltd., a 130-year-old, $383 million New Zealand company. On that boat, Yusril says the officers hit him in the face with fish and the boatswain repeatedly kicked him in the back for using gloves when he was sewing the trawl nets in cold weather. Most unnervingly, the second officer would crawl into the bunk of Yusril’s friend at night and attempt to rape him. When asked for comment, Chief Executive Officer Eric Barratt said Sanford’s observers, which the company placed on all their foreign-chartered vessels (FCVs), reported that the ships “don’t have any issues with labor abuse.”

Conditions Worsen

When the Melilla 203 set sail for the deep waters of the Southern Ocean, conditions worsened, according to the accounts of Yusril and a dozen other crew members. The ship trawled for up to two months at a time, between 12 and 200 miles offshore. The boatswain would grab crew members’ genitals as they worked or slept. When the captain of the ship drank, he molested some of the crew, kicking those who resisted. As nets hauled in the catch — squid, ling, hoki, hake, grouper, southern blue whiting, jack mackerel, and barracuda — the officers shouted orders from the bridge. They often compelled the Indonesians to work without proper safety equipment for up to 30 hours, swearing at them if they so much as asked for coffee or a bathroom break. Even when fishermen were not hauling catches, 16-hour workdays were standard.


The resulting fatigue meant accidents, which could bring dismemberment in the cramped below-deck factory where the fish were headed and gutted by hand, then passed along conveyor belts to be frozen. Over the past decade at least two crew members of the Melilla ships have died, according to local newspaper accounts and reports by Maritime New Zealand, a government regulatory body. Dozens of Melilla crew members suffered injuries, some crippling.

When Ruslan, 36, a friend of Yusril’s on the 203, snapped two bones in his left hand in a winch, it took three weeks before he was allowed to go to a hospital. The morning after his discharge he was ordered back to work but could not carry out his duties. The company removed him before any follow-up medical appointments. “I was a slave, but then I became useless to the Koreans, so they sent me home with nothing,” he says.

Today, back in his home village in Central Java, Ruslan has a deformed hand. While IMS, the recruiting agency, finally paid him $335 for three months of work, it has blacklisted him, according to Ruslan, because he spoke to investigators, and it has refused to help with medical bills.

Ecological Infractions

During the last decade, New Zealand authorities repeatedly fined or seized the Melilla ships for ecological infractions, such as a 2005 oil discharge in Lyttelton (LPC) Harbor, which the country monitored by satellite and occasional inspections by Ministry of Fisheries observers. Crimes against humanity were secondary. Scott Gallacher, a spokesman for New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (which merged with the Ministry of Fisheries in July), explained that “observers are not formally tasked” with assisting abused crew, though they may report abuses to the Department of Labour. Yet Yusril said that when he once whispered a plea for help, an observer expressed sympathy but said it was “not my job.”

New Zealand authorities had plenty of prior evidence of deplorable working conditions on foreign vessels like the Melilla. On Aug. 18, 2010, in calm seas, a Korean-flagged trawler called the Oyang 70 sank, killing six. Survivors told the crew of the rescuing vessel their stories of being trafficked. A report by Christina Stringer and Glenn Simmons, two researchers at the University of Auckland Business School, and Daren Coulston, a mariner, uncovered numerous cases of abuse and coercion among the 2,000 fishermen on New Zealand’s 27 FCVs.

New Zealand Inquiry

The report prompted the government to launch a joint inquiry. The researchers gathered testimony from New Zealand observers who saw abuses being committed even after they had boarded ships. “Korean officers are vicious bastards,” one observer said, as quoted in the report. The source said a factory manager “rapped” a 12-kilogram (26 pounds) stainless steel pan over a crew member’s head, splitting the top of it, with blood “pissing out everywhere.” The observer said he gave the Indonesian fisherman 26 stitches.

After eight months on the Melilla 203, Yusril and 23 other crew members protested their treatment and pay to the captain. The move came after a Department of Labour investigator visited the ship in November 2011, when it was docked in Lyttelton. The official gave Yusril a fact sheet stipulating that crew members were entitled to minimum standards of treatment under New Zealand law, including pay of at least $12 per hour. When deductions, agency fees, and a manipulated exchange rate were subtracted, the fishermen were averaging around $1 per hour.

