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Petition Tag - human rights

211. Free Kurdish Syrian Student Activist Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed

Student activist, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed, a member of Syria’s Kurdish minority, has not been seen since 3 March. There are fears he may have been arrested by the security forces. If so, with the security forces denying he is in their custody, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is a student at the University of Aleppo. He was last seen when he left the apartment he shares with fellow students around on 3 March. A contact told Amnesty International that after he left the apartment, heavily armed but unidentified security officials raided it, taking Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s laptop. Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed was previously arrested and detained for about 10 days in relation to his involvement in student activism and focus on Kurdish rights. He recently changed apartments in fear of another arrest.

On 5 March, Military Security officials visited Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s family in Qamishli, north-eastern Syria. The men enquired about Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s activities, his age, and education. When the family asked about the whereabouts of their son, the men denied that he was in their custody and insisted that their enquiry was routine. His family has received no information concerning his fate or whereabouts since 3 March but believes the available information points to his having been arrested.

If, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is now detained by security forces, the authorities should immediately inform his family of his whereabouts, permit him to make contact with them, and ensure that he has access to a lawyer and necessary medical care. He should be released unless he is charged with a recognizable criminal offence and tried in compliance with international fair trial standards. If he is held for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly then Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and would call for his immediate and unconditional release.

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212. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia MUST STAY!

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia MUST STAY!

Justice delayed is justice denied.

End the degrading treatment of Refugees.

Grant asylum to Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia NOW.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are lesbian/gay activists and civil rights leaders from Uganda and Senegal, nations where openly gay people are politically persecuted, imprisoned and murdered for being gay. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew, and Proscovia are seeking political asylum in Britain. Their outspoken and public opposition to the anti-gay political policies of the Ugandan and Senegalese governments means that a decision by the British government to return them to Uganda or Senegal is tantamount to a death sentence.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are members of the Movement for Justice and leaders of the struggles against racism and the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers here in Britain. They are also tireless leaders of the struggle for lesbian/gay equality in Britain, Africa and other parts of the world. Both the governments and anti-gay death squads of Uganda and Senegal know their sexual orientation.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia have not been granted asylum, even though each of them filed a claim many months ago. Three survived torture; the fourth’s partner was tortured and killed. Living under the constant threat of deportation, never knowing what the next day holds, is an especially excruciating experience for these political asylum seekers.

Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia have not been granted asylum thus far because of their political activism in Britain. All four are members of the Movement for Justice and leaders of the struggles against racism and the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers here in Britain. Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia are also tireless leaders of the struggle for lesbian/gay equality in Britain, Africa and other parts of the world. They are precisely the kind of leaders that Britain needs to progress as a society.

Last year Britain co-sponsored a Joint Statement on LGBT Rights by 85 countries at the United Nations, calling on governments like Uganda and Senegal to end the torture of LGBT people, protect their safety and human rights, and stop treating homosexuality as a criminal offence. Granting asylum to Tacko, Asuman, Andrew and Proscovia is an easy, direct and meaningful way for the British government to show that its pious words will be backed by action.

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213. Thirsting for Justice: Stop the demolition of Rain Collecting Cisterns in Area C of the West Bank

1. From 2010 to 2011 there was an over 50% increase in cistern demolitions in Area C of the West Bank. International and local NGO’s have underlined this as concerted political strategy to target essential livelihood structures and force the displacement of Palestinians. From 2009 to 2011, nearly four hundred Palestinians were internally displaced as a direct result of the destruction of water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure.

2. Israel simultaneously violates its legal obligations as an occupying power under IHL, clearly stated by Article 54 of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, by not refraining from demolishing objects indispensible to the survival of the civilian population. Israel also violates its obligations as a signatory to international human rights conventions to respect, protect and fulfill the right to water of Palestinians. Additionally, both Israeli and Palestinian authorities issued a joint declaration in 2001, “for keeping water infrastructure out of the cycle of violence,” essentially but ineffectively protecting cisterns.

3. Rain collecting cisterns are essential water sources in Area C of the West Bank - an area which faces chronic water shortages due to lack of infrastructure developments and inadequate resource distribution. The survival of hundreds of Palestinian communities is dependent on cisterns as the main source of water for livestock, crops and domestic use. Cisterns are structures that collect rain water posing neither a threat a threat to the environment, nor is their destruction required by imperative military necessity which under International Law would be the only legal justification.

4. The policies aimed at cistern demolitions should be viewed in the larger context of occupation and the enforcement of a restrictive planning regime controlled by the Israeli military. To date, all structures are subject to a permit procedure which rarely grants Palestinians building permits. This hinders nearly all development in Area C, and puts many structures at risk of being demolished, including cisterns. Rain collecting cisterns should be excluded from the inefficient planning system and should not be subject to demolitions.

5. Urgent action is need now - 2012 will be a critical year for at-risk communities living in Area C, with the High Court of Justice making unprecedented rulings on cases linked to planning and demolitions, greater pressure coming from settler organizations, and over 3,000 outstanding demolitions orders existing today.

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214. Free the 3 medical workers in Bahrain

Three medical workers are currently in prison in Bahrain following the uprising in early 2011. They are Mr Ahmed Almushatat (a pharmacist), Mr Hassan Matooq (a nurse) and Mr Younis Ashoori (a hospital administrator). All were convicted at military trials and are reported to have been subjected to torture.

There are particular grave concerns over the health of Younis Ashoori, age 60, who suffers from a number of medical conditions and deteriorating health.

'Doctors In Chains' received this testimony from a family member following a recent court hearing where he spoke of his treatment in prison:

'Younis also said that as a result of torture, once he started urinating blood, he was taken to the BDF (Bahrain Defense Force) military hospital. The Doctor there asked him: “Where does it hurt you the most?” Younis replied: “My kidney”. Then the Doctor punched him on the kidney. Everybody in the courtroom was disturbed when they heard this'

You may read more about the 3 cases here:

Please help promote this petition and free these three good men who do not deserve to spend a single day more in prison.

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215. Holy Graves Restoration in Saudi Arabia


During the first quarter of 20th century, the British authorities made the leader of nomadic tribe, Abudl Aziz ibn Saud the king and altered Arabia to Saudi Arabia. Since that time the country is autocratically ruled under the nomadic ways and Wahhabi ideas.
By nature nomads do not settle at any location in the desert, so the graves are merely inconsequential disposing points for their dead.

In absolute contrast to such nomadic norms, Muslims unreservedly respect all graves regardless. Above all, the Holy grave of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is held in extreme honour and immense spiritual reverence. The graves of immediate family members of Prophet Mohammed, his relations, companions and other prominent personalities of Islam, buried in Jannat-ul-Al-Baqi in Madina and Jannat-ul-Maaula, in Makkah are as well duly revered by all followers of Islamic faith.

On 27 April 1925 the regime of Saudi Arabia conducted certain sacrilegious acts, in that, hundreds of Muslim inhabitants of Medina, for not being Wahhabi, were punished and killed, many revered historical shrines of Islamic heritage were demolished, the extraordinarily sacred graveyards of Al-Baqi and Al-Maulla were desecrated and levelled to ground. Serious attempts were also made to demolish the Green Dom of Masjid-al-Nabawi. Whereas practical attempts to demolish the grave of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the graves of his two companions, was somehow stopped by the personal intervention of King Abul Aziz ibn Saud.

These sacrilegious acts of desecrations attest unreasonable and unacceptable imposition of Wahhabi ideology upon Muslims. These violations have inflicted serious emotional, cultural and historical damages upon a vast majority of Islamic community and its upsetting affects have not diminished in the least; these were than strenuously detested by the Muslims all over the world and as at present are equally despised

These Holy Graveyards are Islamic heritage of immeasurable historical and spiritual importance and symbols of respect and homage to the family of Holy Prophet (PBUH) as well as other prominently revered personalities of Islam like the Daughter of the Holy Prophet Fatima Zahra (S.A.). Being sacrosanct to all Muslims of the world, it has become imperative that these Holy Graveyards should forthwith, fully and dignifiedly restored by virtues of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 – Declaration on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief – General Assembly Resolution 35/55 of 25 November 1981 and other Human Rights Conventions.


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216. بيان الأطباء لرفض إهانة نقابة الأطباء المصرية لسميرة إبراهيم وبنات مصر

أرفض البيان الصادر باسم نقابة الأطباء الذي يعلن فيه أن النقابة شاركت في الدفاع عن الطبيب المتهم بكشوف العذرية وأعتذر باسمي الشخصي كطبيب وإنسان قبل أي شيء لسميرة إبراهيم وكل بنات مصر الذين أصابهم من العسكر ما أصابهم مما لم يفعله الصهاينة في حربنا معهموأطالب نقابة أطباء مصر بالاعتذار وإصدار البيان التالي

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217. President Obama: End mistreatment of American children; Ratify the CRC!

Three former U.S. Presidents have denied children their basic human rights, and Obama will too unless we demand action. The CRC, The Convention on The Rights of the Child, is an international treaty that has been ratified by every country on Earth except the U.S. and Somalia. The CRC can change childrenʼs lives by finally giving our children their basic human rights.

These two children are paying for this:
Cristian Fernandez is a 12-year-old boy who faces life in prison.
This 6 year old Texan boy was hospitalized after a school paddling.

Thousands of children in America suffer in similar ways! But Obama has the power to stop this by ratifying the CRC!

What does the CRC guarantee American children?
•The right to play.
•The right to be safe.
•The right to practice the religion of their choice.
•The right to an education without physical punishment.
•The right to be tried as a child, and not sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 1995, President Clinton signed the CRC, but he didnʼt send it to the Senate. It is time for our President to take real action. Obama says heʼs committed to improving the lives of our children. He says he values their well-being. He says itʼs an embarrassment that the U.S hasn't ratified the CRC.

Enough talk, Mr. President. It’s time for action!

