Recent News from the Global Movement

IEC Banner Sightings, May 2022

May 5, 2022

Volunteers put the demand "Free Iran's Political Prisoners" before many thousands the week of May 1, International Workers Day, 2022.

In Berlin, supporters carried the IEC banner in a march of 20,000, many of them radical German youth. People in the march took photos of its portraits of a number of the political prisoners in Iran—who were celebrated by the contingent as heroes of our times, frontline fighters for a better world.

Berlin May 1 2022

In Stockholm, Sweden, in front of the trial of Hamid Nouri, where many Iranians gathered from around the world for the concluding arguments, demanding justice for their loved ones massacred in 1988, the IEC brought attention to the urgent current struggle to free all political prisoners in Iran today.

Stockholm, Sweden

In San Francisco, California, at the rally before the labor rights rally on May 1, the IEC was invited to make a statement (download). Many people were moved by the internationalist stand, took photos with the IEC banner, and signed up on the spot.

San Francisco, CA, USA
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Protests Outside Hamid Nouri Trial in Stockholm May 2022: IEC Banner

May 3, 2022

Iran International video in Farsi shows banners, including International Emergency Campaign and Burn the Cage, outside the concluding days of the trial of Hamid Nouri in Stockholm, Sweden; news anchor discusses IEC banner and demands at Minute 1.

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Teachers Across Iran Protest May 1 in Face of Repression

May 3, 2022

Even after arrests of teacher union leaders aimed at preventing May 1 protests, teachers in many cities in Iran rallied bravely, demanding living wages, labor rights and freedom for their imprisoned colleagues. Dozens were arrested. Video by @ICHRI.

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More Global Movement News

Taking "Free Iran's Political Prisoners" to Women's Day Marches in Europe

March 10, 2022

Exciting reports received by the IEC show new joint efforts by supporters of our campaign and Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement in Europe that reached thousands at International Women's Day (IWD) events 2022 amidst a tense world situation.

We bring you photos and a summary here.

The major news outlet IranWire covered the groups' action (link in Farsi) in Paris on its home page, quoting activists and the Emergency Appeal extensively.

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San Francisco march at US Federal Building Demands to Free Iran's Political Prisoners

January 25, 2022

In San Francisco, California, 15-20 people gathered in front of the U.S. Federal Building on January 22 to express their solidarity with Iran’s hunger strikers and to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners held by the Islamic Regime.” Video of march on IEC YouTube channel.

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Statement from the Human Rights Working Group of the First Unitarian Universalists of San Francisco

January 24, 2022

On January 8 of this year Baktash Abtin died in an Iranian prison. Baktash was a poet and filmmaker widely respected in his country and beyond. He was jailed for speaking out for justice in his country, for the right to speak, for speaking the truth.  His incarceration was unjust.  His death, a result of criminal neglect by his jailers, was nothing less than murder.

Prisoners in response to this crime have begun a hunger strike. This statement expresses our support for these hunger strikers.

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The government of Iran is guilty of grotesque injustices against workers, artists, writers, lawyers, democratic activists, socialists and others who protest or speak out and protest against their patriarchal and fascist like regime.  It is therefore our responsibility as human rights advocates in this country to speak out and act in solidarity with this growing movement of protest among Iran’s courageous prisoners.

It is doubly important for us to do this since the United States government,  represented by this building we stand next to, carried out crimes against the Iranian nation going back to the 1950s, and continues to do so with sanctions that  cause great harm to the ordinary people of Iran.  And this government does this not to defend democracy or people’s rights as they claim, but to help the U.S. maintain a grip on the Middle East, all the better to exploit the people there.

Furthermore, in our country we are witness to the great efforts from powerful interests to rile up the people with U.S.A. first chauvinism, whose most disgusting manifestation is MAGA, with which fascists in this country wish to harden the people here to accept any manner of brutality to, in their words, “make America great again”.  This poisonous ideology represents the deadening of the spirits thus infected by it, and, as an outlook, if not challenged and defeated, will be a death sentence to humanity generally.

Therefore our solidarity is not only for the sake of our courageous sisters and brothers in Iran but for ourselves and for all our human kind trapped as we are at this time in an immoral and unjust social order.

