Teaching Tolerance of Intolerance

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Those teachers who are encouraging their students to take a more broad-minded view of radical Islamic societies may want to have a closer look at those systems themselves, particularly if they belong to teachers’ unions. “Farzad Kamangar, a 35-year-old married man and member of the Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan, was accused of ‘endangering national security’ and ‘enmity against God,’” Education International (EI) reports. “He had lived with the threat of the death penalty since February 2008, when it was imposed upon him after a sham trial that lasted less than five minutes.”

EI had received reports that he was among five summarily executed on May 9, 2010. “Although the Iranian authorities had accepted Farzad’s appeal, the case stalled when it should have been sent to the Supreme Court for review,” EI found. “After further delays, Farzad’s lawyer was told that his file had been lost.”

“Despite the evident lack of independent inquiry into the allegations and the absence of a fair judicial process, Farzad has still been reportedly executed.”

“We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear that Farzad has been executed,” EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said. “His case was particularly troubling to our 30 million members because of the opaque and secretive manner in which his trial was conducted, the lack of basic rights he had access to whilst in prison, and the fact that neither his family or legal representatives were informed of his execution.”

“This is a terrible day for teachers, union activists and human rights. EI expresses our solidarity with Farzad’s family, colleagues and students.”

“EI recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences but this must be in line with international and national standards of fair trial. EI is also unequivocal that the Iranian government must ensure respect for all trade union and human rights.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.


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