Over 200 non-profits support the CRC, yet a small group of people are afraid of children having rights. They think parents should have 'fundamental rightsʼ over their children, to include the fundamental right to be criminally negligent parents.
. Here are a few of the crimes that will start to disappear:
. Child beatings occur in schools in 19 states more than 200,000 times a year.
. Approximately 6 million cases of child abuse go unreported annually.
. At least 200,000 children are sexually trafficked across the U.S. annually.
. The U.S. is the only country on earth to imprison children for life without parole.
. America is the worst offender of child abuse in the Industrialized World.

It is time to end the hypocrisy, and give children their rights. It is time for our President to do the right thing.

Please also sign the petition on

For more information about...
The CRC:
Corporal Punishment:
Imprisoning children for life:
Child Abuse:
Take a Stand for the End of child abuse:
Child trafficking:

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218. US Must Disclose Attempted Defector's Testimony about China's Organ Harvesting of Live Political Prisoners

Wang Lijun, formerly the director of public security and vice mayor of the southwestern China megapolis of Chongqing, fearing that Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s Communist Party chief, meant to assassinate him, fled on Feb. 6 to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, a four-hour drive west.

He spent over 24 hours in the consulate and, according to a Radio France International report, revealed to consular officials details about crimes committed by him and Bo. He then left Chengdu under the protection of Beijing security officials.

Prominent among Wang’s crimes was his participation in forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, a practice the Chinese regime has denied. Earlier in his career, Wang gave a speech in which he discussed his involvement in organ harvesting.

In 2006, three years after becoming director of the public security bureau in Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province, Wang was given an award—but it wasn’t for fighting crime. Wang had done pioneering research on how best to transplant organs taken from prisoners—who were possibly still alive when their organs were removed—and honed his techniques over thousands of on site trials.

Wang received the award in September 2006 from the Guanghua Science and Technology Foundation, a charitable organization meant to promote science and technology to youth. According to its website it is under the direct leadership of the Communist Youth League, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mass organizations used for recruitment.

For a veteran policeman, to see someone being executed and to see this person’s organs being transplanted to several other persons’ bodies, it was profoundly stirring.

In Wang’s acceptance speech, which is still available online (and archived here), he thanks Guanghua Foundation staff for “painstakingly traveling” to Liaoning Province to observe his work.

He notes one time when Guanghua staff had to rush back from overseas to view a trial. “They wanted to witness organ transplantation and examine it from their point of view: organ transplant benefits the public and improves Chinese law enforcement in a humane and democratic way,” Wang said.

“As we all know, the so-called ‘on the scene research’ is the result of several thousand intensive on-site transplants,” he added.

Wang accepted the award as director of the “On-the-Scene Psychological Research Center,” which according to its entry on the website of the Ministry of Commerce is an adjunct of Jinzhou City’s public security bureau. Its brief introduction says it has relationships and scholarly exchanges with universities in over 10 countries. Emails to the research center were not returned, and calls to the number listed did not go through.

In his acceptance speech, Wang said, “For a veteran policeman, to see someone being executed and to see this person’s organs being transplanted to several other persons’ bodies, it was profoundly stirring. This is a great endeavor that involved much hard work from many people. The secretary general of China Guanghua Foundation, Jinyang and his staff were right there at the transplant scene, they have experienced it all with us.”

In a speech given on the occasion of Wang’s award, Ren Jinyang, the secretary general of the Guanghua Foundation, explained that Wang was recognized for his “basic research and on-site experiments” in making transplant recipients more receptive to organs.

“They have created a brand new protective fluid,” Ren said. “After animal tests, out of body tests, and clinical operations, they have achieved an important milestone where the recipients become more receptive to a liver and kidney injected with such protective fluid.”

“The so called ‘research scene’ that Wang Lijun refers to is either an outright execution site with medical vans, or possibly a medical ward, where peoples’ organs are surgically removed,” said Ethan Gutmann, who has published extensively on organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience.

He added that the injections that the award refers to are probably “anti-coagulants and experimental medications that lower the chance of immune-system rejection as the organ is passed between one living body—heart still beating, soon to expire from the trauma—to another.” Gutmann added that this is “normal medical practice” in China, where hospitals, military hospitals, and public security bureaus intersect.

“There is zero guarantee that consent was involved,” Gutmann said. “Ample evidence has come to light that the victims could well have been Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, ‘Eastern Lightning’ Christians or—exponentially more likely—Falun Gong practitioners. In other words, Wang Lijun received an award for, at best, barbarism.”

David Matas, an award-winning Canadian human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former Canadian secretary of state (Asia/Pacific) and crown attorney, co-authored a report on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China. The pair estimate that in the six-year period 2000–2005, 60,000 transplantation operations were done in China and Falun Gong practitioners were the likely source for the organs for 41,500 operations.

In other words, approximately two-thirds of the organs used in transplant operations during this time period—which in part overlaps the period of Wang’s “research”—came from prisoners of conscience, most of whom would have been Falun Gong.

CQ Global Researcher, a leading global affairs journal, quotes Kilgour and Matas and Gutmann as independently estimating over 62,000 practitioners have been killed for their organs in the period 2000–2008.

Live Harvesting
In the eyes of experts, a significant question left worryingly open in Wang’s remarks is whether the prisoners actually died before their organs were taken from their bodies. Given the reference to drug injections, it is highly possible that the hearts of the victims were still beating when their organs were removed, these experts say.

“It used to be that China would shoot for execution, then they shifted from shooting to using injections,” says Matas. “In effect they’re not killing by injection, but paralyzing by injection, and taking the organs out while the body is still alive.”

When an organ is removed from a still-live body, it is fresher and rejection rates are lower. “It’s possible to source an organ immediately after the victim is brain dead, but much more complicated,” says Matas. “The organ deterioration is more marked once they are brain dead, but if you keep the body alive through drugs you can harvest organs over a longer period of time.”

Wang’s conversations with the U.S. consular officials in Chengdu might shed light on such details as the function of the drugs he used in transplantation operations in Liaoning Province.

In any case Wang’s visit to the consulate provides the best opportunity to date of confirmation from a Chinese official of the ongoing practice of forced organ harvesting in China.

At a press conference on Monday in Washington, D.C., Falun Gong spokesperson Dr. Tsuwei Huang called on the U.S. government to release the contents of Wang Lijun’s conversations.

US House Resolution 605, passed by a vote of 412-1 in March 2010, cites the United Nations Committee Against Torture report that calls for an "independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and used for organ transplants."

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219. Save N. Korean defectors from being deported back to N. Korea

Chinese government called these refugees "are not refugees but illegal defectors, that ran away to China for simple economic reasons" and kept their policy of sending them back to North Korea.

International communities have been heavily criticizing China's policies, and Korean government as well as international communities have been requesting China to reconsider them as refugees and treat them in more humanitarian way.

North Korean defectors that get sent back to North Korea are put in political prisons under the crime of "enemy of the people", followed by forced labor, torture, and even public execution.

Fully knowing all these facts, China still sends them back to North Korea as illegal criminals.

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220. Petition against an offensive article in the newspaper Delo# in Kyrgyzstan

On February 9, 2012 a newspaper Delo# published an article "A gang of prostitutes."
This article is written in a vulgar and insulting tone. It stigmatizes and demeans the human dignity of homosexual people.

9 февраля 2012 года газета Дело№ опубликовала статью «Шайка проститутов».

Эта статья написана в вульгарном, оскорбительном тоне. Она стигматизирует и унижает человеческое достоинство гомосексуальных людей.

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221. Free Syrian Journalist Mazen Darwish And Activists Hussein Gharir and Hani Zaitan

"I have learnt that the road to democracy is as far from the path of extremism and terrorism as it is from dictatorships and tyranny. May be, that the situation went in Syria worse than our worst nightmares, but can we give up the right to change our reality or our legitimate ambitions to freedom, because those mottos were used as a ride for tyrannical authoritarian regimes and violent Takfiri movements? Do we have to chew the cud of our experiences in the Arab world time af…ter time for each, time tyranny and corruption married, they only beget extremism, violence and terrorism.....One one one.... Syrian nation is one.... Syrian blood is one..... Syrian future is one." ~Mazen Darwish, writing from prison upon his receipt of the 2013 Bruno Kreisky Award.

UPDATE JUNE 26, 2013--Mazen Darwish is a Syrian lawyer and free speech advocate. He is the president of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (CMFE) News organizations including Reuters and the Associated Press have described him as one of Syria's most prominent activists.

Darwish was arrested on 16 February 2012 by men believed to be from the intelligence arm of the Syrian Air Force. Fifteen other journalists and activists were arrested on the same day, including blogger Razan Ghazzawi and Darwish's wife, journalist Yara Badr While Badr was released in May, Darwish was subject to forced disappearance with no official statements of his whereabouts or status. The Switzerland-based International Commission of Jurists reported in August that Darwish was being tried before a secret military court and could face a death sentence with no appeal.
Also imprisoned are Student Activist Hussein Gharir and University Instructor Hani Zaitan.

Full Text of Mr. Darwish's Acceptance Speech:

Esteemed Bruno Kreisky Foundation Board and staff..

Ladies and Gentlemen..

First, I would like to thank you all for coming today and for honoring me with this award that holds the name of Bruno Kreisky; the emblem, this award which persons like Nelson Mandela, Benazir Bhutto and Lula da Silva has preceded me to it.

Though, there is no greater happiness for a prisoner than of the feeling that the outer world is remembering him, but before the devastation and the bloodshed that engulfed my homeland, the feeling of happiness becomes a kind of luxury that I am ashamed to have it.

Ladies and gentlemen..

I would to like to make a confession to you:

I always looked with wonder to Mr. Kreisky asking myself why a firm fighter and a statesman pushed his nation to permanent neutrality leaving voluntarily the ecstasy of victory and the joy of winning, till I have realized that there is no winner in wars, everybody is a loser, and there is nothing good in war except its ending.

From Baghdad to Budapest, Lebanon to Prague and from Vietnam to the two Koreas, I have learnt that there is nothing good in war except its ending, and from the victims of wars to the victims of racial indiscrimination in South Africa, to Rwanda and Bosnia to the victims of tyranny in our Arab world and Franco and Pinochet and the Greek colonels, I have learnt that the road to democracy is as far from the path of extremism and terrorism as it is from dictatorships and tyranny.