None of us are free, until all of us are free.

Free Iran’s political prisoners now.

Taking the International Emergency Campaign to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

January 23, 2022

Yesterday evening a small crew of Revolution readers, including people originally from Iran and Pakistan, went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where an Iranian film festival is being held. The Festival is showing a number of Iranian films, covering various issues. All films are made in Iran, in the Farsi language, with English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. We carried fliers about the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners for distribution to people at the site, as the primary objective.

However, we also carried palm cards of BA's latest major work, “Something Terrible Or Something Truly Emancipating:....", so we could give them out to people who seriously engaged us on the subject of real solution to ending all oppression. We also decided to see the film, "No Choice” at the Museum and try distributing more fliers, at the end of the film.

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The film was really good. Great subject, good acting, well directed and produced. (More about the film at the end ).

The overall experience was mixed. Maybe it was not the best venue to achieve the results that we were hoping for, since we were not allowed in the area of the Museum where people who had come to see the movie were entering but only a general museum entrance, we ended up passing out fliers to all people who passed by us, only a few of whom were actually there for the Iranian festival.

But we did learn some things, which are important in their own right. We found that most people we came across had no idea about the situation in Iran, let alone the plight of political prisoners. But many people were curious to learn and took the fliers in that spirit. Some asked how they could help the International Campaign, for which we were happy to give out the flier " Five ways to help....".  

I had the opportunity to engage a couple of people on the premises close to the entrance gate, before the Security Guard noticed my presence and asked me to leave. A young Iranian woman, a college student, who was probably waiting for someone to join her, took the flier, but said she had no idea about the prisoners' situation in Iran. She added, “I don't like the government of Iran", without further elaboration. A couple, in their 30s or so, took the Emergency Campaign flier. They said they had no idea about the prisoner situation but were curious to find out and asked how they could help. I gave them the flier with the " five ways to help" written. Another man, in his early fifties, took the flier and said he knew democracy had been hijacked in Iran after the ouster of Mossadegh, and installing of the Shah. He counter questioned me to ask what was happening in Iran and what needed to be done. At this point I engaged him a little on how this system had no solution to end humanity's suffering and gave him the palm card showing BA's latest work, " Something Terrible or Something Emancipating...." .

The movie, "No Choice" seems to have deeply impacted the people watching the movie (as it surely deeply moved me), the audience coming out of the hall were suddenly eagerly asking us for the fliers on Iranian prisoners. One middle aged Iranian man, while taking the fliers, said, "I really want to thank you for doing this ".

The Movie : ** NO CHOICE **

I thought the film was very powerful in showing the savage exploitation of women in the brutal and oppressive patriarchal theocratic system, especially for the poor and downtrodden, but really for all women, at all levels. I liked the subtle ways in which the movie was critical of the theocracy and its leadership. The film shows the helplessness of women who try to "claim" justice from the system, and are met with mountains of hurdles in their path at every step. The film shows that a woman lawyer, who picks up the courage to pursue the case of a homeless teenager, and with a lot of tenacity manages to cross a number of hurdles, becomes a threat to all those in the chain who have been responsible for the exploitation of this homeless teenage girl. The lawyer is followed, and literally murdered on the street.

From a sustainer of the Revolution Tour

"The Eyes of the World Are on Iran": Protest at Iran Embassy in Colombia

January 9, 2022

The IEC received this letter from Bogotá, Colombia (Original en español). Photos on Twitter and Instagram

Dear friends:

Following are some notes about a recent exciting internationalist activity in the Colombian capital.

Last Thursday, January 6, shortly after noon, some three dozen protesters with an overflowing internationalist spirit gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Bogotá to let the representatives of the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran know that “The eyes of the world are on Iran,” especially with regard to the situation of the political prisoners that it has in its clutches.

Carrying posters with the images and a brief story of some of the fighters on the front and designs from the campaign with text in English or Spanish on the back, as well as a couple of banners with enlargements of the ad that appeared in the New York Review of Books, the protesters chanted insistently for several minutes: “The eyes of the world are on Iran...,” “We demand from the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!,” “We demand from the U.S. government: NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS!,” while a couple of protesters wrote one of these slogans on the pavement.

