Recent News from the Global Movement

Urgent: The wave of our rebels’ struggles reaches prisons - Burn The Cage

October 2, 2022

Below is an urgent – both brave and sober – message from our friends in the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement in Europe today (10/2/2022) on the imminent threat to the lives of Iran’s political prisoners and announcing a brave sit-in at Evin. We are also sharing, below that, the Burn the Cage statement from October 1, 2022, to provide crucial background to what is unfolding in the prison yard of Evin; go here for a pdf of this statement to distribute at demonstrations, forums, etc.

As our Emergency Appeal made clear: “All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners now.” We call on you to find ways to realize this with a renewed sense of purpose and immediacy – via social media or IRL (e.g., on campuses). Also made clear in the Emergency Appeal: “This regime has a blood-stained record of attempting to violently crush any form of resistance – including sudden mass executions of political prisoners as happened in 1988.”

The beautiful and heroic uprising in Iran against the regime’s murder of Mahsa (Jina) Amini for the past several weeks only heightens the danger as the fascist theocrats have their backs up against the wall. The outpouring globally, especially on October 1, is part of shining a light on the regime as a measure to stop their murderous crime on the political prisoners. But we must not relent but, rather, increase the light and heat on the regime. We must not let the dangerous “left” movement idiocy that the IRI is an anti-US-imperialist force to carry the day. NO! The IRI is reactionary and the US imperialists more so. We choose and fight for another way along with our sisters and brothers on the streets and in the prisons of Iran. We must ACT now!

IEC volunteers take responsibility for the translation from the Farsi into English.

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Call for the release of political prisoners nationwide! The wave of our rebels’ struggles reached the prisons too! – October 2, 2022

According to the news from the women's section of Evin Prison, the imprisoned activists have announced that they will hold a sit-in in the prison yard beginning tomorrow, as a protest against the brutal crackdowns of the Islamic Regime and in support of protesters in the streets. The security measure inside the prison have been redoubled and in different parts of the prison they have added barriers and barbed wire.

Fighters:

We must turn the slogan of "Free the Political Prisoners" into a widespread public demand. In recent days, thousands of people or more, have been arrested. They are in extremely poor conditions in the prisons.  The lives of our loved ones are in danger.

This is a serious threat!

Make the slogan of "Free the prisoners" part of every demonstration. Make this the main point in social media storms and interviews with the media. The families of political prisoners should not be left alone. Don't let the criminal regime pressure prisoners' families, or commit more crimes against the prisoners.

We need our beloved ones freed from prison and on the streets.

Turn the cry for the release of political prisoners into an epidemic and a global voice!

Defeat the Repressive Wind of the Islamic Republic!

~Burn the Cage / Free the Birds Campaign
@burnthecage
October 2, 2022

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All Political Prisoners Must Be Freed Immediately! – October 1, 2022

Greetings to all who love freedom worldwide!

To the rebel protesters in the streets:

The fiery cry of your heroic rebellion has shaken this rotten system [Islamic Republic] to the core and has warmed the hearts of millions around the world! Your sisters and brothers in all corners of the world are exhilarated and inspired by your bravery and dedication, and you have been a breath of fresh air in a world full of war, poverty, death, tyranny, and environmental destruction.

Yes, we – the people of the world – truly have no borders!

Our friends in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, the United States, Spain, Chile and many other countries in the world have risen also in support of you rising up and raising the banner: “No!” “I am a human being!" They have responded with support, “Your pain is my pain.”  This is striking fear into the hearts of their ruling tyrants. Also, many of the world’s intellectuals and artists have joined this glorious wave inspired by you and are supporting your cause.

Without a doubt you bring hope to the many people who are desperate in Iran, the Middle East and the whole world. You have pumped fresh blood into the tired bodies and minds of the Iranian masses. You have given us a new hope and have shown that we don’t need to choose between bad and worse. There is a path of life, a way forward: to rise up against reactionary tyrants and oppressors.

Now is the time to free the political prisoners from the dungeons of the Islamic Republic!

The regime’s security forces are arresting more and more innocent people. Prisoners’ families and lawyers are reporting horrendous and dangerous conditions inside the regime’s prisons. According to some reports, more than 3,000 people have been transferred to Evin and Fashafuyeh prisons. [Fashafuyeh = Greater Tehran Prison – ed.]  Prisoners are under constant interrogation and most of the women prisoners have been transferred to Qarchak prison. One of the prisoners, Yalda Moayeri, said in an audio file, "Our lives are constantly in danger. More than 100 people have been jammed into a gymnasium, without ventilation or air conditioning. There are no proper bathrooms or showers and [the guards – ed.] constantly give people sedatives."

In a brief phone call from Qarchak prison, Maryam Karim Beigi told her mother that “we are held in very inhumane spaces, and constantly dehumanized and threatened” and “another Kahrizak may happen here.” [Kahrizak prison was infamous for torture and murder of protesters arrested in the 2009 “green movement” protests. – ed.]

Be Warned!

People in the streets, and workers, students, teachers, university students, professors, artists and athletes:

Raise your voices to demand the immediate release of political prisoners. Do not leave the families of political prisoners stranded and alone. Go together with the prisoners’ families to the prison gates and make an uproar so that the regime’s hands will be tied against further crimes.