Ladies and gentlemen..

May be, that the situation went in Syria worse than our worst nightmares, but can we give up the right to change our reality or our legitimate ambitions to freedom, dignity and citizenship or our duty to reduce inequality and providing more freedom to our societies, because those mottos were used as a ride for tyrannical authoritarian regimes and violent Takfiri movements?

Do we have to chew the cud of our experiences in the Arab world time after time for each, time tyranny and corruption married, they only beget extremism, violence and terrorism.

Yes .. we want freedom and dignity and justice and yes we deserve it, but it surly is not the freedom of dying under torture or slaughtered, it is not to be killed by a shell from a jet or a by car bomb, it is the freedom of life on the basis of sharing and coalition between the universality of human rights values and the privacy of local social relations in order to reshape global human sphere that makes the life itself a moral human experience and we look at it as more owned by others than us.

Ladies and gentlemen

I wish I could address so many people by their names through your rostrum if time allows, but they are much more than time and far from the words to describe.

I want to address my colleagues who went with me to detention and to those who were lucky enough not get detained:

I am honored that I worked with you and touched your dreams and sorrows.

My friends who amaze me with their loyalty and adherence to what we believed in:

Do not lose your faith even those who do not have the bricks to build threw the sin at you.

My wonderful family.. thank you for your patience, love and support for all these hard years:

Nothing seems meaningful without your presence.

Jailers who assume their responsibility to discipline me for ten months, and especially to those who disciplined in the first days of Eid al-Adha :

I feel sorry for all of us and I wish a happy life for your children with no fear or torture but with festivals that are full of joy and love shared with my two children Inana and Adad.

Ladies and gentlemen

In the swirl of the crazy violence, I lost so much of my beloved, they were killed, detained, wounded, kidnapped, homeless like my colleague Dr. Ayham Ghazoul and the friend "Hasan Ahmad Azhary", my cousin first lieutenant Ali Darwish, my brother Sami Akel and my friend Khalil Matouk:

To them and to their families .. I bow

I strangled my tears because it is lesser than your sorrows, and I released my voice for you to get out to the sun hand in hand crying once again:

One one one
Syrian nation is one
Syrian blood is one
Syrian future is one

Mazen Darwish

10th June 2013



Syrians who have protested peacefully and spoken out against the brutal state machine are paying a high price for demanding freedom, writes an exiled human rights activist

As horrific events unfold in Syria, I think of Mazen Darwish and my other colleagues and what they might be working on had they not been in secret detention. Mazen would probably still be verifying videos, interviewing witnesses and sending out news releases in defence of arbitrarily detained activists. As the world watches people getting killed, and the brutality in Syria reaches new heights, I find myself missing his voice and principled approach more than ever.

I was the lucky one who was released on bail after a year of torture. But while we await the trial that I and other colleagues from the Syria Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression are facing, I know that Mazen and the others with him in secret detention would want me to be strong, and to keep telling the world about what Syrian human rights defenders endure in defence of those rights. When the Syrian security services descended on us, that February morning of 2012 in Damascus, we knew we would pay a high price for daring to exercise our right to protest peacefully, to organise, to speak out. We knew we were dealing with a ruthless, brutal state machine that did not tolerate dissent. We knew our work might cost us our lives.

And the price has been steep. In my 356 days of detention in an underground holding cell, I repeated like a mantra "freedom of expression, freedom of association" while security forces in the Syrian Army's Fourth Division detention facility in Mezze Damascus attempted to break my bones and crush my dreams. "Is this the freedom you want," they snorted at me while I tried to shield my head from their kicks. I raised my voice in my own head to try to cover the noises I was made to hear: cries of fellow detainees being tortured sometimes to death, being stripped out of their skin while their lives were being stripped out of them.

I wanted to survive. I wanted to look the world in the eye and say: we Syrians deserve to live as citizens. We have a right to gather, demonstrate, write freely, and hold our leaders accountable for breaking their contract with us, with humanity. I was eventually released. But they kept Mazen and our other colleagues Hussein Gharir and Hani Zaitan. Not a day goes by without me thinking of all three of them curled up in their damp cells, losing weight but not losing faith. I can still hear their voices, I can almost see them all sitting behind their computer screens, while the sun plays a game of hide and seek on that cold Damascus February day. I hold on to these memories of our office, full of life, hope, and a sense of urgency, as we documented abuses, informed the world about them, and stood up for our beliefs.

Our trial was to resume on June 26 and now has been postponed until late August. On that day, I will be with Mazen, Hussein, Hani, and Abdel Rahman Hamada, our other colleague still in Syria, in spirit in the Damascus courtroom where we will all be tried under the anti-terrorism law passed in July 2012 for "publicising terrorist acts". What is our crime? The publication of studies on the human rights and media situation in Syria, documenting the names of the detained, disappeared, wanted and killed within the context of the Syrian conflict, and receiving funding from western organisations? I still would like someone to explain to me how we qualify as terrorists. I would like to make sense of why we face up to 15 years in prison, with hard labour, for the legitimate work of documenting abuses and attempting to redress them.

While world leaders give statements about possible peace negotiations and plan a second round of Geneva talks, tens of thousands of Syrians remain detained in secret locations and inhumane conditions, subjected to torture because of their peaceful activism. As the crisis in Syria becomes more militarised, I know my colleagues would want me to remind the world that this whole affair started when peaceful Syrian activists felt it was time for the country to break with long decades of oppression and embrace a new era of freedom of expression and political participation. So to answer the question of those officers who tried to break my knees: no, this is not the freedom we want. What we are looking for is yet to come. When people like them, abusive officers, stand in courts to face charges of crimes against humanity.

And we will better them. We will not torture, disappear, kill, terrorise, and humiliate them. We will treat them with more humanity than they have shown us. We will teach them justice. Only then will I be able to answer: yes this is the freedom we want, this is the freedom we were ready to die for. This is the freedom of our colleague and friend Ayham Ghazoul who died while in detention. It might not be a coincidence then that our trial is to happen on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. It might be just the right message we want to send the world: we are being tortured for daring to speak out.
Read more:

FROM 2012--In a new escalation against freedom of expression and media work in Syria, the Office of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in Damascus was raided on Thursday 16 February at approximately one and a half PM by agents of the Air Intelligence Intelligence (Mazzeh branch).

The raid, that was carried out by members of the security apparatus along with a group of armed men, who caused panic and fear among employees and visitors of the center, especially since the officer in charge did not disclose the arrest or search warrants that are supposed to be issued by a public prosecutor.

The security forces took the IDs of SCM employees and visitors in addition to their mobile phones. They were prevented from proceeding their work and were asked to gather in one room until 4 PM; they were transferred to the Air force Intelligence detention center of Mazzeh then.

Following are the names of staff and administrators who have been arrested that day:

1 - Mazen Darwish, director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of expression.

2 - Yara Badr, Syrian journalist and the wife of Mazen Darwish.

3 - Hani Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Sociology and university teacher.

4 - Sana Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Sociology and wife Hani Zitani.

5 - Abdel Rahman Hamada, student at the Institute of Accounting.

6 - Hussein Gharir, graduate at the Faculty of Information Engineering.

7 - Mansour Al Omari, English literature graduate from Damascus University.

8 - Joan Fersso, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.

9 - Mayada Khalil, graduate at the University of archaeology in Aleppo.

10 – Ayham Ghazoul, a dentist.

11 - Bassam Al-Ahmed, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.

12 - Razan Ghazzawi, a graduate in English literature.

13 - Rita Dayoub.

Two visitors were also arrested; Shady Yazbek (student in medicine) and Hanadi Zahlout.

Female employees working at the center were released on Saturday 18 Feb 2012 around 10 PM (Yara Badr - Sanaa Mohsen - Mayada Khalil - Razan Ghazzawi) in addition to the visitor Hanadi Zahlout on one condition that at they are to show up at Air force Security every day from 9AM to 2PM for further investigation until unspecified date. Rita Dayoub was released.

The arrest of the President of the SCM, "Mazen Darwish," and male colleagues and visitor, however, continues: Hani Zitani - Abdel Rahman Hamada - Hussein Ghrer - Mansur Al Omari - Bassam Al-Ahmad -Ayham Ghazoul - Joan Fersso, and the visitor Shady Yazbek are still in custody.

Mazen Darwish was born in 1974 and graduated from Law School at Damascus University in 1998. A couple of years later he already began to advocate human rights and freedom of speech in particular by helping to establish the Committees for the Defence of Democratic Freedom and Human Rights (CDF) with a group of Syrian activists.

His fight for freedom of expression intensified in 2004, when he said, “there are no prisons to accommodate free speech” and claimed, “we cannot wait another 40 years”. Darwish then founded the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), the first non-profit organisation advocating human rights and defending freedom of speech in Syria. His aim was to highlight and spread freedom of opinion and expression, belief, variety and tolerance within the Syrian society, while promoting the work of journalists and defenders of these freedoms.

Providing legal and technical support to journalists and activists, as well as researching and publishing reports and around 10 studies on human rights abuses has put the SCM on the Syrian government´s watch list. Since its foundation the SCM´s members were subject to harassment, Darwish arrested and beaten several times. The authorities finally shut down the Centre´s offices in 2009.

Darwish and the SCM´s members continued their work undercover and have been one of the most important contributors to the fight for human rights in Syria though living in constant fear and facing enormous difficulties. In 2011 the SCM was granted “Consultative Status” by the UN´s Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC.

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2012: Reports Without Borders has issued the following statement:
"According to our sources, he has been badly tortured in detention. We have good reason to think his life is in danger because he suffers from serious ailments and his condition could worsen rapidly if he is not getting the treatment he needs. The Syrian authorities refuse to say where he is being held. He is not being allowed access to his family or lawyers, in complete violation of international law. So far, no charges have been brought against him.

Darwish is in grave danger. The authorities arrested him in order to silence him, because he was telling the outside world about acts of violence by a regime that persists in its deadly folly. A staunch defender of human rights and freedom of expression, Darwish played a key role in providing daily information about the situation in Syria, at a time when almost all foreign journalists are banned from visiting the country.