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After dispersing in groups as they had arrived, the protesters regrouped about three kilometers to the south in the Plaza de Lourdes, a park in the Chapinero sector that is visited by mainly foreign tourists. For more than an hour, the protesters circulated around twelve blocks of the sector while each one read from the poster that they carried about the case of the corresponding prisoner. After every three readings, they would stop while a speaker read excerpts from the Emergency Appeal or from the IEC statement, “The eyes of the world are on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume”, denouncing the nefarious “two historically outmoded strata” in Iran and the world.

During the whole route, several of the marchers interacted with pedestrians, street vendors and store employees, and on the whole were warmly welcomed, while in some cases they had to address questions about why the protesters were committed to a “far-off” or “other people’s” cause. It was a good opportunity to make clear how and why the freedom fighters in Iran are OUR people, and the cause of defending them (and their struggles) are OUR cause and should be embraced by many more people.

It was an afternoon full of internationalist fervor that was sparked the night before with a preparation session in which the participants in the internationalist action watched the documentary Nasrin, read various materials from the International Emergency Campaign, were infuriated by the murder of Heydar and worried about Baktash’s condition. Baktash’s death occurred only a few hours after this action. While his death was a hard blow to the participants who heard the news when they met to sum up the action, it also strengthened our sense of urgency to strengthen the Campaign more throughout Colombia.

Indeed, our eyes are on Iran and our hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the fighters in the Iranian prisons.

Baktash Abtin's poem, translated and posted on Twitter and Instagram @ComRevCo

Indeed, our eyes are on Iran and our hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the fighters in the Iranian prisons.

23 Rights Organizations Call to Free Rights Lawyers & Activist

December 14, 2021

Twenty-three international human rights organizations have called on Iranian judicial authorities to release the activist Mehdi Mahmoudian and defense attorneys Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili.

These peaceful human rights defenders, who were arbitrarily arrested while trying to sue Iranian authorities for the government’s incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, now face lengthy prison terms on fabricated charges.

Read the statement in English and Farsi, as well as the 23 organizations, on

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"How We Became Activists to Free Our Parents from Tehran’s Evin Prison"

December 10, 2021

OpEd by Mariam Claren and Elika Ashoori

published in Kayhan Life

On this Human Rights Day, we demand humanity and justice for our parents and for all those who are suffering wrongful imprisonment.  

One only starts to miss a quiet, ordinary life when it has been taken away.

My name is Elika Ashoori and my father Anoosheh Ashoori – a gentle, family-oriented retired businessman — is a political hostage in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was arrested in 2017 while visiting his sickly 86-year-old mother in Iran who needed nursing and care after surgery. He was held for months in solitary confinement with no access to independent legal counsel, and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison after a secret, sham trial.

My name is Mariam Claren and I have a similar story, with a different cast. My German-Iranian mother Nahid Taghavi — a retired architect and women’s rights activist — was arrested in 2020, held in prolonged solitary confinement, interrogated for over 1,000 hours with no legal counsel, and then sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

It is safe to say that our lives were turned upside down from that point on. The notion that a government would take their elderly innocent citizens hostage for financial and political gain is not something that life prepares you for. We were thrown into the deep end of world politics, with very little or no knowledge of it. We had to learn to become proficient in campaigning, political activism and raising awareness in such a short space of time — all the while trying to deal with the emotional and psychological turmoil that this situation brings.

Our loved ones are being held in one of the world’s most notoriously horrendous prisons in their old age, and we cannot visit Iran to see or help them in any tangible way. We are completely at the mercy of governments to negotiate the safety and freedom of our loved ones, who are no more than chess pieces in a game much bigger than them.

Anoosheh and Nahid are both being held in Iran’s Evin prison, a ghastly place known for its continued practices of mass execution and physical and psychological torture.

Despite their British and German citizenship, they’ve been denied consular access. Iran has a long history of arresting their dual nationals and using them as bargaining chips. These individuals and their families are caught in the middle of a political game between governments in which humanity and justice do not seem to play a role. They are essentially collateral damage.