People who are affluent:

Please lighten the load of political prisoners by raising funds for their families’ travel expenses from distant cities to visit them.

People outside Iran, you who have become the Iranian people’s voice to the world:

Demand the “immediate release of political prisoners” in a storm of social media; celebrities and human rights activists, make this the main point in your interviews with international media. Use any tool that you can to help the families of political prisoners and the families of the victims of the Islamic Republic.

Families of the prisoners:

Send the message to our sisters and brothers inside the prisons, “You are not alone, we are with you!” There are now millions of people in this country and other countries of the world that support you and your cause.

It has been over 350 hours since the Islamic republic murdered our dear Mahsa. It is time to free all the political prisoners!

Make the immediate release of political prisoners a worldwide demand!

Down with Islamic Republic of Iran!

~Burn the Cage / Free the Birds Campaign @burnthecage

Download the pdf to print and distribute widely

To the rebel protesters in the streets - Burn The Cage Statement

October 1, 2022

We received this statement from Burn The Cage/Free The Birds movement in Europe.  IEC volunteers take responsibility for the translation from Farsi into English.

See also Oct. 2 Burn the Cage call to support Evin Prison sit-down strike.

All Political Prisoners Must Be Freed Immediately!

Greetings to all who love freedom worldwide!

To the rebel protesters in the streets:

The fiery cry of your heroic rebellion has shaken this rotten system [Islamic Republic] to the core and has warmed the hearts of millions around the world!  Your sisters and brothers in all corners of the world are exhilarated and inspired by your bravery and dedication, and you have been a breath of fresh air in a world full of war, poverty, death, tyranny, and environmental destruction.

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Yes, we -- the people of the world -- truly have no borders!

Our friends in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, the United States, Spain, Chile and many other countries in the world have risen also in support of you rising up and raising the banner: “No!”  “I am a human being!” They have responded with support, "Your pain is my pain."   This is striking fear into the hearts of their ruling tyrants.  Also, many of the world's intellectuals and artists have joined this glorious wave inspired by you and are supporting your cause.

Without a doubt you bring hope to the many people who are desperate in Iran, the Middle East and the whole world.  You have given a fresh blood to the tired bodies and minds of the Iranian masses.  You have given us a new hope and have shown that we don’t need to choose between bad and worse.  There is a path of life, a way forward: to rise up against reactionary tyrants and oppressors.

Now is the time to free the political prisoners from the dungeons of the Islamic Republic!

The regime’s security forces are arresting more and more of innocent people.  Prisoners’ families and lawyers are reporting horrendous and dangerous conditions inside the regime’s prisons.  According to some reports, more than 3,000 people have been transferred to Evin and Fashafuyeh prisons.  [Fashafuyeh = Greater Tehran Prison – ed.]   Prisoners are under constant interrogation and most of the women prisoners have been transferred to Qarchak prison.  One of the prisoners, Yalda Moayeri, said in an audio file, "Our lives are constantly in danger. More than 100 people have been jammed into a gymnasium, without ventilation or air conditioning.  There are no proper bathrooms or showers and [the guards – ed.] constantly give people sedatives."

In a brief phone call from Qarchak prison, Maryam Karim Beigi told her mother that “we are held in very inhumane spaces, and constantly dehumanized and threatened” and  “another Kahrizak may happen here.” [Kahrizak prison was infamous for torture and murder of protesters arrested in the 2009 “green movement” protests. – ed.]

Be Warned!

People in the streets, and workers, students, teachers, university students, professors, artists and athletes:

Raise your voices to demand the immediate release of political prisoners.  Do not leave the families of political prisoners stranded and alone. Go together with the prisoners’ families to the prison gates and make an uproar so that the regime's hands will be tied against further crimes.

People who are affluent:

Please lighten the load of political prisoners by raising funds for their families travel expenses from distant cities to visit them.

People outside Iran, you who have become the Iranian people’s voice to the world:  

Demand the ”immediate release of political prisoners”  in a storm of social media; celebrities and human rights activists, make this the main point in your interviews with international media. Use any tool that you can to help the families of political prisoners and the families of the victims of the Islamic Republic.

Families of the prisoners:

Send the message to our sisters and brothers inside the prisons, “You are not alone, we are with you!”  There are now millions of people in this country and other countries of the world that support you and your cause.

It has been over 350 hours since the Islamic republic murdered our dear Mahsa.  It is time to free all the political prisoners!

Make the immediate release of political prisoners a worldwide demand!
Down with Islamic Republic of Iran!

~Burn the Cage / Free the Birds Campaign
@burnthecage
October 1, 2022

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Social Media and Videos about Upsurge in Iran in wake of murder of Mahsa Amini by Morality Police

September 25, 2022

Selected videos from nine days of protest in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police.

We recommend checking frequently Burn the Cage's Instagram for verified and up-to-the-minute coverage of these rapidly developing events.

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Amol, Iran: People in their hundreds push back riot police

Amol,  in northern Iran, home of 1982 uprising led by the revolutionary party, Sarbedaran. It was supported by majority of population that was crushed in blood. This video was featured in Ms. Magazine 9-23 coverage of Iran’s uprising.

Nowhar, Iran: Youth stomp hated police vehicles, and set others on fire

Two women, standing on burning police cars, shouting: “We don’t want the Islamic Republic”

Qom, Iran: women dancing bareheaded, waving hijabs. Qom is the home city of Iran's theocracy.

She sets hijab ablaze while standing on police car

Dancing, waving hijabs in light of burning police cars

Tehran – women chasing, throwing object at water cannon

Setting fire to Mashad police station

Father standing in his son’s grave: "I ask all Iranian fathers and mothers to go forward. Take your children's hand and go with them [to the demonstration…This [Islamic Republic] must end."

Only 14 years old, she came out for a better life. Shot by security forces.

More Global Movement News

International Solidarity for Upsurge in Iran after Mahsa Amini's Death

September 25, 2022

Here are just a small handful of selected social media videos of actions and celebrity statements in support of the current upsurge in Iran, as of Sept 25 2022.

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Sept 24. Noam Chomsky, signer of Emergency Appeal, condemns killing of Mahsa Amini.

Sept 23. Cornel West, signer of Emergency Appeal, publishes support in English and Farsi.

Sept 23, Rome, Italy: Protest in front of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic. Chants: “Khameni, Assassino” and “Die, Die, Dictator”

Sept 25, Chicago. Third demonstration.

"Greetings to You Heroes": Received from the Burn The Cage / Free the Birds Campaign in Europe

September 23, 2022

(IEC volunteers take responsibility for the translation into English from Farsi post.)

Political Prisoners Must be Released Immediately!

Greetings to you heroes: You who did not give in to humiliation.  

You who, after 43 years of terror, murder, violence and propaganda every day, bravely raised your head face to face with these corrupters of our heroic history and cry out:

“No!”

“I am a human being, not a slave to, you reactionary criminals!”  And shouting with fury, you set fire to your compulsory hijab, to destroy the chains of slavery.

Look at what this criminal system has done to the lives of billions of people. America, by their own claim,  “the most civilized country in the world,” has taken away the right of women to control their own lives, and has spread the reactionary view that women are merely baby-hatching machines. There is the same dark wave in Poland, Hungary and many countries of the world. The sex industry and the buying and selling of women's bodies are among the most profitable industries created by these criminal people.  

At this time, in these terrible global conditions, you rebels, you heroes of our age and you of the 1980s [18-25 year olds - ed], came out by the thousands and thousands and with your defiant attitude , with your clenched fists, you rekindled the hope of liberation in the hearts of millions of people in the world. We salute you: the eyes of all the women and all the oppressed of the world are on you. You are the initiators of a new wave in this filthy order.  Be resolute, the world is yours.  

Forward!  It is time to burn the cages and free our birds!

Sepideh Gholian, Bahareh Soleimani, Shadi Gilaks and the hundreds of other imprisoned trailblazers should be with us in the streets.

Dear friends, we must free Nowthese captives! Their place is not in the prison cell, it is in the streets. Athletes, artists, honorable lawyers, with the help of masses of people in the streets, let’s break down the prison doors and burn the cages that are symbols of captivity and terror.

Burn the Cage and Free the Birds Campaign
October, 2022

Video Sept 21, 2022: Nowhar, Iran. Youth stomp hated Police Vehicles, and set others on fire.

Sept 21., 2022: Two women, standing on burning police cars, shouting: “We don’t want the Islamic Republic."

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Fury after murder of Mahsa Amini by Hijab Patrol rocks Iran

September 20, 2022

Revolutionary Afghan composer Shekib Mosadeq put together a montage of videos of the protests in Iran, with his song, Burn The Cage:

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"With great joy and full of hope": A Letter to Compañeros in Colombia from Burn the Cage/Free the Birds

August 31, 2022

El IEC received this letter from the Burn the Cage spokesperson after they read this report from Colombia.

Lea esta carta en español

Compañeros y compañeras de ComRevCo,

With great joy and full of hope we read the report regarding your support and promotion of the campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners at the International Poetry Festival in Medellín.

Friends and comrades, this is what we are all fighting for: A totally different world where people have come out of their small spheres and see the world as a whole, a world with internationalism coming first.

In your report you mentioned groups and political organizations that believe that the Iranian government is anti-imperialist and should be supported. Their attitude shows how short-sighted and tragic they are. We should ask them: how can you call yourselves progressive and support a regime that imprisons and murders the people of Iran, for 43 years?

Comrades, the people of Colombia are our people too, and we are your people. We have the same enemy and that is the worldwide capitalist system. The Iranian government and Colombian regime are not on our side, they and all other reactionaries are on their side. They may have contradictions with each other, but we cannot throw ourselves into their arms, we cannot be so gullible. We don't need them, but we need each other!

The Emergency Campaign to free political prisoners in Iran takes up internationalism and relies on people of the world, not the governments of the world. Your actions are an internationalist model for us and the world and each time we hear from you it is more inspirational than previous actions.

With the hopes of going beyond the world of oppression, exploitation, prison and prisoners!

Warmest hug!

Kave Milani, spokesman for Burn the Cage/Free the Birds, Europe

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Statement of Justice Seeking Mothers and activists on the anniversary of the Massacre of 1988 in Iran

August 26, 2022

This statement was posted in Farsi on Facebook and website of CFPPI; the following is our unofficial translation.