Retribution Threats

The captain dismissed the document and threatened to send them home to face retribution from the recruiting agency. Believing that the New Zealand government would protect them from such a fate, Yusril and all but four of the Indonesian crew walked off the boat and sought refuge in Lyttelton Union Parish Church. Aided by two local pro bono lawyers, they decried months of flagrant human rights abuses and demanded their unpaid wages under New Zealand’s Admiralty Act.

Ten miles from Lyttelton, in neighboring Christchurch, stands the headquarters of United Fisheries, the company that exclusively purchased the fish that Yusril and his mates caught. The building features gleaming Doric columns topped with friezes of chariot races. It was designed to resemble the temples to Aphrodite in Cyprus, the homeland of United founder Kypros Kotzikas.

‘High Standard’

The patriarch started in New Zealand with a small fish-and- chip restaurant. Some 40 years later, his son, Andre, 41, runs a company that had some $66 million in revenue last year. Although three Melilla crew members, citing abuse, had run away nine days before I spoke with Kotzikas, he told me he had heard of no complaints from crew on board the ships, and he had personally boarded the vessels to ensure that the conditions “are of very high standard.”

“I don’t think that claims of slavery or mistreatment can be attached to foreign charter vessels that are operating here in New Zealand,” he said. “Not for responsible operators.”

In an e-mail, Peter Elms, a fraud and compliance manager with Immigration New Zealand, cited a police assessment that found that complaints from crews amounted to nothing more than disputes over work conditions, alleged minor assaults, intimidation, workplace bullying and non-payment of wages. Elms said his department had two auditors who visited each vessel every two or three years, and they had found nothing rising to the level of human trafficking, a crime punishable in New Zealand by up to 20 years in prison.

‘Beautiful Stuff’

Kotzikas said that while New Zealand’s labor laws are “a thousand pages of, you know, beautiful stuff,” he believed they did not necessarily apply beyond New Zealand’s 12-mile territorial radius.

Half of United Fisheries’ annual revenue is generated outside New Zealand, spread across five continents. In the U.S., which imports an estimated $14.7 billion worth of fish annually, regulators are beginning to pay attention to the conditions under which that food is caught.

The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, as of Jan. 1, requires all retailers with more than $100 million in global sales to publicly disclose their efforts to monitor and combat slavery in their supply chains. The law covers some 3,200 corporations that do business in the state, including several that trade in seafood.

Kotzikas said his company sold ling, a species of fish which is also caught by the Melilla crews, to Costco Wholesale Corp, America’s largest wholesaler and the world’s seventh- largest retailer.

Risking Punishment

Another New Zealand company with ties to U.S. retailers is Sanford, the country’s second-largest seafood enterprise. On Nov. 3, I interviewed crew members of the Dong Won and Pacinui vessels, charters catching fish for Sanford, near the docks at Lyttelton. These men risked punishment by speaking out: Less than a week earlier three Pacinui crew members who had complained were sent back to Indonesia to face the recruiters.

A Dong Won deckhand said he felt like a slave as he simulated a Korean officer kicking him on the ground. Their contracts, issued by IMS and two other Indonesian agents, were nearly identical to those signed by the Melilla crew. They reported the same pay rates, false contracts, doctored time sheets and similar hours, daily abuse, intimidation, and threats to their families if they walked away.


After several desertions over the past decade, New Zealand labor audits of the Dong Won ships turned up some of the same complaints. In 2010, Sanford assured the government that it would improve oversight of foreign-chartered vessels and address allegations of abuse or wage exploitation. Barratt, Sanford’s CEO, said observers of his company’s foreign vessels did not find instances of abuse and that three deported Pacinui crew had returned voluntarily.

According to Barratt, his company exports to the U.S. through at least 16 seafood distributors, the majority through Mazzetta Co LLC, a $425 million corporation based in suburban Chicago that is the largest American importer of New Zealand fish. Mazzetta sells the same species caught on the Dong Won and Pacinui ships to outlets across the country. On Feb. 21, after the publication of an online version of this article, CEO Tom Mazzetta sent Barratt a letter demanding an investigation of labor practices on Sanford’s foreign-chartered vessels.