Without the courage of Syrian journalists and bloggers, no freely reported news and information would be available."

View petition

222. Immediate freedom for Hamza Kashgari

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia deported a Saudi Arabian blogger on Sunday, police said, despite fears voiced by human rights groups that he could face execution in his home country over Twitter comments he made that were deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad.

Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old columnist, sparked outrage in the oil-rich kingdom with comments posted on the Prophet's birthday a week ago that led some Islamic clerics to call for him to face the death penalty.

Kashgari fled the country, but was arrested by police in majority-Muslim Malaysia on Thursday as he transited through Kuala Lumpur international airport.

"The Saudi writer was repatriated to his home country this Sunday morning," a police spokesman told Reuters. "This is an internal Saudi matter that we cannot comment on."

Malaysia has a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion. The Southeast Asian nation is also a U.S. ally and a leading global voice for moderate Islam, meaning that the decision to extradite Kashgari is certain to be controversial.

"Saudi clerics have already made up their mind that Kashgari is an apostate who must face punishment," Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Friday.

"The Malaysian government should not be complicit in sealing Kashgari's fate by sending him back."

Kashgari's lawyer in Malaysia, Mohammad Noor, told Reuters by telephone that he had obtained a court order to prevent the deportation, but had not been allowed to see his client.

"If the government of Malaysia deports him to Saudi Arabia, disrespecting the court order, this is clearly contempt of court, unlawful and unacceptable," he said.

The Star newspaper quoted Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that Kashgari had been repatriated and that the charges against him would be decided by Saudi authorities.

"Malaysia has a longstanding arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other," he was quoted as saying.

Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.

Reuters could not verify Kashgari's comments because he later deleted them, but media reported that one of them reflected his contradictory views of the Prophet - that he both loved and hated him.

Kashgari later said in an interview that he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict" over his comments.

View petition

223. Grant IMMEDIATE Asylum to Iranian Film Maker and Activist Mohammad Ghanbari (Majidi), Case number : 11C03864-385


I, ‘Mohammad Ghanbari’ also known as ‘Mohammad Majidi’, was born in Tehran in 1985. While a university student majoring in film, I was forced to escape my homeland due to threats on my life, thus abandoning my educational pursuits.

My activities and responsibilities in the realms of human rights and politics since 2006, and the positions held include:
-Secretary of the student branch of ‘Iran National Unity Front’ (the post of Secretary General of the party was held by Mr. Amir Hosein Heshmatsaran, who was assassinated in the winter of 2009).
-Secretary of the ‘Iranian Students Confederation’, Karaj branch.
-Speaker of the Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners’ Rights.

I had been employed in the film industry. Due to my endeavors for the cause of equal rights between genders and in the pursuit of democratic reforms, I was repeatedly arrested and tortured. The post- election cleansing campaign implemented by the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guard Corps since 2009 has resulted in an utter lack of security for those actively opposed to the despotic ruling regime in Iran. After the assassination of Mr. Heshmatsaran, I was apprehended and threatened by intelligence agents on several occasions, hence my life was clearly in peril. Most recently in the summer of 2011, after agents of the Intelligence Ministry assailed our home to arrest me, fearing execution I was forced to flee my country.

Due to the threats and torture inflicted by the Intelligence apparatus, I have been afflicted with emotional and psychological illness; I was constantly in a state of fear, anxiety, and depression. I was present alongside Mr. Heshmatsaran’s family to retrieve his remains. Moreover, I was present to retrieve the body of Mr. Hosein Razi, from the National Front, who was laid to rest in winter of 2011.
I never had any intention of seeking asylum, as I do love my country. My expatriation and critical condition are sadly the results of a tyrannical government ruling Iran.

I along with other political and human rights activists in Iran did not expect guests when we heard a knock at the door. We lived in constant fear. When we left the house our families worried for our safe return, fearful they might never see us again as we were subject to violent assaults by government thugs. Although I am presently in Turkey, Intelligence Ministry agents have assailed my home in Iran and threatened my family.

Several well-known friends of mine and personalities such as Mr. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, Peyman Aref, Mehrdad Lohrasbi, Hojjat Bakhtiari, Manoochehr Mohammadi, Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Afshin Baymani, Arjang Davoodi, Naser Mohammadi, Mohammad Mostafaee, and Ms. Shiva Nazar Ahari, Fereshteh Shirazi, Nazanin Afshin Jam, and many others know me and are aware of my activism.

I am hereby pleading for help from all human rights activists and all who value freedom and equality. If I am forcibly repatriated, I shall be sentenced to death. I am in Turkey at the present, living in dire conditions emotionally and otherwise.
Case number : 11C03864-385
Date of Birth : 21 Sep 1985

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mohammad Ghanbari (Majidi)
Film Maker and Human Rights Activist

View petition

224. Free bus passes for disabled persons before 9:30 a.m. in Cambridgeshire

We believe in free transport for all disabled people within Cambridgeshire by bus.

Unfortunately we are unable to use buses before 9:30 in the morning.

I have talked to allot of disabled people and its a really big problem for us.

View petition

225. Immediate & Unconditional Release of Mehdi Khazali

UPDATE Radio Zamaneh 06/04/2013

Political prisoner released after weight, health plummet

Iranian political prisoner Mehdi Khazali was released from Evin Prison on the night of Monday June 3.

Kaleme reports that Khazali began another hunger strike after Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had been the top reformist candidate seeking the Iranian presidency, was disqualified from the race.

According to the reports, Khazali was in critical condition, with his weight down to 52 kg.

Khazali had ended his previous hunger strike after 140 days at the request of his peers. He had announced that in commendation of Ayatollah Rafsanjani, he would end his hunger strike.

A week later, the Guardian Council announced the list of approved presidential candidates, and it did not include the moderate cleric Ayatollah Rafsanjani. Khazali announced that he would resume his hunger strike.

Mehdi Khazali was arrested last October at a gathering of writers. Khazali, a physician by profession, runs a political commentary blog.

Source Radio Zamaneh

_ _ _ _ _

UPDATE Radio Zamaneh 05/30/2013

Mehdi Khazali, the Iranian political prisoner who had ended his hunger strike following the announcement that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has registered as a presidential candidate, has resumed his hunger strike.

The Neday-e Sabz Azadi website reports that Khazali is once again refusing food after the Guardian Council disqualified the moderate cleric Ayatollah Rafsanjani from running in the election.

Khazali and many other reformists, many of whom are in jail after the controversial election of 2009 when reformist candidates alleged the elections were rigged in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have denounced the rejection of their chief candidate and claim the council is clearing the path for the election of a conservative candidate.

Khazali has been arrested on several occasions for his critical blogs about the government. He was last arrested at a gathering of writers ,and while all the people who were arrested with him have been released, he remains in jail.
_ _ _ _ _
UPDATE Radio Zamaneh 05/21/2013

Reformist candidate inspires end of hunger strike

Mehdi Khazali, a prominent Iranian political prisoner, has ended his hunger strike after 140 days following the announcement of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s decision to run for president.

Kaleme reports that Khazali’s son quoted his father saying that he was convinced to end his hunger strike as soon as he was informed that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani had agreed to join the presidential race.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was reluctant to join the race after four years of attacks from the conservative camp. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, had condemned Hashemi’s support for those who challenged the result of the 2009 presidential election and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.

However, Ahmadinejad has also fallen out of favour with the Supreme Leader in the past few years, raising the possibility that the reformists could return to the political scene.

Khazali’s son reported that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani had sent a message to his father in prison, urging him to end his hunger strike, and he has apparently agreed to do so in view of the moderate cleric’s candidacy.

Mehdi Khazali was arrested with a group of writers last November as part of the government crackdown on reformists. While all the detainees from that day have been released, Khazali has remained behind bars.

_ _ _ _

UPDATE Radio Zamaneh April 19 , 2013

Health concerns rise for jailed Iranian activist

The wife of political prisoner Mehdi Khazali says her husband is being held in a “tight cell without any basic services” and his health is seriously at risk.

The Kaleme website reports that a number of political activists visited the family of jailed activist Mehdi Khazali, and they were told that his calls to the family have been getting shorter and the family is very concerned about his health in solitary confinement.

The report indicates that Khazali’s spouse has written to senior members of the clergy to urge them to break their silence in view of the “cruelty [her] husband is being subjected to.” She warned that Mehdi Khazali’s current circumstances at Evin Prison are threatening his life.

Mehdi Khazali, the disowned son of conservative clergyman Ayatollah Khazali, has been critical of the government crackdown on election protests over the past four years, and his critical blogs and his association with reformist figures have resulted in his persecution by the authorities.

_ _ _ _ _ _

UPDATE January 12 , 2013

Radio Zamaneh

Mehdi Khazali renews hunger strike

Mehdi Khazali, a jailed Iranian physician and blogger, has begun his sixth round of a hunger strike in Evin Prison.

The Kaleme website reported on January 11 that Mehdi Khazali has been refusing food since nine days ago and he has been transferred to solitary confinement by Evin authorities.

Mehdi Khazali was last arrested in November of 2012 after security forces attacked a writer’s gathering.

Kaleme reports that Khazali had broken his earlier strike when prison authorities promised to meet his demands. However, a lack of commitment to those promises and the persistent “illegal treatment of prisoners by the interrogators and judiciary officials” have led Khazali into another hunger strike.

Mehdi Khazali has been critical of the government in his blogs, and that has earned him 14 years in jail. He is also sentenced to 90 lashes.

Khazali is the son of Abolghasem Khazali, a hardline member of the Assembly of Experts, and the senior Khazali has disowned his son for his reformist stance in politics.