Photo: www.facebook.com/IranZendaniSiasi

More than 300 justice seeking family members of political prisoners and political and civil activists published a statement to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in the "Summer of 1988," in Iran. In this statement, international authorities have been asked to recognize this massacre as a crime against humanity. The signatories of this statement have called for the formation of an independent criminal investigation commission to pursue this crime in the United Nations.

The list of signatures is regularly updated.

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You can also support the wishes of the families and activists and join them with your signature at the given addresses.

Parisa Powende parisapouyande@gmail.com

Shiva Mehboobi shivamahbobi@gmail.com

Collective statement of Justice Seeking Mothers and relatives of political prisoners, political and civil activists on the anniversary of the Massacre of 1988 in Iran.

Thirty-four years ago, after ongoing protests and upheavals in Iran, authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran started a crackdown of arrests, imprisonment and executions of political prisoners in the 1980's.  We once again endured the massacre of our loved ones in September of 1988.
Those massacred were freedom-loving, honorable and decent people who have been fighting in defense of freedom of expression, political and social freedoms and a better life who eventually  sacrificed their lives for the rights of humane ideals.

In 1988 the IRI killed these freedom fighters. They buried them secretly at night in mass graves in places like Khavaran. This was a crime against humanity that will be remembered in our history.

The powers that be have tried to destroy this historical evidence, but they have not yet been able to eradicate the evidence of the massacre of our loved ones because there have been  massive protests against these crimes.

During the past forty-three years, the killing of our loved ones has continued. The answer to the demands for people's rights has been imprisonment, torture, bullets or execution. Today,  mothers and families of those who have lost their loved ones in 1999, 2009, 2017, 2018, and The Mothers of Aban/Nov 2019 have joined forces with families of the downed Ukrainian passengers flight of 2019. They stand together with the families of the 1980's. The movement for justice has become stronger than ever and is standing on the front lines of the fight against poverty and misery, lack of any rights for  women and children and all those imprisoned and executed...

Today, this movement and the support it has gotten from different sections of the people has become much stronger. The September 1988 massacre has been recognized by individuals and dozens of institutions, human rights organizations and human rights defenders and various institutions such as the UN human rights rapporteur Javid Rahman. The government of Canada  has now officially acknowledged the massacre as a crime against humanity.

Lately, the trial of Hamid Nouri, one of the perpetrators of this massacre, has been tried in Sweden. The Swedish court has issued the harshest punishment, life imprisonment. This is a great victory for the movement for justice and for the people of Iran.

Families, institutions and organizations defending human rights are calling for the establishment of an independent commission for criminal investigation to be formed to investigate and try the perpetrators and leaders of this crime and the death committee in 1988. Today, this demand has become a public demand.

While we are again asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to form an independent criminal investigation commission to deal with the crimes of the Summer 1988 Massacre, we ask all honorable, freedom-loving and philanthropic people to not stand aside, but to join us in demanding an independent investigation of these crimes.

Copy sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council
European personalities and governments

Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Colombia: La audaz lucha por liberar a los prisioneros políticos en Irán sobre la base del internacionalismo

August 18, 2022
La CIE recibió por correo electrónico un reporte detallado desde Colombia sobre el Festival Internacional de Poesía en Medellín. Estamos posteando la versión sintetizada publicada en revcom.us/es para no repetir el esfuerzo. Los que firmaron públicamente el Llamamiento durante el Festival se encuentran en nuestra lista completa de firmantes, y incluyen artistas que mencionamos en nuestra Alerta del 8 de agosto.
A LOS COMPAÑEROS EN COLOMBIA: ¡MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS Y UN FUERTE ABRAZO!

A fines de julio, se celebró el 32º Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín con veintenas de invitados de 24 países. El Festival, que se realiza desde 1991, es organizado por la Revista de Poesía Prometeo y el Movimiento Poético Mundial, y ha alcanzado cierto reconocimiento internacional. Se realizaron jornadas de lectura de poemas en distintas partes de Medellín y municipios cercanos ante públicos nutridos. Los poetas expusieron cantos a la naturaleza, contra su destrucción por parte del capitalismo, a la unidad entre las personas del mundo, a la vida, voces contra el feminicidio, contra el colonialismo y el racismo, en múltiples idiomas, permitiendo un valioso intercambio entre los artistas y el público.

Nuestro equipo, de unas diez personas (de la localidad y de otras partes del país), distribuyó sus fuerzas para asistir a varios de los eventos del Festival, realizados en diferentes escenarios de la ciudad. Inspirados por el Llamamiento de la Campaña Internacional de Emergencia (CIE), nuestro objetivo era dar a conocer la situación de los prisioneros políticos en Irán, la CIE y el Llamamiento de la CIE. Instamos a estas voces a firmar el Llamamiento y para replicarlo con otras personas en el mundo. Los llamamos de unirse a denunciar la represión, torturas, encarcelamiento y asesinatos por parte de la República Islámica de Irán (RII) y condenar las amenazas y movimientos de guerra del imperialismo estadounidense y sus sanciones económicas que significan un terrible sufrimiento más para las masas iraníes. Se difundió el Llamamiento en español, inglés, portugués y francés, y se presentó la Exposición “¡A Quemar la Jaula, A Liberar a los Pájaros!”, una colección de 36 piezas (vea las imágenes), además de una proyección del documental Nasrin. Se dio a conocer que se ha empeorado recientemente por parte de la RII el encarcelamiento e incluso ejecución de artistas, poetas, defensores de derechos humanos, cineastas, feministas, activistas, ambientalistas y muchas otras más personas, y que especialmente que hace poco fueron encarcelados los cineastas Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof y Mostafa Al Ahmad.

