Monday, June 22, 2009

Petition to the UNO and the EU

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Petition for the release of all Iranians, particularly the university students, who have been inhumanely and unlawfully arrested across Iran since the June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential elections and the ensuing nation-wide demonstrations!

The Iranian people have taken to the streets after massive fraud staged in the June 12, 2009, Iranian presidential elections. Since that fateful day, there are daily incidents of bloody aggression against civilian demonstrators by various government elements, including the ‘Basij’ militia forces as well as official and undercover police. But the brutality is not limited to the streets. So far, several universities across Iran have been attacked by special guard forces. University students have not only been brutally beaten and forcefully arrested without presentation of any warrants, but their place of detention remains unknown. At Teheran University alone, seven students were killed, and more than 300 students were arrested. There is no information about their whereabouts. Based on the massive scale and specificity of these raids, it appears that these inhumane attacks were planned in advance.

We, as former and current university students, are deeply concerned about the life and well-being of our fellow humans, our beloved people in the Iranian prisons and we ask the UN and the EU not to remain silent as the most basic of human rights are at this very moment being violated in the most abhorrent manner. Your silence is nothing less than a seal of approval, a guarantee of the visible and invisible bloodshed in Iran; violent dehumanization that without conscientious condemnation and meaningful, practical resistance is sure not only to continue in Iran, but make complicit all those around the world who stand by in silence. The violation of human rights and human dignity knows no race, ethnicity, religion, gender or nationality; it knows no border! The UN and EU are today recognized as esteemed beacons of the protection of human rights. They are the official and respected voice of human dignity for those without a voice, those who like the innocent Iranian university st

udents whose fate remains unknown and their very lives in danger. To stand by as gross violations are propagated against our fellow humans makes each one of us, including the EU and UN as esteemed international bodies, complicit in the violation of human rights. Complacency is the only way that such inhumanity can spread, can escape those bleak secret detention centers where students are currently being held and enter into our own societies, families, and individual lives. Let us not allow complacency and inaction be our choice in this decisive moment. We, as former and current university students, who by virtue of our fortunate circumstances are at this crucial hour able to express the voice of our conscience, ask that the EU and UN take responsible action and issue a robust response by calling for the immediate release of all the innocent Iranian university students brutally rounded up and unlawfully detained in secret detention centres. Let us makes sure that the honouring of human dignity and the protection of human rights, not dehumanization, is what spreads from land to land, regardless of border, in this one world of ours.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The truth will set you free

April 21, 2008

Edmund Cardoni: (716) 854-1694
Lucia Sommer: (716) 359-3061


Buffalo, NY—A process that has taken nearly four years may be coming to an end. On Monday, April 21, Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled to dismiss the indictment against University at Buffalo Professor of Visual Studies Dr. Steven Kurtz.

In June 2004, Professor Kurtz was charged with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud stemming from an exchange of $256 worth of harmless bacteria with Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Dr. Kurtz planned to use the bacteria in an educational art exhibit about biotechnology with his award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble.

Professor Kurtz' lawyer, Paul Cambria, said that his client was "pleased and relieved that this ordeal may be coming to an end."

The prosecution has the right to appeal this dismissal. How the prosecution will proceed is unknown at this time. If an appeal were undertaken the case would move to the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.

Lucia Sommer, Coordinator of the CAE Defense Fund, which raises funds for Kurtz' legal defense, said, “We are all grateful that after reviewing this case, Judge Arcara took appropriate action.” She added that "this decision is further testament to our original statements that Dr. Kurtz is completely innocent and never should have been charged in the first place."


Critical Art Ensemble (which Kurtz co-founded in 1987 with Steven Barnes) has won numerous awards for its bio-art, including the prestigious 2007 Andy Warhol Foundation Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant, honoring more than two decades of distinguished work. The group has been commissioned to exhibit and perform in many of the world's cultural institutions—including the London Museum of Natural History; The ICA, London; the Whitney Museum and the New Museum in NYC; the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, DC; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; der Volksbüne, Berlin; ZKM, Karlsruhe; El Matadero, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Museo de Arte Carrilo Gil, Mexico City and many more.

For more information about the case, please visit: