Counterpunch: Vicious Wave of Repression Sparks Global Movement to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

News from the Global Movement

Ariel Dorfman: "We should not let them down"

“Good-hearted people are constantly being bombarded with so many requests to sign petitions about important issues, that it is natural that they should feel overwhelmed, asking themselves what good will it do, wondering how one signature can possibly make a difference.

If I have signed on to the Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, it is because I know that this initiative will effectively call attention to the situation of men and women in that country who, if enough pressure is brought to bear on its leaders, could tomorrow be liberated from terrible conditions and extraordinary injustice.

And even if those leaders do not listen, I am convinced – from personal experience – that the prisoners themselves are given strength to survive and persevere, they are listening. They know others, faraway, care what happens to them, and we should not let them down.”

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Second session of the trial of 6 political defendants confirmed

June 11, 2021

According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, the time of the second session of the trial of Nahid Taghavi, Somayeh Kargar, Bahareh Soleimani, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Mehran Raouf and Elham Samimi was set. This court session will be held on Sunday, June 14, 1400, [June 13, 2021] in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari.

The first session of the court hearing their charges was held on May 28th. These citizens were arrested in October and December of last year by IRGC intelligence agents and transferred to the detention center of  Ward 2A of Evin Prison.”

#Free Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience

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Amnesty Iran to G7: Bring Them Home

June 11, 2021

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Political Prisoners: They never should have been arrested

May 31, 2021

A Statement by Supporters of Iranian Political Prisoners in Europe

"Propaganda against the state". That's one of the most frequent charges in politically-motivated imprisonments in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Translated, it means: Thinking is forbidden and talking about your thoughts is a crime. According to the Islamic Republic, those who think differently and even worse, those who think in opposition to the Regime, are a threat to its "national security." Additionally, if these thoughts are not in accordance with Sharia law, the people holding those thoughts are doubly criminalized.

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Iran’s Islamic Republic is a theocratic regime and the religious beliefs of the ruling elite are meticulously written into law. Moreover, interpretation of this law is itself a haphazard affair because there are several schools of interpretation of Sharia law and each has its own clerical authority and all of these sects have control of their own jurisdictions.

This situation makes even a pretense of the rule of law impossible, because the constitution and whatever rights which might be inscribed in that constitution are in a constant state of being interpreted and re-interpreted through the prism of Sharia law.  So there is no rule of law. There is no due process. And the prisoner is presumed to be guilty, and on the basis of this presumption of guilt, the prisoner is arrested.

After the arrest, prisoners are completely at the mercy of the whims of their interrogators. The lack of Habeas Corpus means prisoners do not have the right to appear before a court immediately and do not have the right to a lawyer.

Interrogations begin with prisoners having no contact to the outside world.  They are often accompanied by physical torture and always paired with the psychological “white torture” of isolation and sensory deprivation. In the case of women, it is accompanied by verbal and different degrees of physical sexual abuse.

This behavior is sanctioned by Sharia law as well, because according to Sharia law, a prisoner has the status of a slave who is to be used and abused.

Some prisoners are tortured by being held in solitary confinement for months and even years, blindfolded when they leave their cells, kept under 24-hour video surveillance, and subject to inhuman conditions such as sleeping on the hard stone floors of their cells without pillows.  They are often denied access to medical care.  All this is designed to destroy prisoners physically and mentally.

This whole process is meant to produce "evidence" in the form of wrenching "confessions" from prisoners. Even when enough real evidence of a prisoner’s thinking, writing, and activities are seized in raids to demonstrate their opposition to the regime, the torture keeps going.  Why? Because the goal is to prove not only the prisoner’s guilt, but his or her "sinfulness.". This is related to Sharia law. Torturing the prisoner has two goals: one is to extract information and the other is to "break" the prisoner and, as the Sharia puts it, to bring them to do "tobeh,” to admit their regret for having violated the Sharia.

Once the interrogations are over and a dossier or a case file is created, the case is taken to the court. Until then, prisoners usually have no access to an independent lawyer. A few days - sometimes hours - before the trial, their lawyer is allowed to inspect the case files. These files may only be read in the courthouse and in the presence of security officers. In some cases, lawyers are not admitted to court at all, and trials even take place without the accused being present. Iran’s judicial processes are a sham because the judgments have been made by prosecutors and interrogators – Iran’s judges are not independent -- before the case even comes to court. And these can be extremely harsh judgments which often include cruel punishments like lashings or even execution.

The Iranian judicial system rejects and acts in opposition to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”  In fact, there can be no just society without the rule of law; there can be no rule of law without due process of law; and there can be no due process of law without the presumption of innocence!

All of this points to the fact that these political prisoners should never have been arrested. They are heroes who have stood up for others. They should be celebrated, not behind bars.

Therefore, the only just remedy is:

Immediate and unconditional freedom for all political prisoners in Iran!