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Amplia receptividad para el Llamamiento de Emergencia

Desde la inauguración del Festival estuvimos instando a poetas africanos, europeos, latinoamericanos, a firmar el Llamamiento y a comprometerse con su difusión. La respuesta de los poetas fue en general receptiva, muchos no conocían de la situación en curso en Irán. Al menos un par de personas expresaron su sorpresa de encontrarse con esta campaña en este país y les pareció inspirador.

Un joven del equipo de organización del Festival al conocer el Llamamiento preguntó, con algo de sorna, por qué promovíamos cosas de Irán “¿qué tiene que ver eso con Colombia?”. Después de exponerle la situación de Irán y de los presos allí y destacar algunos elementos claves del Llamamiento como “Todos aquellos que defienden la justicia y anhelan un mundo mejor deben sumarse a la causa de liberar a los prisioneros políticos en Irán YA”, nos llevó al sitio en que se encontraba la codirectora del Festival de Poesía, diciéndole que estábamos difundiendo una campaña importante y que debían conocerla. La codirectora estaba conversando con una mujer peruana residente en Estados Unidos, quien nos aseguró que la difundiría entre sus conocidos especialmente los iraníes.

Cerca de una veintena de los poetas firmaron el Llamamiento y se han comprometido a compartirlo con otros, dejando sus contactos para comunicación posterior. Kayo Chingonyi, poeta de Zambia que reside actualmente en Reino Unido, nos dijo al día siguiente de firmar el Llamamiento que en la noche estuvo leyendo el contenido de la página de la CIE y compartiendo con sus contactos el Llamamiento, entre ellos a su productor, un iraní. En general todos manifestaban reconocer la gravedad de la situación en Irán, y entre la mayoría la disposición de escuchar con recepción sincera.

En Irán, los prisioneros políticos enfrentan una emergencia funesta y mortal.

En los días finales del evento se organizaron en la ciudad dos exhibiciones de la exposición gráfica con ilustraciones de los rostros de algunos de los presos políticos en Irán con una corta reseña de su caso, un par de poemas de presos iraníes, el Llamamiento en español y el Llamamiento en inglés publicado en The New York Review of Books. También teníamos una lámina con la cita de Bob Avakian sobre “los dos sectores anticuados”. Las exposiciones se realizaron en la Universidad de Antioquia y en la Casa Cultural La Pascasia, en el centro de Medellín. Una profesora de la cátedra “Historia del arte en tiempos de guerra”, que se dicta en la facultad de artes de la Universidad de Antioquia, en camino a clase se detuvo a ver la exposición con algunos de sus alumnos y expresó que le llamó mucho la atención la exposición, y nos invitó a hablar en una de sus clases.

Feroz lucha sobre el nacionalismo contra el internacionalismo

Por otra parte, además de encontrar a veces cierta apatía, relacionada con la idea de que “acá las cosas ya están cambiando” con llegada de la “izquierda” al gobierno, encontramos personas que preguntaban con curiosidad por qué gente de Colombia estaba promoviendo activamente una campaña por los presos políticos de otro país, lo que permitía con algunos de ellos discutir un aspecto que es muy importante de esta campaña: el internacionalismo. Se explicaba que no es simplemente expresar un apoyo o solidaridad con aquellos en Irán que están padeciendo la represión, sino ver esta causa como una causa nuestra, que nuestro punto de partida no es lo que “afecte a nuestro país” o a “nuestra gente” entendida de manera nacionalista estrecha, que nuestro punto de partida debe ser la humanidad y el planeta y la lucha por acabar la opresión y explotación en todas partes del mundo, no solo en lo que se considera “mi” país.

Muchas de estas personas no hacían estas preguntas malintencionadamente sino con inquietud, sin embargo, entre quienes sí lo hicieron malintencionadamente —y de hecho nos acusó de que “no se preocupan por los problemas de Colombia”. Además de defender a Irán como parte de un “bloque de países antiimperialistas”, un organizador del Festival abordó a los compañeros que estaban conversando con los poetas y los increpó por “aprovecharse de SU espacio”. Un profesor jubilado miembro del sindicato de profesores universitarios, criticó el que nos preocupáramos por los presos políticos de Irán, apelando a la existencia de sanciones de Estados Unidos sobre Irán, y sobre esa base afirmando que era necesario apoyar al régimen islámico porque es una fuerza “opositora del imperialismo yanqui” y “no podemos olvidar que  el enemigo principal es el imperialismo norteamericano”, planteando, además, que, si bien él no está de acuerdo con el tratamiento a las mujeres en Irán, es necesario verlo como “parte de su cultura”. De distintas maneras confrontamos tales posiciones y luego de escuchar nuestros argumentos, el profesor-sindicalista decidió ir a conocer la Exposición.

