Saturday, January 21, 2006

A web witness to Iranian brutality

Washington Post - Enter the Web site: . Click on "Omid: A Memorial," and then "Search." Enter a name -- or a religion, a nationality, an alleged crime. One by one, the stories will transfix you.

Atefeh Rajabi , a 16-year-old schoolgirl: Executed by hanging in Neka, Aug. 15, 2004, for "acts incompatible with chastity."

Azizullah Gulshani : Executed by the state in Mashad , April 29, 1982, for "promoting the dirty, non-Islamic sect of Bahaism."

...Many of the entries are frustrating. There is "no information on this case," or else the information -- from official sources, exile groups, human rights groups -- is sparse. Dates are missing, photographs are missing, and although the site has English and Farsi links to nearly 10,000 political victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran, thousands more haven't even been entered yet.

But this, say Ladan and Roya Boroumand, is only the beginning: Their "Omid" Web site, named for the word "hope" in Farsi, is a living project that will expand as relatives of the victims of the Iranian Islamic regime add to it, correct it, change it. The launch today -- on the 25th anniversary of the Iranian students' release of American hostages -- is in part a bid for the support and the readers they need to expand the site further. It's also a bid for successors. "If the regime kills us," explains Ladan matter-of-factly, "we hope someone else will take up the task."