Anoosheh’s and Nahid’s cases are not the only ones – they are just the tip of the iceberg in a wave of unjust arrests in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s judicial “process” is no more about truth and justice than the medieval inquisitions of 12th-century Europe. Systematic human rights violations are commonplace. Lawyers, journalists and religious minorities of all backgrounds are arbitrarily arrested. “Propaganda against the state” is one of the most frequent charges in politically motivated imprisonments. When translated, it means: “Thinking is forbidden and speaking your thoughts is a crime.”

Western governments are turning a blind eye and putting their economic and political interests above these human rights violations.

Having to face the trauma of our parents’ arrest and horrific treatment has turned us — two ordinary women with a background in food and hospitality — into human rights activists. The experience has taught us that that speaking out against injustice and raising awareness of the horrors prevalent in Iran are the only ways to stand up to this cruelty. We have also learned that applying and maintaining pressure on our governments is key to keeping their cases alive and not allowing them for be forgotten and pushed aside.

Our parents’ arrest opened our eyes to the array of other unjust arrests that are currently happening in Iran. The prisoners have nicknamed the place ‘University of Evin’, seeing as most of those arrested are educated, enlightened individuals such as lawyers, poets, filmmakers, environmentalists, and human rights activists, who have dared to speak the truth, stand up to injustice or simply have an opinion that challenges the authority of those in charge. These people deserve awards, not prison bars – and we feel that it is now our duty to make sure that none of them is forgotten by offering them a constant show of solidarity.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in our long struggle, it is that the pressure on our government comes from the people. People who sign our petitions, complain and protest against this injustice, as well as the key role the media plays in covering our plight.

This is why we started working with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International to publicize Anoosheh and Nahid’s cases. We have strategized with various legal teams to fight for their release and joined forces with prominent voices of conscience such as the Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, the women’s rights pioneer Gloria Steinem, the renowned author and playwright Ariel Dorfman, and over 3,000 signatories in an Emergency Appeal to free Iran’s political prisoners.

Our common struggle — two daughters fighting for the freedom of their loved ones — has brought us together. Through this path, we have formed a rare bond and an unexpected friendship, which gives us the strength to fight and allows us to open up to each other about something that is extremely difficult for anyone else not going through this ordeal to understand.

Today is the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day. The two of us alone will not be able to free our parents or make a big enough difference so we would live in a world where these violations cease to exist, but we are going to mark this day to help ensure that our loved ones and many hundreds more are not forgotten, and encourage everyone to speak out and fight with us. Change only happens when enough people join in standing up against social injustice. For Anoosheh, for Nahid, and for everyone else who is wrongly imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran. #FreeThemAll!

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Aban: Mothers of Unarmed Protestors Murdered in 2019 Respond to Nouroozi

November 18, 2021
“I was one of the people who shot at people. We killed them. Now, who wants to put us on trial? The other side set fire to the banks and we killed them. Who do you want to put on trial?”

This was the response of Hassan Norouzi, deputy speaker of the Islamic Republic of Iran's parliament and spokesperson for its Legal and Judiciary Committee, when asked by Iran Watch to comment on the Aban Tribunal underway in the UK. Before concluding the interview, he said the comment was a "joke", when it clearly was anything but.

Mothers of unarmed protestors killed by police in 2019 immediately and bravely responded with fury to Norouzi's flaunting:

Here are rough translations of their statements:

"With 20, 30 guards protecting you, you said you killed them, you shot them and no one can do anything. Yes, you just step out in the square/field, we will try you, we will indict you"

"If you dare, come out with bare hands, unarmed, you dare come out"

"We will try you, we will indict you, you just dare to step out unarmed"

"Do not come out with guns, ammo, electric shock and Taser, but like us, unarmed"

"We are not afraid of you, do not try to intimidate us"

"We are not afraid of you, we have no fear to be imprisoned"

All mothers together:"We have died with our children already. We have nothing to lose any more."

"We have already lost our dearest precious ones...we have no fear and nothing to lose. Our children went to the street unarmed, with no weapon at all, as we are here unarmed. Dare to come out."

