Campaign

Update

June 30, 2021

Move Heaven and Earth to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

June 30, 2021
The lives and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners are in imminent, mortal danger. All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW.

-- Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now

These words ring even more urgently today. So right now the Emergency Campaign’s focus is raising the thousands of dollars needed to pay for online advertising and posting our Emergency Appeal in prominent publications in order to put it before millions.

The lives and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners are in imminent, mortal danger. All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW.

-- Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now

These words ring even more urgently today. So right now the Emergency Campaign’s focus is raising the thousands of dollars needed to pay for online advertising and posting our Emergency Appeal in prominent publications in order to put it before millions.

Donate generously now and stay tuned for specific details – coming soon!

Screenshot of two of the three ads running in Ms. online this week
Trial Update

On June 13, dual national political prisoners Nahid Taghavi and Mehran Raouf appeared in court along with Bahareh Soleimani, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Elham Samimi, and Somayeh Kargar.  The sham trial of these courageous prisoners of conscience was postponed, with no new date  announced.  The danger that any day now that they’ll receive illegitimate, life-threatening sentences is still hanging over their heads.

Ebrahim Raisi Elected Iran’s President - Step Up the Fight for Iran’s Political Prisoners

While it’s unclear exactly what Raisi’s presidency will bring, his history does raise added concerns about the fate of Iran’s political prisoners. In 1988, Raisi was a key member of a high-level “death commission,” under the direct command of then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, which suddenly carried out the mass execution some 4,000-5000 political prisoners. The death toll may be much higher as bodies were hidden in scores of secret mass graves and there has never been an official accounting of the massacre.

Since March 2019, Raisi has headed Iran’s judiciary, and played a central role in the regime’s savage assault on the November 2019 mass uprising, which included the indiscriminate killing of hundreds of protesters and the jailing of thousands more. In October 2020, he helped oversee a new wave of arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions ahead of the anniversary of the 2019 uprising. When recently asked about his role in the 1988 massacre, Raisi claimed he had always been a defender of human rights and should be praised for his record.

U.S. Launches Military Attacks

On Monday, June 28, the U.S. launched airstrikes against what they claimed were pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria, which had allegedly attacked U.S. bases. This is the second time the Biden administration has launched air attacks directed at Iran, and he’s the sixth straight U.S. President to launch military action against Iran. Later that day Biden also threatened Iran during a meeting with Israel’s outgoing president Reuven Rivlin, warning: “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch.”

This U.S. aggression is outrageous and underscores the importance of the Emergency Appeal and its political stance and demands:

We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW

We say to the U.S government: NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS

In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

Some Recent Signers from Around the World:

Over 2,200 people have now signed the Emergency Appeal including prominent voices of conscience such as writer and feminist Gloria Steinem, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, and renowned author and playwright Ariel Dorfman, and significant signers from the Iranian diaspora, academia and the medical field, as well as students – from the U.S. and over a dozen other countries from Europe, Canada, Africa, Latin America and Asia. All this is a good beginning. For full list of signatories, please see Signers list.

This past week, on Pacifica’s KPFK Radio in Los Angeles, Michael Slate interviewed Larry Everest and an Iranian-American activist (Listen HERE.) Also in the past two weeks, online ads promoting the Emergency Campaign ran in The Nation, and currently there are banner ads running in Ms. magazine online.

We Must Not Let Them Down

The essential words of world renowned playwright, author and political exile Ariel Dorfman bears repeating as a challenge to us all:

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.
Articles on Iran’s Political Prisoners and the Emergency Campaign:

Mariam Claren, On June 13, the Whole World Should Be Watching Iran, Demanding Justice and Calling to #FreeNahid and #FreeThemAll, Ms. Magazine, June 9

Larry Everest, “Unbearable”—The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance, June 13 – A Moment to Act,” CounterCurrents.org, June 13

Larry Everest, “Vicious Wave of Repression Sparks Global Movement to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners,” CounterPunch.org, June 4

Ebrahim Raisi and the Massacre of 1988 – Human Right Campaign in Iran (translated by Burn the Cage / Free the Birds)

Related Resources:

Campaign Updates & Press Releases

September 17, 2021
Update
Heroism for Our Times
September 22, 2021
Update
UN Press Conference Photos and Video
May 20, 2021
Update
Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News