UPDATE December 9, 2012;

40 Days After Arrest Dr. Mehdi Khazali Contacts Family & Launches Another Hunger Strike
By persianbanoo

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

UPDATE : 31 Oct 20122:
Arrested during a raid against Pen Club - Sent to Evin 209 and immediately begins a dry hunger strike

UPDATE : 31 Oct 2012: Arrested during a raid against Pen Club - Sent to Evin 209 and immediately begins a dry hunger strike

UPDATE : 18 Mar 2012: On 70th day of hunger strike, released on bail - Lost 30 kgs

UPDATE ; March 6 , 2012

[Kaleme] Following 57 days of a hunger strike, Mehdi Khazali incarcerated reformist, war veteran, blogger and vocal critic of the ruling government launches a dry hunger strike protesting the lack of responsibility by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

UPDATE ; February 17, 2012 – Kaleme - Incarcerated dissident critical of the government, Dr. Mehdi Khazali was reportedly transferred to Taleghani hospital a few hours ago after suffering a heart attack.

UPDATE ; February 16 2012 ; Wife & daughter of Mehdi Khazali were released today on bail !

UPDATE ; February 15 2012 - Radio Zamaneh
Wife and child of political prisoner abducted

Dissident sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Iranian dissident Mehdi Khazali has been sentenced to 14 years in jail, 10 years in exile and 90 lashes.

Author, critic and blogger, Dr. Mehdi Khazali is incarcerated in Evin prison and has been on a hunger strike for one month.

The director of Hayan Publications as well as a dissident blogger, Khazali received this sentence after more than 27 days on a hunger strike and he is in critically poor health.

Two days ago he was reportedly taken to the prison infirmary due to haemorrhaging of his digestive tract.

Khazali has been arrested on several occasions since the controversial presidential elections of 2009, which revealed a deep rift in the Islamic Republic establishment between the conservatives and the reformist factions.

His previous arrest occurred last July, and he was released on bail after a month-long hunger strike.

Khazali has used his blogposts to criticize the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration and denounce government policies.

He has written open letters to the Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khamenei, warning him against the current mistreatment of the opposition and inadequacies of the system.

Khazali is the son of the conservative cleric and member of the Assembly of Experts, Abolghassem Khazali, who has disowned his son.

Mehdi Khazali, who is also a physician, was disqualified from running in the last parliamentary elections and was denied and appointment to the board of directors of Iran’s College of Physicians.

View petition

226. Syria ; Free Saeed Ali Ibrahim!

Saeed Ali Ibrahim,date of birth ;1st of September 1973,in Qamishli, Syria.

Date of arrest is 27th October 2011 and he is kept in "Adra Prison" near Damascus, Syria .

Fake accusations for arresting him are "financing terrorist groups" according to the government.
But the truth is that he was committed into healing and helping people that got injured during their protest against the regime's dictatorship.

He occasionally is allowed to call his mother, although only for a minute or so. He has been repetitively tortured during his imprisonment, both verbally (humiliating him, disrespecting his human rights) and physically (beaten up, and physically tortured in different ways.

View petition

227. End abortion now

All the facts you need to know are on this website:

Some others are that:

Babies feel pain at nine weeks. For every 3 baby's born in America one is aborted and if you do the math that's a lot of baby's just in America think about how many are killed in the entire world.

View petition

228. Free Ehsan Houshmand, a Kurdish researcher & journalist

25 Apr 2012: Released on bail - Suffers ear and jaw problems because of torture

Ehsan Houshmand, a Kurdish researcher and a journalist, has again been imprisoned. He has now been in solitary confinement for since January 6th and during this time has been allowed to call home only once.

Mehraveh, his five year old daughter cried for hours after this recent arrrest.

It is not clear why Mr. Houshmand has been detained, and the intelligence agents did not mention the reason for his detention.

Mr. Houshmand, 40, is an able and knowledgeable researcher in the field of ethnicity, and many of his works have been published in the country’s papers.

View petition

229. Open family courts to the public to see the truth

There are too many lies and corrupt courts in the world, the courts need to be open so we can see that justice is done properly like the criminal courts, as child abuse should been seen as criminal and not only judge but jury and then they would be a fair hearing part of our human rights as children are taken away from loving familys and this causes more abuse to children.

John Bowbly child psychologist stated it will do more harm than good if a child and mother is separated, research shows children in care are more likely to end up criminals themselves and ASBO.

View petition

230. FREE Political activist Yaser Yousefzadeh

Reported released.


Political activist Yaser Yousefzadeh arrested in the city of Babolsar.

Yaser Yousefzadeh, political activist from Mazandaran province has been detained at his residence.

Security agents who were not in possession of an arrest warrant, raided Yousefzadeh’s residence and violently detained him.

According to reports by Jemran News, when the agents showed up, Yaser’s family members demanded that they produce an arrest warrant. The aggressive agents then violently confronted the family members and in the skirmish that ensued they used pepper spray on Yaser’s father.

Yaser ran towards them with bare feet in order to prevent the agents from hurting his father, and ended up getting and handcuffed and severely beaten up to the horror of his powerless parents. The agents then forced Yaser into an unmarked car and whisked him away.

Yaser was taken from his father’s home to his own residence after this savage attack, where the agents took his personal belongings after searching and ransacking his home. During the raid on his home, the brutality of the agents caused the whole neighborhood to get agitated and the agents again used pepper spray and viciously confronted Yaser’s distraught neighbors.

Yaser Yousefzadeh is a graduate of Polytechnic University (Amirkabir) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was an active member of Mousavi’s presidential political campaign in Mozandaran province and was a staff member of Mousavi’s campaign 88 in the city of Babolsar during the 2009 presidential elections.

Yousefzadeh had previously been detained and held in solitary confinement in a holding cell at the Sari Intelligence headquarters.

Article in Persian:

View petition

231. Release Journalists Parastoo Dokouhaki & Marzieh Rasouli in Iran

In a new wave of arrests in 2012 against journalists in Iran:

Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli, two journalists and bloggers recently arrested, are currently being held in the Sepah Ward 2-A of Evin Prison. They are being held in solitary confinement in a section controlled by the Revolutionary Guards. They have been charged with “propaganda against the regime and acting against national security.” They have not yet had access to a lawyer or allowed visits from their families. Their families have been told to refrain from speaking with media.

Dokouhaki, a women’s rights activist and one of the first bloggers in Iran, was arrested on January 15, 2012 at her home. Security forces confiscated her some of her personal belongings. In March 2007, Dokouhaki and 32 other women’s rights activists were arrested while attending protests against the trial of fellow activist Sousan Tahmasbi. Despite her earlier involvement with numerous reformist publications, Dokouhaki’s family say this female journalist has not been engaged in any political activity in recent years.

Rasouli, a journalist with a history of working with the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) and dailies such as Iran and Shargh newspaper, was arrested on January 17, 2012. Rasouli had been previously arrested in September of 2010 and banned from traveling abroad. Rasouli had been told that her charge was “espionage” but a few weeks before her second arrest this year, she was told that the charges against her had been dropped and she was allowed to acquire a passport.

Sources: Green Voice of Freedom, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Free Europe

اطلاعیه مطبوعاتی: روزنامه نگاران بازداشت شده در بند 2 الف سپاه پاسداران هستند

2 بهمن 1390

اطلاعیه مطبوعاتی: روزنامه نگاران بازداشت شده در بند 2 الف سپاه پاسداران هستند

پرستو دوکوهکی و مرضیه رسولی، دو روزنامه نگار و وبلاگ نویس ایرانی، حدود یک هفته است که در بند دو الف زندان اوین که زیر نظر اطلاعات سپاه ایران اداره می شود در سلول انفرادی هستند. هفته گذشته مامورین به خانه های پرستو دوکوهکی و مرضیه رسولی ریخته اند و آنها را همراه با وسائل و لپ تاپ هایشان با خود برده اند. علت دستگیری این دو روزنامه نگار مشخص نیست و تنها اتهام های مبهم "تبلیغ علیه نظام" و "اقدام علیه امنیت ملی" به آنها تفهیم شده است. این روزنامه نگاران تا به حال از داشتن وکیل محروم بوده اند و موفق به ملاقات با خانواده های خود نشده اند. خانواده های آنها هم اطلاع بیشتر از وضعیت آنها ندارند و از صحبت با رسانه ها خودداری می کنند. به نظر می رسد خانواده های این روزنامه نگاران نیز همچون موارد مشابه که پیش از این بارها گزارش شده است، از سوی مقامات امنیتی مجبور به سکوت شده اند.

مرضیه و پرستو تنها روزنامه نگارانی نیستند که در روزهای اخیر دستگیر شده اند. روزنامه نگاران، وب نگاران و فعالان اجتماعی دیگری از جمله سهام الدین بورقانی، فاطمه خردمند، احسان هوشمند، سعید مدنی، فرشاد قربان‌پور، محمد سلیمانی نیا، نسرین نعمت اللهی، پیمان پاک مهر و شهرام منوچهری هم در چند روز گذشته دستگیر شده اند. تعدادی از روزنامه نگاران هم در هفته های اخیر بازجویی و تهدید شده اند. خانواده های برخی خبرنگاران مشغول به کار در رسانه های خارج از کشور از جمله خانواده های خبرنگاران بی بی سی فارسی هم اخیرا اذیت و آزار یا بازداشت شده اند. در چند روز اخیر تعدادی از دانشجویان و شهروندان عادی هم مورد بازجویی و ضرب و شتم قرار گرفته اند.

با توجه به موج دستگیری ها و فشارها در هفته ها و ماه های اخیر، به نظر می رسد برخی خبرنگاران و وب نگاران ساکن ایران و دوستان و خانواده های خبرنگاران شبکه های خارجی قربانی سیاست های امنیتی و پیشگیرانه حکومت ایران برای کنترل جریان اطلاع رسانی در مورد انتخابات پیش رو شده اند.

ما از دولت جمهوری اسلامی ایران می خواهیم این روزنامه نگاران را هر چه زودتر آزاد کند. از کلیه نهادهای حقوق بشری و جوامع بین المللی هم می خواهیم این فشارها و ارعاب ها را محکوم کنند، وضعیت روزنامه نگاران دستگیر شده را پیگیری کرده و از دولت ایران بخواهند تا این روزنامه نگاران را هر چه سریع تر آزاد کند.

Source: Free Parastoo & Marzieh blog

View petition

232. Immediate & Unconditional Release of Mohammad Soleimani Nia

UPDATE August 15, 2012

The organization also learned of the release on bail of Mohammad Solimaninya, head of the social networking site u24, after he paid a bond of 500 million tomans (approx. 400,000 euros). He was arrested on 28 May for a second time after he was summoned to Tehran’s Evin prison.