Una buena parte de estos colaboradores tienen afinidad política con los organizadores del Festival, militantes del viejo partido “comunista” colombiano (PCC) no revolucionario. Uno de ellos argumentaba que “Estados Unidos es quien promueve y financia las protestas en Irán”, “Irán hace parte de un bloque antiimperialista”, “a Uds. no los he visto defendiendo los presos políticos de Colombia”, etc., para tratar de censurarnos. Esta misma posición es defendida por casi el conjunto de los “intelectuales de izquierda” reformistas como algunos directivos del sindicato de maestros de Bogotá (ADE), que han declarado abiertamente a la RII como antiimperialista y en 2019 realizaron eventos de celebración de la instauración de la RII.

El festival constituyó también una oportunidad más para luchar contra el sectarismo y la prevención de (y hacia) algunos intelectuales de “izquierda” con actitudes mezquinas que critican el que se apoye asuntos “de otros” y que no nos limitemos a los problemas de “nuestro” país [Colombia] (esta vez “¿por qué solo Irán?” y en otras ocasiones “¿por qué “solo” Palestina [o “solo” Irak, o Afganistán, o Brasil…]?”, o “¿por qué solo las mujeres o los LGBT?”, “¿por qué “solo” en los festivales?”, “¿por qué “solo” en las Universidades?”, “¿por qué “solo” en los barrios?”, y así ad nauseam) a los que es necesario dar la lucha en busca de transformar su forma de pensar, que lleva el individualismo a otro nivel. Hubo algunos, pocos, casos de logros al respecto.

Únanse con nosotros

El mundo no puede permitir lo que ha hecho la RII desde su fundación en 1979, ni permitir nuevamente la eliminación completa de una generación de poderosas mentes críticas y valientes. La valentía y el sacrificio de las masas y de las voces de conciencia deben tener una respuesta de franco apoyo global en diversos sectores. En esa dirección es clave que artistas, abogados, periodistas acojan el Llamamiento y lo difundan urgentemente de todas las maneras y en todos los ámbitos posibles. Como lo dice el Llamamiento: ¡La vida de los prisioneros políticos en Irán pende de un hilo — Tenemos que ACTUAR ya!... y sin tregua.

International Poetry Festival in Medellín, Colombia: Boldly Struggling to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners on the Basis of Internationalism

August 15, 2022
The IEC was emailed a detailed report from Colombia about the International Poetry Festival in Medellin.  We are posting the translation and condensed version posted on revcom.us so as not to duplicate efforts.  Those who publicly signed the Appeal at the Festival are entered into our full signers' list and include artists we listed in our August 8 Alert.  
A LOS COMPAÑEROS EN COLOMBIA: ¡MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS Y UN FUERTE ABRAZO!

In late July, the 32nd International Poetry Festival of Medellín took place with scores of invitees from 24 countries. This internationally recognized Festival has been held since 1991, organized by the poetry magazine Prometeo and the World Poetry Movement. There were readings in different parts of Medellin and nearby cities to large audiences. The poets recited songs to nature and against its destruction by capitalism; for unity among the world’s people against femicide, colonialism and racism, performing in multiple languages enabling a rich exchange between artists and audience.

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Our team of about ten (from Medellín and other parts of Colombia) spread out to events in different venues of the city. Inspired by the Appeal of the International Emergency Campaign (IEC), we aimed to publicize the situation of Iran’s political prisoners, the IEC and its Appeal. We urged artists to sign the Appeal and get it to others worldwide. We asked them to join in denouncing the repression, torture, imprisonment, and assassinations by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), to join in condemning the threats and war moves of U.S. imperialism and its economic sanctions that add to terrible suffering of the Iranian masses. We distributed the Appeal in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French; setting up a huge exhibition with “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds!” theme with a collection of 36 displays (see photos). We held a screening of the documentary Nasrin. We spoke about the IRI’s recent escalation of imprisonment, torture and execution of artists, poets, human rights defenders, feminists, activists, environmentalists, and many other people, highlighting the recent jailing of filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al Ahmad.

Broad Receptivity to the Emergency Appeal

From the start, we urged poets from Africa, Europe and Latin America to sign the Appeal and spread it. The response was generally very receptive. Many were unaware of the ongoing situation in Iran. Some people expressed surprise to encounter this campaign in Colombia and found it inspiring.

A young man from the Festival organizing team, upon hearing about the Appeal, asked with some sarcasm “What does that have to do with Colombia?” After explaining the situation in Iran, and its prisoners, we highlighted key points of the Appeal like “All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW.” He then took us to the co-director of the Poetry Festival to tell her this was an important campaign and that they should know about it. The co-director then spoke to a Peruvian woman who said she would spread it among her friends, especially Iranians.

About 20 poets signed the Appeal, agreed to share it with others, and left their contact information. Kayo Chingonyi, a Zambian poet living in England, said that after signing it, he read the IEC webpage and then shared it with others, including his producer, an Iranian. In general, everyone expressed recognizing the serious situation in Iran, and among the majority, a willingness to listen with genuine receptivity.