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Aban Tribunal Documents Massacre of Iranian Protestors in Nov 2019

November 17, 2021

During five days of public hearings from November 10-14, 2021, the Iran Atrocities Tribunal ("Aban Tribunal") recorded harrowing public testimony from 33 witnesses, including many inside Iran, documenting Iran's murderous repression of massive protests two years ago. The hearings focused important international media attention on the massacre of hundreds of unarmed protestors, obscured by the Islamic Republic of Iran's shutdown of the internet at that time.

Protests in November 2019 - photo from CHRI report to Aban Tribunal

“The Aban Tribunal has given public voice to scores of victims and witnesses who undertook grave risks to testify...” said executive director Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “The victims and witnesses have done their part. Now the international community must follow up and act on this evidence.”

Organized by the London-based Justice for Iran, Oslo-based Iran Human Rights and Paris-based Together against the Death Penalty, the Tribunal will deliver a verdict in early 2022. Visit for detailed resources, including documentation from Amnesty International, the UN Special Rapporteur, CHRI and other experts.

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Here a just a few of the findings highlighted by a CHRI wrap-up:

  • Juveniles who were detained in the wake of the protests were tortured and raped, and Amnesty International told the tribunal that at least 22 children were among those killed during the protests.
  • Students were pulled out of classrooms, beaten, shocked with electric tasers and raped for their alleged participation in the protests.
  • A police officer in Iran said he had been sentenced to five year in prison “for refusing orders to shoot at people.”
  • A surgeon testified that “wounded people were being taken away from the hospital every night at 1 am in the cover of darkness,” and that he had to treat people at his home to ensure they could be protected.

November 8 Protest in Dusseldorf, Germany

November 12, 2021
The International Emergency Campaign received this message, and photos from the Burn the Cage / Free the Birds movement in Europe:

On Monday, November 8, in the German city of Dusseldorf, "Burn the Cage / Free the Birds" joined with environmental activists, human rights activists and a others to shine a light on Iran's treatment of political prisoners, and to demand that they ALL be released immediately.

Despite the evening darkness, the bright posters in German and Farsi, and the spirited  protest drew passers-by. Many joined the crowd holding posters. A number of people stepped to the open microphone, adding their voices to the Campaign's protest of the arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution of political, ideological and civil activists by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to call for the prisoners to be released.

Dusseldorf, Germany, Nov. 8 2021 - exposure enhanced for nighttime photos
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Amnesty UK Calls for Action to Support Dual Nationals, Hunger Strike

November 5, 2021

This week Amnesty International - UK issued two urgent statements:

Novemeber 3, 2021

British people urged their MPs (shown here visiting the hunger strike by Nazanin's husband) to push their gvt to free British-Iranian political prisoners
Please tweet or write to your MP [Member of Parliament] asking them to take action for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori - British Nationals who have been arbitrarily detained in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, is on hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. He is demanding urgent action from the government over his wife’s continued detention in Iran. To help ramp up the pressure on the government and to support Richard’s wellbeing, we’re asking MPs to go and visit him. Will you help by contacting your MP to visit Richard?

November 5, 2021

Iran: Unjust prison terms for detained dual nationals: Mehran Raoof & Nahid Taghavi
Activists German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raoof have been arbitrarily detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since 16 October 2020, solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. In August 2021, a Revolutionary Court convicted them of national security related charges and sentenced them to 10 years and eight months in prison, following a grossly unfair trial. Nahid Taghavi is suffering chronic back pain and is denied surgery on her spine, which specialist doctors said she urgently requires. Both are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
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Burn the Cage Report on 9/25 گزارشی از برنامه ۲۵ سپتامبرِ کتابفروشی انقلاب در هارلم نیویورک

November 3, 2021

A "Burn the Cage, Free the Birds" activist wrote a report for Farsi speakers internationally on the "Heroism for These Times: Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now", program on September 25, 2021 at Revolution Books in New York. This report was posted in Farsi in the Oct 2021 Fire magazine,

Read the report translated by IEC to English HERE and in the original Farsi گزارشی از برنامه ۲۵ سپتامبرِ کتابفروشی انقلاب در هارلم نیویورک HERE.

Watch the full program, watch clips to share, and read solidarity statements in English HERE.