SOURCE : Reporters Without Borders

UPDATE: CNN July 4, 2012

Prominent Iranian literary translator missing, source says:

A prominent Iranian literary translator is missing, just weeks after being released from Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, a source close to him said Monday.
The individual said Mohammad Soleimani Nia, 40, hasn't been seen since he responded to a call from authorities last Wednesday to retrieve personal belongings that had been confiscated. He was to pick up items, including his driver's license, computer and passport at an office near Evin Prison.

The source gave this chronology of events leading up to his disappearance:

-- In late November 2011, Soleimani Nia was questioned by security and intelligence officers. Friends and family aren't sure of the motive behind that questioning, because phones are monitored in Iran and Soleimani Nia was tight-lipped about the experience, which resulted in his being barred from leaving the country.

-- On January 10, officials called him to the Revolutionary Court. The court hears cases of smuggling, blaspheming, inciting violence or attempting the overthrow of the Iranian government.

-- After arriving at court, Soleimani Nia was accompanied by security guards to the home he shares with his parents in Karaj, outside Tehran. The guards searched the house, seizing electronic devices and documents, and prohibited Soleimani Nia from speaking to his parents.

-- Soleimani Nia was then detained on unknown charges, then released on bail in May. He was freed after agreeing to suspend a hunger strike after 28 days. During part of that time, he reportedly was held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, notorious for its harsh conditions.

This, the next chapter in Soleimani Nia's on going saga, has many people close to him deeply concerned.
"We don't even know if he made it (to the office near Evin Prison) or if he was just kidnapped as soon as he left the house," the source said. "This is very disturbing. To this point, no authorities have taken responsibility regarding this and we don't know where he is."

Associates have previously described Soleimani Nia as being physically delicate.

Firoozeh Dumas, an Iranian-American author whose best-selling book "Funny in Farsi" Soleimani Nia translated for the Iranian audience, described her friend as "a very gentle soul" and "a model citizen, who loves his country, his family and culture."
"Mohammad Soleimani Nia is also the most nonpolitical person I have ever met," Dumas said.
"He translated 'Funny in Farsi' simply because he wanted to share with his fellow Iranians a book that he had enjoyed in English," she said.
Soleimani Nia also is considered a tech pioneer by his peers; he is credited for launching an Iranian social networking website comparable to LinkedIn called U24, a portal for Iranian professionals seeking jobs.
"Given the high unemployment rate, he should be celebrated for his desire to help the Iranian economy. If he lived in America, he would be called a nerd. In Iran, he's a prisoner," Dumas said.
CNN tried calling the spokesman for the Iranian foreign minister but has yet to receive an official response regarding Soleimani Nia's case.


Iranian translator released from notorious Tehran prison

CNN May 24, 2012

A prominent Iranian literary translator imprisoned since January on unknown charges has been released on bail, a source close to the family said Wednesday.
Soleimani Nia has yet to be charged.
This month, Nia agreed to suspend a hunger strike after 28 days. He had written a letter of protest to authorities and was told that it would be considered only if he ended his hunger strike, the source said.
Behind bars, he spoke to his family sporadically, the source has said.
Nia was in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison, notorious for its harsh conditions, for some of his time in custody, the source said in April. He was then moved to a general section of the prison.
Associates have previously described Nia as being physically delicate.
Firoozeh Dumas, an Iranian-American author whose best-selling book "Funny in Farsi" Nia translated for the Iranian audience, described her friend as "a very gentle soul."


CNN May 4, 2012

Iranian translator halts hunger strike, source says

A prominent Iranian literary translator imprisoned since January on unknown charges has suspended his hunger strike after 28 days, a source close to the family said Thursday.

Soleimani Nia had written a letter of protest to the authorities and was told that it would be considered only if he ended his hunger strike, the source said.
For this reason, he has halted his protest for one week to see if the authorities will look at the letter, the contents of which are not known, the source said.
In the course of his 28-day hunger strike, Nia has needed medical treatment on one occasion and remains in a prison hospital ward.

He will be able to consume only non-solid food for a while because of the effects of the hunger strike on his digestive system.

The last time he spoke to his family was a few days ago and very briefly, according to the source. Nia was in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison, notorious for its harsh conditions, for some of his time in custody, the source said last month. He was then moved to a general section of the prison. Associates have previously described Nia as being physically delicate.

Firoozeh Dumas, an Iranian-American author whose best-selling book "Funny in Farsi" Soleimani Nia translated for the Iranian audience, described her friend as "a very gentle soul."

Literary translator Mohammad Soleimani Nia, 39, has been detained in Iran since January 10 for unknown reasons.

Family and friends of a well-known literary translator in Iran are concerned for his well-being after he was detained for unknown reasons nearly two weeks ago.

Mohammad Soleimani Nia, 39, has been held since January 10, according to a source close to his family.

The family doesn't know where he's being detained or why he's being questioned, but they fear he is in solitary confinement at Tehran's notorious Evin prison, according to the source. The prison is known for its harsh conditions.

Soleimani Nia's family is "so worried about his health," said the source, who did not want to be named for safety reasons. "He's not a strong person physically."
His ordeal began in late November when he was questioned by security and intelligence officers. Friends and family aren't sure the motive behind that questioning as phones are monitored in Iran and Soleimani Nia was tight-lipped about the experience, which resulted in him being banned from leaving the country, according to the source.

On January 10, officials called him to the Revolutionary Court, where he reported that morning. The court hears cases of smuggling, blaspheming, inciting violence or trying to overthrow the Iranian government.

After arriving at court, he was accompanied by security guards to the home he shares with his parents in Karaj, outside Tehran. The guards searched the house, seizing electronic devices and documents, and prohibited Soleimani Nia from speaking to his parents, the source said.

His whereabouts have been unknown since the guards left the home with Soleimani Nia in their custody.

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233. Free Foad Khanjani

#iran Foad Khanjani Receving Medical Care

Sen´s Daily November 10 , 2012

Foad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی), a former student of industrial management at Isfahan University who was expelled because of his Bahai beliefs, and who is serving a 4-year sentence in Raja`i Shahr prison near Tehran, has (at last) been taken to hospital for treatment. He is suffering from a cyst in the abdomen, causing pain and bleeding. Although he obtained all the necessary permissions for hospital treatment weeks ago, prison authorities had refused to act.

#IRAN : Foad_Kanjani Still Waiting For Admission To Hospital

Sens´s Daily 12 October , 2012

Foad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی), a Bahai excluded from higher education who is serving a 4-year sentence in Raja`i Shahr prison near Tehran, is suffering from a cyst in the abdomen, causing pain and bleeding. He requires immediate surgery. Although he obtained all the necessary permissions for hospital treatment several weeks ago, he is still in prison. On September 27 he was taken to one hospital, but because a place for him had been reserved in a different hospital, the doctors refused to admit him.

SOURCE : Sen´s Daily

Fouad Khanjani Begins His Four-Year Prison Sentence

The Association Against Educational Discrimination Web site reported that he had been sentenced to four years of correctional imprisonment by Judge Moghiseh of Branch 28 of the Revolutionary court which was later confirmed by Judge Movahed of Branch 54 of the appeals court.

Previously, on April 27, 2010, he had been arrested and later released on bail after a few days. On March 2, 2010,this student who has been deprived of higher education, had been summoned to the ministry of intelligence and on two other occasions had received similar orders.

It is worth noting that his father, Mr. Alaeddin Khanjani, had also been arrested on or about April 27, 2010, and released on bail on 16 March 2010. His sister, Leva Khanjani Mobasher's two-year prison sentence was upheld by an appeals court in 2011. His grandfather, Jamaloddin Khanjani, one of the seven imprisoned Bahai leaders, is currently serving a 20-year prison term.

Fouad Khanjani’s grandfather, Jmalaldyn Khanjani, also is one of the leaders of the Baha’I community who is serving a sentence of 20 years in the Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

This banned-from-education student, earlier, had been expelled from the Industrial Management Organization, due to his belief in the Baha’i faith.

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234. Free Young Chinese Girl's Mother from Prison

Please help Chinese girl, Cheng Li Ellison, free her mother from prison in China. Her mother is a Falun Gong practitioner; and the only crime she committed was distributing pamphlets about the practice of Falun Gong.

She was put in prison without trial or sentence, and no one is able to contact her. Cheng's father too afraid of the power of the government, so is unwilling to help - even the person is his own wife.

Cheng is now married to an Australian citizen and planned to bring out her parents to Australia with her; however now, that dream seems very far away.

Please help her bring her dreams closer to reality.

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235. Free Negar Monazami

Negar Monazami: Prisoner of the day; Arrested on International Women's Day.

hra-news: Basij forces arrested Negar Monazami, 29, on 8 March 2011, during street protests commemorating the International Women's Day. She was first transferred to Security Police and later taken to Evin Prison. She was released on bail 28 days later.

Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, with Judge Moghisseh presiding, sentenced Negar Monazami to 14 months in prison and 75 lashes.

Monazami was arrested again on 13 June 2011 in order to start serving her prison term. Several days after her arrest, her family learned that she was inside Intelligence Ministry's Ward 209 at Evin Prison. Monazami received her flogging sentence immediately after her June arrest. According to a 10 October 2011 report, for unknown reasons, Monazami remained inside Ward 209 four months after her arrest, and the authorities refused to provide her family with any information about her situation or allow her to visit with them.

Monazami was reportedly born in prison in 1983, as her parents were both political prisoners at the time of her birth.Her father, Saeed Monazami, a Constitutionalist, was executed in 1988 during the mass executions of political prisoners in Iranian prisons.

from Ghormeh Sabzi

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236. Free Iranian Blogger Vahid Asghari, Sentenced To Death For "Hosting Blasphemous Websites"!

Reporters Without Borders: Arrested at Tehran Airport on 11 May 2008, Vahid Asghari, an Information Technology student in India, has been in "temporary detention" for close to four years. Yesterday, January 7, 2012, Vahid Asghari was sentenced to death by Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court with Judge Salavati presiding.