Iran's political prisoners face a dire, life-threatening emergency

In the closing days, we organized two graphic exhibitions with several portraits of Iran’s political prisoners and short write-ups of their cases, some poems by Iranian prisoners, the Appeal in Spanish and its English ad in The New York Review of Books. We also had a flyer of Bob Avakian’s quote on “the two outmodeds.” These were held at the University of Antioquia and the Casa Cultural La Pascasia, in downtown Medellín. A professor of “History of Art in Times of War” who taught at Arts Department of the University of Antioquia, stopped on her way to class to see the exhibition with some of her students. She said the exhibition grabbed her attention and invited us to speak in one of her classes.

Fierce Struggle over Nationalism vs. Internationalism

On the other hand, besides some apathy related to the idea that “things are already changing here” with the “left” government, many people were curious about why people in Colombia were actively promoting a campaign for the political prisoners from another country. This enabled discussions of a very important aspect of this campaign: Internationalism. We explained this is not simply to express solidarity with those suffering repression in Iran, but to see their cause as our cause. Our starting point is not what “affects our country” or “our people” understood in a narrow nationalistic way. Our starting point must be humanity and the planet and the struggle to end oppression and exploitation in all parts of the world, not just in what is considered “my” country.

Most people did not ask these questions with bad intentions but with concern. However, among those who did ask questions with bad intentions, there were accusations such as “they do not care about the problems of Colombia.” In addition to defending Iran as part of a “bloc of anti-imperialist countries,” one Festival organizer approached those talking with the poets for “taking advantage of HIS space.” And a retired professor, a member of the university professors’ union, criticized our concern for the political prisoners in Iran and being against U.S. sanctions on Iran. He said you have to support the Islamic regime because it is a force “opposed to Yankee imperialism” and “we cannot forget that the main enemy is North American imperialism.” He also stated that, although he does not agree with the treatment of women in Iran but this as “part of their culture.” We confronted these wrong positions and after listening to our arguments, the professor-unionist decided to go and see the Exhibition.

Many of these collaborators have political affinity with the organizers of the Festival who are members of the old, non-revolutionary Colombian “communist” party (PCC). One of them argued that “the U.S. is the country promoting and financing the protests in Iran,” “Iran is part of an anti-imperialist bloc,” “I have not seen you defending the political prisoners of Colombia,” etc. to try to censor us. This same position is defended by almost all the reformist “left intellectuals,” including some directors of the Bogotá teachers’ union (ADE), who have openly declared the IRI anti-imperialist. In 2019, they even held a celebration of the founding of the IRI.

This festival was a real opportunity to struggle against the narrow sectarianism and evasion by some “left” intellectuals with petty attitudes. These forces criticize our support of “others” and want us to limit ourselves to the problems of “our” country (i.e. Colombia). This time, they ask “why only Iran?” Other times they ask “why only Palestine or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Brazil?” Or they ask “why only women or LGBT?” Or “why only at festivals?” Or “why only at Universities?” Or “why only in neighborhoods?” and so on ad nauseam! It is necessary to carry out struggle to transform their way of thinking which takes individualism to another level. There have been some successes in this struggle.

Join Us

The world cannot allow what the IRI has done since its founding in 1979, nor allow again the complete elimination of a generation of brave and powerful critical minds. The courage and sacrifice of the masses and of the voices of conscience must receive a response of frank global support in various social sectors. In this sense, it ` key that artists, lawyers, and journalists welcome the Appeal and urgently disseminate it in all possible ways and in all possible areas. As the Appeal puts it: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now!... tirelessly.

Now available! - Ms Magazine w Emergency Appeal to Free Iran's Political Prisoners now on news stands

August 8, 2022
Ms magazine summer edition cover and ad on pp 40-41

IEC Alert - August 8, 2022

Now on newsstands! The IEC's Emergency Appeal appears in Ms. magazine's Summer edition, on pages 40 & 41. Get your copy NOW! and share it widely.

Imagine the misogynist IRI regime squirming when they see this in Ms. Magazine's 50th Anniversary edition, "Never Underestimate the Power of Women's Rage!"

Publishing the Emergency Appeal right now —with its powerful political content and world-renowned signers— is the best way to impact the international political terrain and build broad awareness and support for all of Iran’s political prisoners.  Its stance of proceeding from the interests of humanity, not of those of any reactionary government, and stressing the “special responsibility” people in the U.S. have to oppose the IRI’s vile repression while also actively opposing “any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran” is even more important now given the current situation in Iran and the world...  

We encourage people to get a copy to bring into your classrooms to share! Or ask your favorite bookstore to display the ad. Or bring it with you to show people at events, protests and speakouts!  Many thanks to the dozens of donors, in the U.S., Europe, Canada, from the Iranian diaspora and elsewhere whose generosity made this possible!

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Prominent Poets and Writers from Africa, Latin America and Europe Endorse the Emergency Appeal

During the time that ads to Free Iran's Political prisoners were running online in Ms, dozens of artists from Africa, Latin American and Europe signed the Emergency Appeal to Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now!  Among the signers were Nimrod Bena, poet, writer, editor and philosopher from Chad, Kayo Chingonyi; Zambian writer, editor, broadcaster; Hilde Susan Jaegtnes, poet, fiction writer, screenwriter, actress and composer (Norway);  Martín Barea Mattos, poet and director of the international poetry festival "Mundial Poético" in Montevideo, Uruguay; Oscar "Puky" Gutiérrez Peña, poet, cultural manager and editor (Bolivia); more than a dozen Colombian writers and artists including Luis Villa  and Angela Briceño; and Chilean poets Eugenia Brito Astrosa and Amanda Durán.