Sanford also sells to the $10 billion supermarket chain Whole Foods Market Inc, Barratt said. Whole Foods spokeswoman Ashley Hawkins said that “for proprietary reasons we cannot reveal who we source from for our exclusive brand products.”

‘In Compliance

Asked about allegations that FCVs in New Zealand employ slave labor, Hawkins said Whole Foods is “in compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, New Zealand is not considered high-risk.”

Other buyers of Sanford’s fish include Nova Scotia-based High Liner Foods Inc, which sells products containing the same seafood as that caught by the indentured fishermen on the Dong Won and Pacinui ships. High Liner’s customers include U.S. retailers such as Safeway Inc, America’s second-largest grocery store chain, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer. When alerted by Bloomberg Businessweek, spokespeople for both retailers pledged swift investigations. Alastair Macfarlane, a representative of New Zealand’s Seafood Industry Council, declined to comment on which American companies might be buying fish from troubled vessels such as the Melilla 203.

Tainted Fish

However, an analysis of several sources of data –including New Zealand fishery species quota and FCV catch totals made available by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry –suggests roughly 40 percent of squid exported from New Zealand is caught on one of the vessels using coerced labor. Perhaps 15 percent of all New Zealand hoki exports may be slave-caught, and 8 percent of the country’s southern blue whiting catch may be tainted.

Despite the prevalence of foreign-chartered vessels, which in 2010 earned $274.6 million in export revenue and hauled in 62.3 percent of New Zealand’s deepwater catch, some companies have determined they are not worth the risk.

“The reputational damage is immeasurable,” says Andrew Talley, director of Talley’s Group, New Zealand’s third-largest fishing company, which submits to third-party audits on its labor standards, a condition of its contract to supply McDonald’s Corp with hoki for its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.

‘Hard-Earned’ Reputation

“New Zealand seafood enjoys a hard-earned and world- leading reputation as a responsible fisheries manager, with a product range and quality to match,” says Talley. “There is nothing responsible at all about using apparently exploitative and abusive FCVs.”

The main thoroughfare that bisects Yusril’s Central Java village feeds into a chain of divided tollways that run all the way to Jakarta. Travelers along the road quickly leave the briny air of the fishing kampungs and pass through green rice paddies dotted with water buffalo and trees bearing swollen, spiky jackfruit. Sixty years ago, Yusril’s grandfather worked that land. Today, thousands journey along the highway to seek new lives.

When I found him last December, Yusril was back in his in- laws’ modest home, tucked well off a side road. He was out of work and brainstorming ways to scratch out a living by returning to his father’s trade, farming. IMS, the recruiting agency in Jakarta, had blacklisted him and was refusing to return his birth certificate, his basic safety training credentials, and his family papers. It was also withholding pay, totaling around $1,100. In total, Yusril had been paid an average of 50¢ an hour on the Melilla 203. (An IMS attorney did not respond to repeated e-mails requesting comment. When I showed up at the agency’s offices in Jakarta, a security guard escorted me out.)

Two of the 24 men who walked off the Melilla 203 returned to work on the ship rather than face deportation. The ship’s representatives flew the remaining 22 resisters back to Indonesia. When they returned to Central Java, the resisters say they were coerced by IMS into signing documents waiving their claims to redress for human rights violations in exchange for their originally stipulated payments of $500 to $1,000. Yusril was one of two who held out. On Jan. 21, when I last spoke to him, I asked why he had refused to sign the document.

“Dignity,” said Yusril, pointing to his heart.

From an article by E. Benjamin Skinner – Mar 30, 2012

News from Iran – Week 12 – 2012


News of the Prisoners


  • Kurdish political prisoner Habibollah Golparipour transferred to solitary in Oroumiyeh prison
  • Political prisoner Mohammad Ali Velayati on hunger strike since 3/14 has been moved to Evin 240 solitary.

B- Arrests/Incarcerations

  • Kambiz Habibi, and Kavoos Samimi, Baha’i from Shiraz arrested and sent to Intel. Detention center.
  • Political prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh is back in Evin after only one day out on furlough.
  • 70 Kurds arrested in Dehgolan and Kermashah in Nowrooz fests


  • Amir Bahmani , Rajabali Dashab, Hamidreza Eizadyari, Hassan Faraji, Behzad Houshmand, Mohsen Javadi Afzali, Hamzeh Karami, Mehdi Karimian Eghbal, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Omid Norouzian, Didar Raoufi, Hamid Reza Khadem, Ali Goudarzi and Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh on five days furlough for Norooz.
  • 63 years old political prisoner Abolfazl Ghadyani has been released on bail on furlough.
  • Political prisoner Hamid Reza (Mahan) Mohammadi has been released on furlough.
  • Labor activist Ali Nejati has been released on medical furlough.
  • Navid Nabili, Behnaz Hadadzadeh and Fataneh Hajipour, Baha’i, released on bail from Mashhad prison.
  • Journalist Seyyed Ali Mousavi Khalkhali has been released on bail.
  • Dr. Mehdi Khazali has been released on day 70 of his hunger strike.
  • Political prisoner Abbas Esfandiyari has been released from prison after completing five years sentence.
  • Arya Aramnejad, political prisoner and singer, was released.
  • Koohyar Gourdarzi’s mother Parvin Mokhtari has been released after 8 months in prison.
  • Advar(Alumni Association) member Moussa Saket was released from Tabriz prison last Friday after finishing 7 months term.
  • Dr Masoud Sepehr, a high-ranking member of Organization of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution and an activist reformist in Fars Province was released after four months imprisonment ahead of Norooz.

D-Other News

  • Cleric/blogger Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour in Ahvaz prison is banned from phone calls and visits.
  • Student activist Payman Aref is on hunger strike protesting his illegal detention. Bail has been set and posted but he is still detained.
  • Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, under house arrest, met with his family, without presence of Intelligence ministry agents.

    Mehdi Karroubi

    Mehdi Karroubi

News of injustice in Iran

  • Dari Amri, Baha’i  from Mashhad, sentenced to one year.
  • Gholamreza Hosseini, Workers’ Rights activist, accused of collaborating with hostile governments, gets 9 years in prison.
  • Mona Rezaei, Baha’i  from Mashhad, sentenced to one year suspended.
  • Azari activist Behnam Sheikhi has been sentenced to five years suspended sentence.

University  – Culture

  • Britain says “UK for Iranians” website, launched on Wednesday, had been blocked three days later.
  • Iranian government turns to Gmail and Yahoo for support in online crackdown.
  • Jalal Zolfonun, master of the setar, as well a composer and teacher of Persian music, passed away.
  • Ansar Hezbollah rally outside the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to protest the approval of two films.
  • Rahman Yaghubi, a student activist from Mazandaran University, was expelled from the university, one week after finishing his prison term.
  • Conservative blog Zahra HB blocked immediately after openly and vehemently criticizing closed, rigid and inflexible structure of Iranian regime.

Economy in Iran

  • UAE traders refuse all monetary transactions in Iranian currency for fear of rial’s free fall.
  • Iran central bank: Licensed exchange houses given permission to buy and sell foreign currencies.
  • In Asia, importers of Iranian oil are trying to escape European sanctions.
  • Iraq proposes its oil to Sri Lanka which imports 92% of its oil from Iran.
  • South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa cut Iranian oil imports.
  • Deputy Commerce Minister Hamid Safdel said that the import of 600 types of was temporarily banned: “The restrictions apply to goods that are either produced in Iran or for which there are no recorded statistics of import.” There is another list of 180 types of luxury items, which although not restricted, the government does not allocate a foreign exchange rate for their import.”
  • The city of Tabriz signed a 12 billion rial contract with the IRGC Rehabilitation and Construction Command to build a second Metro line in Tabriz.