Ever since its creation by the Revolutionary Guards in March 2009, the Organized Crime Surveillance Center has played an active role in tracking down and arresting outspoken netizens.

Shortly after its creation, the center announced the dismantling of a “malevolent” online network in March 2009 and the arrests of several website moderators. Their photos and “confessions” were posted on the centre’s website, Gerdab (, a few days later. They reportedly admitted to links with websites that criticized Islam and the government, and to their intention of “misleading” Iranian youth by publicizing porn sites. They also confessed to participating in a plot supported by the Americans and Israelis.

On 17 June 2009, two days after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection triggered a wave of street protests, the center issued a communiqué announcing that it had noted “several cases of websites and personal blogs posting articles inciting disturbances of public order and urging the population to rebel.”

Detainees have been subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and to torture to obtain confessions that are used in their trials. Asghari, a leading target of the “network dismantling” policy, is one of the victims of such abuses. Aged 24 and an ICT student in India, he was arrested on 11 May 2008 at Tehran airport for possessing several credit cards.

He was held in solitary confinement for seven month and was mistreated and tortured to make him confess to organizing a pornographic network that blasphemed Islam and criticized the government in order to pervert Iranian youth. And what was Asghari’s crime? Hosting websites, including the sites of government opponents.

“I was beaten with a stick for hours and hours while blindfolded and handcuffed,” he wrote in a letter to the president of the 15th chamber of the Revolutionary Court on 17 October 2009. “With a knife against my throat, I was threatened with death and rape. I and my family were insulted. I was forced to make a confession and sign it. They then videoed my confession and broadcast the video with the national television station’s complicity although I was legally presumed to be innocent.”

According to article 168 of the constitution, defendants prosecuted on political charges should be given public, jury trials but most of the trials have been held behind closed doors. Their lawyers are often sidelined and denied access to the case files and in some cases defendants were not told they had been tried and condemned. Asghari said in his letter: “I have never seen my lawyer and, even in court, I did not have the right to say hello to him.”

Asghari also wrote: “I was alleged to have received money from abroad as a result of Google advertising on the websites I hosted. I was accused of insulting the Shiite Imams and the Prophet because of their content. And I was forced to say that Hossein Derakhshan was an agent of both the Iranian ministry of intelligence and the CIA.”

UPDATE: On Saturday, February 11, 2012 imprisoned death row blogger Vahid Asghari was transferred to solitary confinement and under severe duress was coerced into making another false confession.

After the death sentence was handed down, agents from the Cyber Intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Court intimidated Vahid into taking part in the recent televised confession in exchange for a promise of a reduced sentencing and a transfer to the public ward of Evin prison.

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237. Free Journalist Fatemeh Kheradmand

UPDATE CHRR 3 July 2013

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Journalist Fatemeh Kheradmand was handed a one-year prison sentence by Judge Pir Abassi presiding over Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. The journalist was charged with “propaganda against the regime through working with the ‘Ghalame Sabz’ website.”

According to CHHR, on January 7, 2012 Intelligence agents raided the home of Fatemeh Kheradmand in the middle of the night, conducted a search of her residence, confiscated personal items such as her computer and transferred her to ward 209 of Evin prison at 1:30am. After enduring 25 days in detention while being interrogated, on February 1, 2012 the journalist was granted temporary release pending her trial on 50 million Tomans bail.

On October 24, 2012 Kheradmand was put on trial along with Dr. Saeed Madani and Ehsan Hooshmand at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court presided by judge Pir Abassi on the charge of “propaganda against the regime through working with the ‘Ghalame Sabz” website.”

Fatemeh Kheramand, journalism major at Tehran Azad University was a staff member of the Mir Hossein Mousavi presidential election campaign in 2009. Her husband Masoud Lavasani is a journalist who was detained in September 2009 after the contested presidential elections of that year and faces a 2-year prison sentence handed by Judge Pir Abassi.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Journalist Fatemeh Kheradmand has been arrested.

Human Rights House of Iran _ She is the wife of journalist Massoud Lavasani, who was released from Evin prison on September 8th after enduring approximately two years behind bars.

According to Human Rights House of Iran, Iranian security agents, who introduced themselves as judicial agents, searched Kheradmand’s house before arresting her. During the inspection process at her home, the security agents confiscated Kheradmand’s personal items and computer. The reason for the arrest has not been announced.

Her husband Masoud Lavasani was arrested on September 26, 2009, and transferred to Evin prison. He was initially sentenced to eight and a half years in prison by the lower court, but the Appeals Court reduced the sentence to six years in prison.

Eventually, the sentence was reduced to two years in prison. His sentence was issued by branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge PirAbbasi.

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238. Stop the move to a New Head Quarters of OCHA REMONACA in Egypt

There will be a move to a New Head Quarters of OCHA REMONACA in Egypt.

The new premises are not only inadequate and extremely small, nevertheless the traffic itself is Mannes, the commute alone takes four to three hours, we have all as staff undersigned our contracts based on the fact that the office is in Maadi an extremely peaceful and quite neighborhood.

The move will be extremely destructive and disruptive in to our lives we have already started to feel the oppression of not having a saying about something that will effect and change our lives completely definitely into the worst, most of us need sun light to operate for 8 to 10 hours and some of the desks do not have access to sunlight at all simply because there is no windows!!!

If we have taken money from donors to support our operations that mainly fall under the umbrella of saving lives.. That is a total waste of money and effort..

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239. Immediate & Unconditional Release of Amir Hekmati

Amir Hekmati

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 29, 2012

Today marks one year since Iranian authorities detained U.S. citizen Amir Hekmati. We are relieved that Iran’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence verdict, but remain troubled by Mr. Hekmati’s lack of legal rights and Iran’s continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the United States’ protecting power in Iran.

Mr. Hekmati now has spent a year in prison on charges that are categorically false, and he endured a closed-door trial with little regard for fairness and transparency. We remain concerned over reports of Mr. Hekmati’s health condition in prison and urge the Iranian Government to release him so that he may be reunited with his family.

Source : US Department Of State

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UPDATE : New York Times, July 10 2013

Hopes Rise for Appeal of Ex-Marine Held in Iran
New York Times, July 10 2013

Prison life has markedly improved in recent weeks for Amir Hekmati, the former Marine incarcerated for nearly two years in Iran on spying accusations. His sister said he was now allowed weekly visits from three Iranian relatives, books, daily exercise and a regular correspondence of letters with family in the United States.

His sister, Sarah Hekmati, who shared two of the letters, said Mr. Hekmati was also attending Persian language classes in Evin Prison in Tehran and had started to teach English to fellow inmates. She said that the two uncles and an aunt who had visited him said he was sounding increasingly positive and optimistic.

“Even from his letters, he’s embraced this as a test, as a way of reshaping him,” Ms. Hekmati said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “He feels like he’s been productive.”

The improved circumstances, she said, strengthened the family’s hope that Iran’s judiciary, which threw out his original conviction for espionage but has not yet announced a retrial, would favorably review a legal appeal for his release prepared by Mr. Hekmati’s Iranian counsel.

“Our relatives on the ground say people are optimistic,” Ms. Hekmati said.

It was unclear whether the eased prison conditions were related to the presidential elections in Iran last month, in which a moderate cleric, Hassan Rowhani, defeated his more conservative rivals. Mr. Rowhani, who has said he wants to find ways to improve Iran’s estranged relations with the United States, is scheduled to take office in early August.

There has also been speculation that Mr. Hekmati may be among the inmates in Iran’s penal system who are sometimes granted clemency or reduced sentences during Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim holiday that began Wednesday in Iran.

So far, however, there has been no word from the Iranian authorities on the disposition of Mr. Hekmati’s case, which has become something of an emotional cause in his home state, Michigan, and an additional source of Iranian-American tensions.

Mr. Hekmati learned during his incarceration that his father, a college professor in Flint, has brain cancer, which has made his relatives more anxious about when Mr. Hekmati might be freed.

Senator Carl Levin, the longtime Michigan Democrat, spoke on the Senate floor on June 12 calling for Mr. Hekmati’s release, noting that even Iran’s Supreme Court had found the evidence against him deeply flawed and that Iranian officials had yet to make clear what charges, if any, he might face.

Mr. Hekmati, who spent four years in the Marines and turns 30 on July 28, was arrested in August 2011, interrupting what his family has described as an innocuous visit with his grandmothers. He disappeared for three months, before the Iranian authorities paraded him in a heavily edited television broadcast as a C.I.A. spy.

He was tried and sentenced to be executed, but the verdict was overturned and in March 2012 a new trial was ordered.

Mr. Hekmati has remained in Evin Prison throughout, however, with little access to outside counsel. He spent many months in solitary confinement and went on a hunger strike.

His family has said conditions began to improve only this past March, when an uncle was allowed to visit for the first time and Mr. Hekmati was permitted to send a few letters home, in which he apologized for having caused his family so much angst.

Until a few weeks ago, his sister said, Mr. Hekmati had been receiving visits just once a month from the uncle, their mother’s brother. Now, she said, he is receiving visits every Monday, and the visitors included his father’s brother and sister.

In one of his recent letters to their mother that Ms. Hekmati shared, he sought to reassure the family that he was doing well. “I am living a very healthy life here,” he wrote. “There are very good people here. In regards to food we have everything we need. I attend language classes and I exercise daily. Please forgive me for being a source of your worries.”

He also wrote, “I have a good feeling that this situation will be resolved soon, God willing.”

Mr. Hekmati described his anguish over his father’s cancer and beseeched him to “stay strong and do not worry about me at all.”


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Family pleads for release of former Marine imprisoned in Iran
By Elise Labott

A year ago this week, an Iranian court threw out the death penalty conviction of a former U.S. Marine accused of spying and ordered a retrial.

After the death sentence was overturned, his family in Michigan held out hope Amir Hekmati would be released.

Instead, he has spent the past year in solitary confinement at Iran's notorious Evin Prison.

Hekmati was detained by Iranian authorities in August 2011 during a two-week visit to see his grandmother. Iranian authorities accused him spying on behalf of the CIA, a charge the family and the Obama administration deny.

