Campaign

Update

July 3, 2022

Iran: Surge of Executions and Repression Amidst a Surge in Massive Protests

July 3, 2022

Now is the moment to stand with Iran’s brutalized but courageous resisters. The words of our campaign’s Emergency Appeal ring ever louder and truer: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance, We Must ACT Now! Right now, it’s urgent that we do everything possible to put the Appeal in front of tens of thousands.

Even given the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) bloodstained 43-year history, the new spike in executions in recent months is alarming and poses a real threat to its political prisoners. The regime is now headed by many of the same cabal that suddenly massacred about 5,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

As our Appeal noted, “Iran’s political prisoners face a dire and life-threatening emergency.”  The imminent threats to prisoners’ and resisters’ very lives include denial of medical care to severely ill prisoners; a ramped-up rate of known and secret executions, often without warning; a new law passed by the IRI in mid-June authorizing any of its uniformed state actors to shoot protesters on sight at vaguely defined and readily deemed “illegal demonstrations.”

Now is the moment to stand with Iran’s brutalized but courageous resisters. The words of our campaign’s Emergency Appeal ring ever louder and truer: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance, We Must ACT Now! Right now, it’s urgent that we do everything possible to put the Appeal in front of tens of thousands.

Even given the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) bloodstained 43-year history, the new spike in executions in recent months is alarming and poses a real threat to its political prisoners. The regime is now headed by many of the same cabal that suddenly massacred about 5,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

As our Appeal noted, “Iran’s political prisoners face a dire and life-threatening emergency.”  The imminent threats to prisoners’ and resisters’ very lives include denial of medical care to severely ill prisoners; a ramped-up rate of known and secret executions, often without warning; a new law passed by the IRI in mid-June authorizing any of its uniformed state actors to shoot protesters on sight at vaguely defined and readily deemed “illegal demonstrations.”

Terrorizing Resistance with Prison and Rampant Executions

On June 6, there was a mass hanging of 11 men and one woman, members of Iran’s Baluch ethnic minority.  Let that sink in – a dozen people officially lynched on one summer day of 2022.  A thirteenth was hanged on June 7.  The 12 were executed in Zahedan Central Prisoner near Iran’s border with Pakistan, a very impoverished area. These state murders are part of the regime’s draconian repression against Iran’s minority nationalities, including the Kurds and Arabs.  Sunni Muslims minorities also face religious persecution from Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim theocracy.  Alleged death penalty charges range from drug offenses to murder – this in a country with neither the rule of law nor an impartial judicial process, but rather Sharia (religious) law which is as medieval as it is arbitrary.

Photo by @FreeBaluchMovt of protest against mass executions of Baluchs, June 26, Dusseldorf, Germany

Executions in the Islamic Republic jumped from 260 in 2020 to over 300 in 2021, and now there’s been a further escalation to over 168 prisoners in roughly the first five months of 2022.  There were reportedly 24 executions within 4 days in June and ten in the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj on June 16 alone. This does not count executions carried out in secret.

This May and June (as in 2017, 2019 and 2021) sustained massive protests rocked Iran in response to extreme poverty, the scarcity of daily necessities, needless deaths from the Metropol building collapse in Abadan, and the arrests and jailing of an array of dissidents.  These quickly turned to anger at the whole regime, as chants of “Death to Raisi” (president), “Death to Khamenei” (supreme leader) and “Mullahs [Islamic clerics] get lost” rang out at most protests.

Hundreds of workers, teachers and others have been arrested for protesting non-violently.  At least five protesters have been killed, and the Islamic state has imposed internet shutdowns as growing protests have roiled Iran despite the state’s attempts to violently suppress them.

For example, since late May, over 230 teachers were arrested throughout Iran during protests against low wages, the imprisonment of their leaders, and the denial of other basic rights. On June 16, teachers protested in at least 18 cities and towns.  On June 18, ten teachers launched a hunger strike in Saqqez in western Iran to protest their unlawful detention. Yet teachers continue to resist.

On June 22, in an egregious shredding of civil society and the rule of law, three defense lawyers (and two activists) were sentenced to prison, ostensibly for just discussing suing Iran’s leaders for their criminally negligent response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawyers sentenced are Mostafa Nili (to four years), Arash Keykhosravi (to two years), and Mohammad Reza Faghihi (to six months) in prison. Their real “crime” is having the courage to stand up for others and against the regime.

Photo by CHRI: Mostafa Nili, Arash Keykhosravi, Maryam Afrafaraz (activist), Mohammad Reza Faghihi, Mehdi Mahmoudian (activist)

Best Way to Support Iran’s Political Prisoners? Help Publish the Emergency Appeal!

Why?  Because the Appeal upholds Iran’s political prisoners for who they truly are: people to be emulated! It stands alone in pointing out that the IRI’s “repression has been met by inspiring heroism.”  This Appeal is unique in noting that Iran’s political prisoners continue to speak up FOR OTHERS “…at great risk to themselves.”  Whether they are imprisoned teachers or environmentalists, women’s rights activists or revolutionaries, members of religious or ethnic minorities, they are leaders and frontline fighters for a just society and better world. Our world needs these precious people organizing among us right now.

Narges Mohammadi

The Appeal noted the uncompromising stance of Narges Mohammadi, who says she has been in this struggle for 30 years and “paid a price” of being repeatedly arrested, brutalized, tortured by long periods of solitary confinement, and threats against her exiled husband and two children.  But she maintains “it has been worth it.” She recently had heart surgery and has been repeatedly denied needed medication while imprisoned.  She asked on Instagram, “Does the security agency prepare for the death of another prisoner?”, referring to Baktash Abtin, the beloved Iranian poet who died of Covid after prison officials refused him timely treatment.

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.

Publishing in Ms. magazine’s summer edition in print and online will put the Emergency Appeal in front of its 100,000+ readers.  The ad will highlight some of its prominent signers, such as Nobel Laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Cornel West, Judith Butler, Raymond Lotta, as well as Gloria Steinem, an early signer of the Emergency Appeal and founder of Ms. magazine.

$3,000 to Go to Reach $9,000 by July 15

So far, thanks to generous donors, we’ve raised $6,000 in our IEC fundraising campaign.  We need $1,000 more to reach the $7,000 needed pay for a striking two-page black and white spread in Ms. magazine along with online ads.  This ad will appear in the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue, which will be mailed out to Ms’ 100,000+ subscribers on July 20 and hit newsstands August 9.  (Given the urgency of the situation, we scaled back our plan for a color ad which would have cost another $2,000.)

Screen shot, digital ads, msmagazine.com on June 1

We also need to raise another $2,000 to meet the IEC’s modest operating costs, such as web and internet services, and for promotional materials to spread the campaign to free Iran’s political prisoners now.  

SO PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY NOW!

Contact us to volunteer for 1) translations (Farsi/English); 2) fundraise/phone banking; 3) outreach/social media and 4) internet research.

As world-renowned author and friend of the IEC Ariel Dorfman has written:

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.
Related Resources:

Campaign Updates & Press Releases

June 1, 2022
Update
Save the Date: June 10
December 2, 2021
Press Release
Eyes of World on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume
October 3, 2021
Update
Now Available Online – Watch
September 22, 2021
Update
UN Press Conference Photos and Video
September 17, 2021
Update
Heroism for Our Times
May 20, 2021
Update
Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News