Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari

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Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari
Born 1950 (age 63–64)
Nationality Iranian
Occupation Journalist and editor
Religion Islam

Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari (born 1950) is an Iranian cleric, researcher, journalist, reformist and former political prisoner. He has been described as "an active supporter of the revolution"[1] who became "an outspoken and influential critic of the current Iranian version of theocracy."

Career[edit]

Eshkevari was the founder and director of the Ali Shariati Research Centre.[2] He was also contributing editor of the newspaper Iran-e Farda, which was banned in April 2000. He was a prolific contributor to the Great Encyclopedia of Islam, and an editor of the Encyclopedia of the Shia, both edited in Tehran.

Controversy[edit]

On 5 August 2000, Eshkevari was arrested after returning from the 'Iran After the Elections' Conference held in Berlin April 7–9, 2000, in Berlin, Germany. At the conference, Eshkevari was quoted as saying

Even if Khatami ... should be defeated in his work ... this time not only has democracy become the first priority, but there is an unprecedented consensus among the intellectual and the political elites ... the historical time of despotism is over in Iran.[3]

Eshkevari’s trial was held behind closed doors between 7 and 17 October 2000 in the Special Court for the Clergy. He is believed to have been convicted of "acting against national security" in connection with a speech he gave at the conference, "defaming government officials in articles", "starting a campaign against the system", and "denying and insulting the holy religion of Islam". In addition he was charged with "declaring war on God", "being corrupt on earth" (Mofsed-e-filarz), and apostasy – all of which carry the death penalty – but these three charges were overturned. New charges of ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic’ and ‘insulting top-rank officials’ were filed against him at the Special Court for the Clergy, for which he received a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment on 17 October 2002. He was released from prison on 6 February 2005.[4]

In 2002 he was convicted in the Special Court for the Clergy for a number of charges including "spreading lies, insulting Islamic sanctities."[5] He was defrocked by the Islamic Republic and served four years in prison before and after his conviction. During the crackdown on protests over the 2009 presidential elections in Iran, Eshkevari fled to Germany to seek political asylum.[6]

Views[edit]

Eshkevari spoke out against the 2009 presidential elections, which, he is convinced, were rigged.[7][8]

In 2010, he advocated a secular governmental system in Iran, for which, he suggests, the original draft of the 1979 constitution could serve as a blueprint.[9] In 2011 at a conference of Iran scholars and experts in Berlin, he attacked the Ahmadinejad administration, stating that it had "crossed almost all political and religious lines," and that the Iranian regime was so deeply at odds with Shia tradition, it ultimately threatening to "destroy Islam, the government and the country."[6]

Works[edit]

(in Persian)

  • A Hundred Years of Iranian History 1879–1979 (Qom 1974)
  • Justice in the Monotheistic Worldview (Qom 1975)
  • Broken Idols: An Analysis of the Foundations of Twentieth Century Civilization (Qom 1977)
  • A Review of the Study of Creation: Issues in Islamic Anthropology (Tehran 1997)
  • Religious Revivalism: Analysis and Criticism of the Contemporary Islamic Movement: Interviews with ten political-cultural figures (Tehran, first edition 1998, second edition 1999)
  • Wisdom in the Feast of Religion (Tehran 2000)
  • Remembering the Days: Political Approaches of the Reformist Movement in Iran (Tehran 2000)
  • Solitary Reflections: A Prelude to Iranian Hermeneutics (2003)
  • A Critique of Religious Discourse ( a translation of a book by Nasr Abu Zaid) (2004)
  • Letters from Prison to my Daughters (2004)[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]