Born in Arizona and raised in Nebraska before settling in Flint, Michigan, with his family, Hekmati joined the Marines out of high school. He finished his service four years later as a decorated combat veteran for tours in Iraq.

Afterward, he worked as a contractor as an Arabic translator and helped to train troops with cultural sensitivity.

Ramy Kurdi, who is married to Hekmati's eldest sister, said in an interview that his brother-in-law was honest with the Iranian Interest Section in Washington about his service when he applied for a visa.

"He told his mom, 'I have nothing to hide.' And after he disclosed this to the Iranians, they told him he would be welcomed in Iran and would have no problem," Kurdi said.

His family followed instructions by the Iranian government to remain silent about his arrest and suggested his release could come in a few months.

Three months later, in December, Hekmati appeared on Iranian state television maintaining he was sent to Iran by the CIA, a performance Kurdi said was a forced confession made under duress.

Although Hekmati's death sentence, imposed after a closed-door trial, was overturned and set for retrial, there have been no new legal proceedings and the government has not been communicating with the family.

"To have the death sentence overturned is a great victory, but for him to continue to be punished for something when the court said there is not enough evidence is so painful for us to deal with as a family," Kurdi said.

In January 2012, the Iranian government permitted Hekmati's mother to visit him in prison, but kept her from her son during two subsequent visits. Repeated requests by the family for his court-appointed lawyer to visit him have been denied.

Evin Prison is where American hikers Sharah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were imprisoned on charges of spying after crossing the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009 before ultimately being released. Bauer and Fattal were released two days after Hekmati's arrest.

Recently, Hekmati was moved out of solitary confinement to the general prison population, after a month-long hunger strike which left him unconscious and needing medical treatment. An uncle who lives in Iran was able to visit him in prison last month.

His family is concerned about Hekmati's heath, but is also in a race against the clock to get him home with his father, a biology professor who is battling terminal cancer. Hekmati does not know about his father's illness.

"We have no idea how much longer his father has," Kurdi said. "We just hope how ever long he has he gets to enjoy it with his whole family, with Amir home."

The family is hoping Hekmati can be released as a humanitarian gesture for the Persian New Year on March 20.

"Our family is not political," Kurdi said. We are Americans. Amir is an American citizen. We are not trying to involve ourselves in the politics between Iran and the U.S."

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's Supreme Court has ordered the retrial of an ex-U.S. Marine who was sentenced to death on charges of working for the CIA, a news agency reported Monday.

The case has added even more tension to U.S.-Iran relations, as Washington and its allies press ahead with sanctions over Iran's contentious nuclear development program, and Iran threatens punishing retaliation if it is attacked.

Amir Hekmati, 28, was sentenced to death in January, the first American to receive a death penalty since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Hekmati was born in Arizona. His parents are of Iranian origin.

Iran accuses Hekmati of receiving special training while serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for an intelligence mission.

In December, Iran broadcast a video on state television in which Hekmati was shown delivering a purported confession and said he was part of a plot to infiltrate Iran's intelligence agency.

The U.S. government and his family have denied the charges against Hekmati.

On Monday, the semiofficial Isna news agency said the case would be retried.

The report quoted state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei as saying, "There was an appeal on his verdict. The Supreme Court found shortcomings in the case and sent it for review by an equivalent branch" in the court system.

The report did not elaborate.

Last month Hekmati's mother visited him in prison and met with Iranian officials. Some saw this as a sign that Iran might show moderation in the case.

A lawyer for the family, Pierre Prosper, welcomed word of the retrial. Prosper said he is "waiting for official confirmation, but we are pleased with reports coming out of Tehran."

Prosper said the family is looking forward to working with the Iranian government. The lawyer said an appeal has been in the works and progress in the case may be unrelated to the escalating pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan chapter, described the news of the new trial "as a positive development." His organization sent a letter in January appealing for clemency to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.

"We're hopeful that Mr. Hekmati will get a fair trial with transparency," Walid said.

A previous incident involving Americans in Iran was resolved, but only after two years.

In 2009, three U.S. citizens were detained along the Iraq border. The three said they crossed the border unintentionally during a hike. They, too, were charged with espionage, but there were no specific allegations of CIA ties and training as in the case of Hekmati.

The three were sent to prison. One was released for medical reasons and the other two were freed last September, in deals involving bail payments brokered by Oman, which has good relations with both Iran and the U.S.


National Security writer Anne Gearan in Washington and Jeff Karoub in Detroit, Mich. contributed to this report.

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UPDATE 9 January , 2013

Today marks the 500th day Amir
has been a prisoner in Iran.

Source : Free Amir Hekmati

Update OCTOBER 10, 2012

Family of Former Marine Jailed In Iran Pleads for Prisoner’s Freedom:

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Update September 25 , 2012


Amir Hekmati went missing in Iran over a year ago. These are the pieces to the puzzle that have been discovered so far. This is our campaign dedicated to bringing him home.

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Update September 24 , 2012

M Live Sunday, September 23, 2012
By Roberto Acosta

NOVI, MI – Ali Hekmati laid in a hospital bed Sunday afternoon, his wife standing by his side, with a sign stating “Get Well Soon Baba Joon” from his daughter's two grandchildren.

Ali and wife Behnaz Hekmati, of Flint Township, have made the room into a makeshift home for several days, following a hemorrhage in Ali’s head and removal of a tumor Wednesday at Providence Park Hospital in Novi.

During his time before surgery, Behnaz and her daughter Leila Hekmati, said Ali kept asking for one thing: Amir Hekmati.

Amir Hekmati was jailed in Iran on Aug. 29, 2011, two weeks after he traveled to the country to visit his grandmother that helped raise him and other family members.

The family hopes their pleas for Amir’s return home to care for his family will be heard during a scheduled visit this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.


Update : July 27, 2012

Family of ex-Marine held in Iran has little news

The family of an ex-U.S. Marine sentenced to death for spying in Iran said Friday that members have received little information about his case months after a new trial was reportedly ordered.

Amir Hekmati was accused of working for the CIA and sentenced to death in January, the first American to receive a death penalty since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. His family and the U.S. government have denied the allegations.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported in March that Iran's Supreme Court ordered a retrial for Hekmati.

His family released a statement Friday saying it had received "little and confusing information" about his case since then. The statement also noted that Saturday is his 29th birthday and included a prayer that he would be "given the strength to endure."

"While it is still unclear to us what is happening, we hope a decision is made soon and you are allowed to come home to your family," the statement said. "We continue to believe there is a terrible misunderstanding."

Iran has accused Hekmati of receiving special training while serving at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran for an intelligence mission. In December, Iran broadcast a video on state television in which Hekmati was shown delivering a purported confession, saying he was part of a plot to infiltrate Iran's intelligence agency.

Hekmati was born in Arizona and grew up in Michigan, where his father Ali Hekmati teaches at Mott Community College in Flint. His parents are of Iranian origin.

"Your birthday is particularly difficult for mom _ a reminder of when her first son was born, and your twin sister, who shares this special day," the statement said.

SOURCE : Globe Gazette

Update 2012-03-05

Iranian Court Annuls Death Sentence For Amir Hekmati American Accused of Spying

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- An Iranian court has canceled the death sentence for an American accused of espionage in Iran, semi-official news agencies there reported Monday.

Iran's intelligence ministry sentenced Amir Mirzaei Hekmati to death in January, but the nation's Supreme Court annulled that sentence, ISNA news agency reported Monday.

The overturned verdict means that a lower court will review the case, Fars news agency said, citing Iran's attorney general.

Another lower court previously had convicted the 28-year-old of "working for an enemy country," as well as membership in the CIA and "efforts to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism," the news agencies have reported.

The status of his case was not immediately clear Monday.

The U.S. State Department has strongly condemned his conviction.

"Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for or was sent to Iran by the CIA are simply untrue," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said earlier this year. "The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons."

Hekmati's family also denies the allegations.
Hekmati was arrested in August while visiting his grandmother and other relatives, his family in Michigan said.

The Hekmatis said their son served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 to 2005. Later, he started his own linguistics company and contracted his services to the military as well as civilian businesses.

His military contracts included cultural competency training. He worked with troops at military bases to promote understanding and positive communication with people of other cultures, his family said.

Update 2012-01 -10 Amir Mirzaie Hekmati, an American sentenced to death in Iran for espionage.

Iranian state television aired what it called a "confession" by 28-year-old Amir Hekmati over the weekend. His family said Tuesday that he was arrested in August while visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran, and that his statement had to have been coerced.

The Arizona-born, Michigan-raised Hekmati joined the Marines in August 2001, after high school. His four-year hitch included an assignment to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and a six-month deployment in Iraq in 2004, according to U.S. military records.

In 2006, after leaving the service, he started his own linguistics company and began offering his services as an English-to-Arabic translator, according to Michigan incorporation records. He contracted his services to the military as well as civilian businesses, offering training in cultural competency and working with troops at military bases to promote understanding of and positive communication with people of other cultures, his family said.

In 2010, he spent five months working as a research manager for defense contractor BAE, company spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told CNN. And Condon said Hekmati recently worked for a company that produced language-training material for the U.S. military.

The United States and Iran have no direct diplomatic relations, but Hekmati's family said he made the trip after obtaining permission from the Iranian Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. The interests section has not responded to CNN requests for comment.

News of Hekmati's detention is the latest turn in a series of allegations of espionage and plotting between Washington and Tehran, following the capture of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iran, Iranian claims to have arrested a dozen CIA spies and U.S. allegations that Iran sought to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.

Hekmati's family said that after his August 29 arrest, Iranian officials told them to remain silent "with the promise of an eventual release," but they went public after Iranian television aired the accusations and Hekmati's statement on Sunday.

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240. VNHumanRights

We, overseas Vietnamese who are struggling for a democratic and free Vietnam, respectfully submit this petition to request the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and all NGO’s Humanitarian entities to urge the Communist Vietnam to unconditionally release all innocent people whose only “crimes” is to love their Motherland Vietnam.

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