UN to Iran: Grave Concerns for Jailed Filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad

May 4, 2021

Center for Human Rights in Iran

UN Press Release

GENEVA (4 May 2021) – UN human rights experts* today expressed serious concern over the condition of imprisoned Iranian filmmaker and political activist Mohammad Nourizad and called for his immediate release. His health has reportedly deteriorated so severely that he risks serious complications and possible death if he remains in prison and does not receive appropriate medical care.

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“We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion,” the experts said. “Furthermore, his continued detention despite medical professionals finding he cannot stay in prison given his serious health condition, and the resulting denial of adequate medical care, may amount to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

“His case is emblematic of the situation many Iranian political activists face in detention. He must be immediately released.”

In February 2020, Nourizad received multiple sentences, including a seven-and-a-half-year prison term, after being convicted on charges relating to an open letter he and others signed calling for the Supreme Leader’s resignation and for constitutional changes.

While in detention, Nourizad has carried out hunger strikes and refused to take medications, most recently starting 10 March 2021, to protest against his imprisonment and his family’s mistreatment.

Statement of the Independent Workers Union of Iran about the continuation of the arrest of Mehran Raouf

April 29, 2021

The Iranian Independent Workers Union strongly condemns the arrest and continuing arrest of Mehran Raouf in the cells of 2 A of the IRC and calls on the officials to end illegal holding this labour activist and release him immediately and unconditionally.

Independent Union of Iranian Workers - April 29, 1400

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US, EU Should Seek Release of Dual-National Hostages in Tandem with Nuclear Talks

April 20, 2021

The situation of dual-nationals and foreign persons taken hostage and imprisoned by the Iranian government has not only remained unchanged, but in certain cases it has deteriorated, despite the new US administration’s approach to Iran and resumption of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran in recent weeks.

Read full article on IranHumanRights.org.

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Selected Signers*

Dieter Karg, Spokesman of Iran Coordination group of Amnesty International Germany - Germany

Farhang Ghassemi, Président de la commission des droits humains de la Fédération d'Européens des Écoles - France

Mehran Mostafavi, Professor, Physical Chemistry, University Paris Sud. - France

Mehrdad Vahabi, Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Paris VIII - France

Taghi Rahmani, Political activist, journalist and writer - France

Erica Deuber Ziegler, Art historian - Switzerland

Jean Ziegler, Sociologist and writer - Switzerland

Dr. Saroj Giri, Academic, University of Delhi - India

John John Hutnyk, Researcher, Politics, Prisons and Universities, Ton Duc Thang University - Vietnam

Julia Tomassetti, Assistant Professor of Law - Hong Kong

Mehri Jafari, UK Solicitor and advocate forIranian-British dual citizen, political prisoner Mehran Raoof - UK

Meredoc McMinn, Barrister - UK

Greg Ó Ceallaig, Barrister - UK

Satar Rahmani, Mehran Raoof Legal Defense - Germany

William Bourdon, Lawyer - France

Kave Milani, Spokesman, Burn The Cage - Sweden

Mariam Claren, Daughter of politicalprisoner Nahid Taghavi, campaigner to #freenahid - Germany

Shekib Mosadeq, Revolutionary Afghan artist, activist - Germany

Elika Ashoori, Daughter of political prisoner Anoosheh Ashoori - Germany

Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, British-Australian academic, former political prisoner in Iran - Australia

Radio Payam Canada - Canada

Bettina Bab - Germany

Father Claude Mostowik msc, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart - Australia

Aurora Aaraas, Writer - Norway

*Institutions listed for identification only

From "Burn The Cage, Free the Birds" in English

Videos

"Burn the Cage - Free the Birds" song by Shekib Mosadeq

February 7, 2021

Captioned in English by Shekib Mosadeq for Revolution Books event, Free Nasrin and ALL Iran's Political Prisoners, February 2021.

Crowd: "Political Prisoners Must Be Released!"

April 22, 2021

@burn_the_cage - Instagram 4/22/20 Caption translated from Farsi: Citizens rallied in front of the mall to protest the closure of their shops and the closure of the passage, chanting "Political prisoners must be released" in support of political prisoners...

Frankfurt Germany Protest Condemns Repression by IRI

March 3, 2021

A protest rally was held in Frankfurt, Germany, on December 10, 2020, International Human Rights Day. The rally was called for by the "Burn the Cage, Free the Birds" campaign, and was supported by other organizations and some human rights supporters.

Statement by Iranian Writers Association from inside Iran

February 19, 2021

From inside Iran: Akbar Masoum Beigi writer, translator, member of the Iranian Writers Association.

FREE ALL

February 17, 2021

Statement from Kave Milani to Revolution Books panel

February 7, 2021

Statement from Kave Milani, spokesperson for Burn The Cage, Free the Birds campaign, excerpted from Revolution Books virtual event "Free Nasrin and ALL Iran's Political Prisoners".

فارسی

فیلم های

من و مارکس از میرجاوه تا لسبوس

May 9, 2021

زنان - زندانیان سیاسی ایران

March 1, 2021

اینستاگرام (انتخاب شده)