Iran  abroad

  • 20 International organisations urge renewal of mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Iran.
  • US grant exemption on Iran sanctions to 10 EU countries, Japan.
  • Treasury issues subpoenas in investigation into funding for pro-MEK lobby campaign.
  • Iran accused at UN of shipping weapons to Syria.
  • Iran resumes funding Hamas.
  • India sells 3 millions tons wheat to Iran.
  • Mandate of UN Human Rights special rapporteur for Iran is extended (22-5-20)
  • Ahmadinejad will attend Norooz Festival in Tajikistan on March 24-26.
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay an official two-day visit to Iran on March 28 and 29 to inaugurate the Turkish Cultural Center in Tehran.
  • EU to add 17 Iranians to its sanctions list for Human Rights abuses.
  • EU foreign ministers agreed a ban on the export of equipment and software to Iran that can be used to monitor or intercept telecommunications.

Politics in Iran

  • Iran will hold runoff elections for 65 parliamentary seats on May 4.
  • After fiasco of “Year of economic Jihad” Khamenei declares 91 “Year of national production, support of Iran labour/investment”
  • Al Alarabiya news agency has claimed that Kamran Daneshjoo, the Iranian Science Minister, has converted to Christianity.


  • Iran removes World AIDS day from state calendar

Des Nouvelles d’Iran – Semaine 12-2012


Nouvelles des Prisonniers

A- Transferts
  • Habibollah Golparipour, prisonnier politique kurde, transféré à la prison d’Oroumieh à l’isolement.
  • Le prisonnier politique Mohammad Ali Velayati en grève de la faim depuis le 14 mars a été transféré au bloc 240 d’Evine à l’isolement.
B- Arrestations/Incarcérations
  • Kambiz Habibi, et Kavous Samimi, bahaï de Shiraz, arrêté et envoyé au centre de détention du ministère du renseignement.
  • Le prisonnier politique Mostafa Tadjzadeh de retour à Evine après seulement un jour de liberté provisoire.
  • 70 Kurdes arrêtés à Dehgolan et Kermashah lors des fêtes de Norouz.
  • Arya Aramnejad, prisonnier politique et chanteur, a été libéré.
  • Amir Bahmani, Radjabali DashabMohsen Djavadi AfzaliHamidreza Eizadyari, Hassan Faradji, Hamzeh Karami, Mehdi Karimian Eghbal, Hamid Reza Khadem, Behzad Houshmand, Ali Goudarzi, Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh, Omid Norouzian, Mostafa Tadjzadeh, Didar Raoufi en liberté provisoire pour cinq jours pour Norouz.
  • Abbas Esfandiyari, prisonnier politique a été libéré à la fin de sa peine de cinq ans.
  • Le prisonnier politique de 63 ans  Abolfazl Ghadyani en liberté provisoire sous caution.
  • Behnaz Hadadzadeh et Fataneh Hadjipour, bahaïe, libérée sous caution de la prison de Mashhad.
  • Le Docteur Mehdi Khazali a été libéré sous caution au 70ème jour de sa grève de la faim.
  • Hamid Reza (Mahan) Mohammadi, prisonnier politique, en liberté provisoire.
  • La mère de Kouhyar Gourdarzi, Parvin Mokhtari a été libérée au bout de 8 mois de prison.
  • Seyyed Ali Moussavi Khalkhali, journaliste, libéré sous caution.
  • Navid Nabili, bahaï, libéré sous caution de la prison de Mashhad.
  • Le syndicaliste Ali Nedjati libéré pour raisons médicales.
  • Le membre d’Advar(Association des anciens étudiants) Moussa Saket a été libéré de la prison de Tabriz vendredi dernier à la fin de ses 7 mois de prison.
  • Le Docteur Massoud Sepehr, membre de haut rang de l’Organisation des Moudjahiddines de la Révolution Islamique, militant de la province du Province a été relâché après quatre mois de prison avant Norouz.
D-Autres Nouvelles 
  • Le religieux et blogger Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour incarcéré à Ahvaz interdit d’appels téléphoniques et de visites.
  • Le militant étudiant Payman Aref est en grève de la faim pour protester contre sa détention illégale. Le montant de la caution a été fixé et versé mais il est toujours en détention.
  • Le chef de l’opposition Mehdi Karroubi, assigné à domicile, a rencontré sa famille hors la présence des agents du ministère du renseignement.

    Mehdi Karroubi

    Mehdi Karroubi


Nouvelles de l’injustice en Iran

  • Dari Amri, bahaï de Mashhad, condamné à un an de prison.
  • Gholamreza Hosseini, syndicaliste, accusé de collaboration avec des gouvernements hostiles, condamné à 9 ans de prison.
  • Mona Rezaï, bahaïe de Mashhad, condamnée à un an de prison avec sursis.
  • Le militant azéri Behnam Sheikhi a été condamné à cinq ans de prison avec sursis.

L’université  – La culture

  • La Grande Bretagne déclare que le site “UK for Iranians” lance mercredi a été bloqué 3 jours plus tard.
  • Le gouvernement iranien utilise Gmail et Yahoo pour sa répression online.
  • Djalal Zolfonun, maître du setar, compositeur et professeur de musique persane, est décédé.
  • Ansar Hezbollah se rassemble devant le ministère de la culture et de la guidance islamique pour protester contre l’approbation de deux films.
  • Rahman Yaghoubi, militant étudiant de l’université du Mazandaran, est expulsé de l’université, une semaine après la fin de sa peine de prison.
  • Le blog conservateur Zahra HB bloqué immédiatement après avoir critique ouvertement et de façon véhémente la structure fermée, rigide et inflexible du régime iranien.

L’économie de l’Iran

  • Les traders des Emirats refusent toute transaction monétaire en rial iranien de peur d’une chute vertigineuse de cette devise.
  • La banque centrale iranienne autorise les maisons de change officielles à acheter et vendre des devises étrangères.
  • Les importateurs asiatiques de pétrole iranien cherchent à être exemptés des sanctions européennes.
  • L’Irak propose son pétrole au Sri Lanka qui importe 92% de son pétrole d’Iran.
  • La Corée du Sud, Taiwan et l’Afrique du Sud coupent leurs importations de pétrole iranien.
  • Le Secrétaire d’Etat au Commerce Hamid Safdel déclare que l’importation de 600 articles est interdite : “Les restrictions s’appliquent à des marchandises qui sont soit produites en Iran ou pour lesquelles il n’existe pas de statistiques d’importation. ”Il existe une liste de 180 produits de luxe dont l’importations n’est pas interdite mais qui ne peuvent pas bénéficier du taux de change official pour les importer”.
  • La ville de Tabriz a signé un contrat de 12 milliards de rials avec le commandement de la réhabilitation et de la construction des gardes révolutionnaires pour construire une deuxième ligne de métro à Tabriz.

L’Iran à l’étranger

  • 20 organisations internationales demandent instamment le renouvellement du mandat du Rapporteur spécial sur la situation des droits humains en Iran.
  • Les Etats Unis exemptent 10 pays européens et le Japon des sanctions contre l’Iran.
  • Le trésor américain poursuit son enquête sur le financement de la campagne de lobby de l’OMPI par des assignations.
  • L’Iran accusé à l’ONU d’envoyer des armes à la Syrie.
  • L’Iran recommence à financer le Hamas.
  • Le mandat du rapporteur spécial des Droits Humains pour l’Iran de l’ONU est prolongé (22-5-20)
  • Ahamdinejad se rend au Tadjikistan du 24 au 26 mars pour les fêtes de Norouz.
  • Le premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan se rendra en visite officielle  du 28 au 29 mars pour inaugurer le centre culturel turc de Téhéran.
  • L’union européenne ajoute Iraniens à sa liste de sanctions pour les violations des droits humains.
  • Les ministres des affaires étrangères de l’union européenne ont adopté une interdiction d’exporter des équipements et des logiciels qui pourraient être utilisés pour surveiller ou intercepter les télécommunications.

La politique en Iran

  • Le deuxième tour des élections législatives se tiendra le 4 mai pour élire les 65 députés en ballottage.
  • Après le fiasco de “l’année du Djihad économique” Khamenei déclare 91 “l’année de la production nationale, du soutien au travail et à l’investissement iraniens”
  • L’agence de presse Al Alarabiya déclare que Kamran Daneshdjou, ministre des sciences, se serait converti au christianisme.
  • L’Inde vent 3 millions de tonnes de blé à l’Iran.

Nouvelles en vrac 

  • L’Iran retire la Journée Internationale contre le SIDA du calendrier officiel.