We encourage people to get a copy to bring into your classrooms to share! Or ask your favorite bookstore to display the ad. Or bring it with you to show people at events, protests and speakouts!

For a complete list of signers, visit the IEC website. For your friends and colleagues to add their voices to this Emergency Appeal, share this link. Or print this page for people to sign.

Bella Now! in Berlin Festival, Aug. 13

The song by Shekib Mosadeq and Miles Solay "Inspired by the struggle to free all political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Afghanistan"  will be performed live at a music festival in Berlin this weekend.

IRI President Raisi plans September visit to the United Nations

The IEC received a call for demonstration in September from UK-based CFPPI (Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran).

Stay tuned for the latest on this from the IEC. In the coming days, be sure to check the IEC Website/Plans or IEC Website/Events for future plans!

Iranian Writers' Association: End the suppression of women and filing cases against them

August 3, 2022
Iranian news put on display a taped "confession" by a bruised Sepideh Rashno after 14 days of solitary confinement and "interrogation"

The Iranian Writers’ Association published an important statement Monday, August 1, 2022 in the Farsi news site Akhbar Rooz. Below is IEC’s unofficial translation.

For more than forty years, the government has been violating the most basic rights of women and responding to their every protest and disobedience with humiliation and organized violence and filing cases. Women who have seen their lives from the most private to the most public areas dominated by the regime's misogynistic culture and laws, have taken steps and opened ways to break this space with their individual and collective efforts. But this constant struggle has not reduced the naked violence of the government against women.

On July 31, the government added another black page to its record, and as it has many other times, it turned to confession and manipulation of public opinion. When the detention of Sepideh Rashno, the poet and writer, had reached the 14th day, the news channels of the Islamic Republic of Iran aired the video of her forced confession. The method that has always been repeated with the intention of discrediting the protest and intimidating the protesters by the government: forcing the oppressed to sit in front of the camera and showing the suffocation by the ruler. Now, however, the widespread anger and reaction of the people showed that this tactic is more ineffective than before.

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Earlier, a video was published on the internet that showed a "famous person" [IEC: well-known female IRI agent who bullies women for not properly covering their hair in public] on the bus being aggressive to a woman under the pretext of covering up, causing that women and other women on the bus to defend themselves in protest. While filming the protesting woman, she threatens to send the video to the "Army". Shortly after the wide distribution of this video on social networks, it was found out that the woman who protested was Sepideh Rashno, and she was arrested by the security officers and taken to an unknown place. At the same time, the media of the government also began to file and make accusations and attributed this protest, like countless other protests, to "external factors".

In recent months, many such news items have been published after crossing the censorship barrier: the news that reveals both the increasing pressure on women and their resistance. The government has revived its old tools, and its officers, called "Moral Security Police", are busy oppressing women even more and depriving them of their safety.

The basis of this repression has been prepared before; The government, which has realized that in the absence of women's organizations and institutions, it is easier to violate the rights of "Sepidehs" and marginalize their voices, has violated the right of women to organize for years and has narrowed the space for activists in this field by filing cases, arresting and jailing.

The Iranian Writers Association, while defending the right to choose clothing, once again declares its support for women's right to organize and considers these arrests and forced confessions to be a continuation of the organized repression of women. Unconditional freedom is the right of Sepideh Rashno and all political and ideological prisoners.

Iran Writers’ Association, August 1, 2022

IRI Out of ILO, Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

June 18, 2022
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Norway One-woman Protest against "Terrorist Regime of Iran"

June 1, 2022

Shouting "Terrorist Regime of Iran" in Norway on June 1, 2022, a woman protested the official meetings between Norway and Iran. Someone egged the motorcade of Iranian diplomats.

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Cologne, Germany: March Demands No Execution of Djalali, Free Political Prisoners

May 21, 2022
Cologne, Germany, May 21, 2022

From Burn the Cage Instagram, unofficial translation:

"Today, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in coordination with political organizations and currents, we were present in the center of Cologne on the occasion of the death sentence [of Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmadreza Djalali] and the unconditional defense of the immediate release of political prisoners.  We have declared the only solution to end imprisonment, torture and execution to overthrow the Islamic Republic.  At the end, we showed our protest symbol by raising photos, banners for the slaves and political prisoners from the Rhine flyover and with revolutionary songs.  On the way, one of the protesters spoke to the people in a German-language loudspeaker about the crimes and actions of this fascist government of the Islamic Republic. The program lasted from 2 to 4 p.m.

"We also participated in the demonstration with the banner of the Committee for the Defense of the Immediate Release of Political Prisoners unconditionally, which was called by the Organizing Council for political prisoners and executions.
#burn_the_cage"

See below: videos

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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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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 IranHumanRights.org.

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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 AbanTribunal.com 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?
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/nazanin-and-anoosheh-write-your-mp

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.
https://www.amnesty.org/fr/documents/mde13/4960/2021/en/
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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, CPIMLM.org.

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,”

https://pen.org/2021-pen-barbey-freedom-to-write-award/

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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.

Read full article on IranHumanRights.org.

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