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PEN America Recognizes Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi with PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award‍

October 3, 2021
PEN America to Honor Imprisoned Iranian Writers at Gala hosted by Awkwafina, featuring Jodie Foster, Lin-Manuel Miranda, WoleSoyinka

In a September press release, PEN America announced as recipients of the 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, three imprisoned Iranian writers and free expression advocates who are centrally involved in the anti-censorship group Iranian Writers Association (IWA)—celebrated poet, screenwriter, and filmmaker Baktash Abtin; novelist and journalist Keyvan Bajan; and author, literary critic, and popular culture researcher Reza Khandan Mahabadi. The honorees are serving a collective 15.5 years in prison following a crackdown on members of the organization.

PEN's global advocacy campaign calling for the honorees’ freedom will be highlighted at 2021’s PEN America Literary Gala, October 5, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

In a letter signed by prominent writers and artists, including Ariel Dorfman, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Khaled Hosseini, nobel laureates JM Coetzee and Orhan Pamuk, actors Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, cartoonist Art Spiegelman and hundreds of others, PEN stands with Iran's imprisoned writers:

“We call on you, President Raisi, to end the unjust imprisonments of Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and to release all those jailed in Iran for exercising their freedom to write,”

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Cornel West, signatory of Emergency Appeal to speak at Revolution Books, Harlem, NYC

September 27, 2021
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Watch the Livestream of this event marking the publication by Grove Atlantic of the 60th anniversary edition of Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth at or

This Revolution Books program, produced in partnership with the Brooklyn Book Festival, will feature scholar-activist Cornel West, who wrote the introduction for this new edition of the book, in conversation with Andy Zee of Revolution Books and The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Show.

In Memory and Appreciation of Mehri Jafari

August 21, 2021

It was with great shock and sadness that we in the International Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners learned that Mehri Jafari had been lost while descending the 24,400-foot Peak Pobeda in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan and is presumed to have died.  

This is a terrible loss for the people, and we offer our deepest condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and all who fight for a better world.  

Mehri Jafari was a dual British-Iranian citizen living in London, an attorney, a poet, and a human rights activist – “championing the rights of #women, #children and #LGBTQ,” as she wrote on her Twitter page.  I had the pleasure and good fortune of meeting and working with her by phone earlier this year.  Already a member of the campaign supporting political prisoner Mehran Raouf, she quickly signed the Campaign’s Emergency Appeal and promoted it on social media.  She was one of its earliest endorsers.  

Mehri was a warm, helpful and engaged person, ready to do what she could for this vital cause, including press interviews and outreach to friends and colleagues.  She had a deep understanding of the crucial importance of active, vocal support for political prisoners, telling Iran Wire (Feb 8, 2021), "When a social activist is in detention, the silence of the wider community provides the conditions for his or her repression, and he or she may be left at risk of harsh interrogation, forced confessions and torture."  This was something we learned from and promoted.

Mehri was also committed to exposing and stopping the nightmare of honor-related crimes against women in Iran and the Iranian community, and worked closely with Kurdish, Afghan, and other activists.

Mehri was a highly accomplished mountaineer, and as an avid hiker I share her love of the mountains – the challenges they present and the awesome beauty and vistas they offer – and appreciate her seeing in climbing a way to break out of the suffocation of today’s world and struggle to ascend to something higher and better.  Let us all remember Mehri, by dedicating ourselves to that daunting, but exhilarating climb to a brighter, liberating future.    

Larry Everest, on behalf of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

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Worldwide sights and sounds of New York Review of Books ad of Emergency Appeal

August 13, 2021

From August 11 to 13, the trial of Hamid Nouri began in Stockholm, Sweden, for his role in the massacre of as at least 5,000 political prisoners in 1988 when he was an assistant to a prosecutor at Iran’s Gohardasht Prison in Iran. The trial started just days after the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Raisi was a member of the “death commission” in 1988, and this trial is implicitly about his role in those massacres.

Activists with Burn the Cage movement in Europe joined the protests in front of the Stockholm courthouse.  They made a gigantic printout of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of the New York Review of Books.  The Mothers of Khavaran, some of whom are family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre, brought posters of their lost loved ones to display in front of the courthouse.

