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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Human Rights in Iran Focus of Symposium

May 19, 2000

EAGLE ROCK — A nonprofit Iranian watchdog organization will hold a daylong symposium Saturday at Occidental College on reports of human rights abuses in the Middle Eastern country.

The symposium, which is free and runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at Thorne Hall, will feature Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), scholars and human rights activists. Five former political prisoners from Iran will also speak about their experiences.

The event is being sponsored by the Mission for the Establishment of Human Rights in Iran, a group based on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Mohammad Parvin, head of the group, said the gathering is intended to underscore reports that Iranians are still tortured and killed for their political and religious beliefs--despite President Mohammad Khatami's overtures toward reforming the conservative Islamic government.

Parvin said that even under Khatami, only candidates approved by the mullahs can run for office.

"We want to send a message to the whole community in general that we want a Democratic society based on a secular government," Parvin said. "The religious government is not going to make any improvements in human right."

For more information, call (310) 377-4590 or (714) 429-5810 or visit the organization's web site at http://www.mehr.org.

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