August 5 (coinciding with Raisi's inauguration) that was called against the Islamic Republic shooting down of Ukrainian Airliner flight 752 in January 2020, Burn the Cage activists made a poster with the printout of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of The New York Review of Books.  The poster said “1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners ordered by death commission that Ebrahim Raisi was key member of.  We must not allow this to happen again!”

These are examples of what everyone can do in spreading the ad of the Emergency Appeal – taking it into protests and amplifying its impact at the grassroots.  Send our campaign photos and reports of such actions in your area.

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CHRI: Swedish Trial of Iranian Prosecutor Offers Historic Opportunity to Shed Light on Iran’s 1988 Massacre

August 4, 2021

Press Release from the Center for Human Rights in Iran

The upcoming trial of a former assistant prosecutor in Iran, Hamid Nouri, in a Swedish court on charges of committing war crimes and murder for the executions of thousands of prisoners in Iran during the 1980s, is a historic opportunity for Iranian families who have been seeking justice for more than 30 years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said today.

The determined pursuit of this case by the Swedish judicial authorities can open a new chapter in the Iranian people’s justice-seeking movement, and finally shed light on the extrajudicial massacre of some 5000 political prisoners by the Iranian authorities at that time.

“Putting one of the officials responsible for the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988 on trial in a foreign country is an extraordinary occasion for the international community to examine the crimes against humanity committed in Iran at that time,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI’s executive director.

Witnesses Have Identified Nouri, Who Worked Closely with President Elect Ebrahim Raisi

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The statement from Swedish public prosecutors Kristina Lindhoff Carleson and Martina Winslow, accusing Nouri of “intentionally killing, together with other perpetrators, a large number of prisoners who sympathized with various left-wing groups and who were regarded as apostates,” has been a source of encouragement for families who have been ignored or persecuted by the Iranian authorities for seeking justice.

CHRI considers Nouri’s trial an unprecedented opportunity to reveal long-hidden aspects of gross human rights violations that were committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The international community, and especially human rights organizations, should consider this a vital chance to access facts about the 1988 massacre.

Witnesses Have Identified Nouri, Who Worked Closely with President Elect Ebrahim Raisi

Nouri was arrested on November 9, 2019, as he arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport to visit relatives, and was held on suspicion of committing mass murder in Iran. His detention order was extended for 20 months to give prosecutors time to build their case.

Witnesses have come forward to identify Nouri as an assistant prosecutor in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, during the mass execution of political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

According to Iraj Mesdaghi, a former political prisoner and eyewitness at Gohardasht, Nouri worked closely with current President Ebrahim Raisi and former Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi. In 1988, Raisi and Pourmohammadi were members of a “death committee” that ordered the execution of the approximately 5000 political prisoners, all of whom had already been issued and were serving their prison sentences.

The committee, appointed by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, included Raisi, who was then deputy prosecutor of Tehran; Pourmohammadi, an Intelligence Ministry representative at the time; Morteza Eshraghi, Tehran Prosecutor at the time, and Hossein Ali Nayeri, then the religious judge at Evin Prison and now a high court judge.

Iranian authorities have remained largely silent on Nouri’s case ever since his arrest, and have not commented on his indictment.

The victims’ families, especially the group known as Mothers of Khavaran, have kept the memory of the tragedy alive with annual vigils at the Khavaran Cemetery in south Tehran, where many of the victims were buried in mass graves. Families have been harassed and persecuted by the Iranian authorities for trying to find information about their murdered relatives.

Khuzestan protesters: "Free Our Prisoners"

July 20, 2021

Rough translation of Kanun Hannover Facebook post.

The people of Susangard* demanded freedom for prisoners, shouting (in Arabic) "Free our prisoners."

People in the Alavi neighborhood of Ahwaz* declared solidarity with political prisoners with the slogan of "Eid Mubarak" and "Akhoy Balsjen" as they sent Eid greetings to the prisoners with this slogan.

#Water - like - Aban (referring to November 2019)

#people-want-the fall-of-Regime.

#Alshaab- Yorid-Esghat- Al Nizam

*Susangard and Ahwaz are towns in Khuzestan province.

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Ariel Dorfman: "We should not let them down"

July 16, 2021

“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.

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