- U.S. Senators, United Nations, U.S. Congress
Recently a young woman, named Reyhaneh Jabbari, was hanged in Iran. Her crime was that when she was 19 years old, she stabbed the man who was trying to rape her. The time to speak up for Reyhaneh has past. But there is still time to save others who have been wrongfully imprisoned or face a death sentence.
When you read history, don't you wish you could be present at the time of Galileo or Jesus so you could speak up for them? Well, you are alive now and these people will go down in history as Galileos of our time. You have an opportunity to make a change and all you have to do is sign this petition. Don’t let it pass you by. You have come across this petition for a reason. Don’t let the memory of your inaction haunt you when it’s too late.
Dear U.S. Senators, Congressmen, and UN representatives
We, the undersigned call upon you to speak up about the human rights violation of prisoners of conscience in Iran. Based on the latest United Nations Report, there are currently over 900 prisoners of conscience in Iran, including 307 religious minorities. We hope that you will further pressuring the Obama administration into taking serious action. In 2009, when Neda Soltan was killed in the demonstrations of the green movement of Iran, President Obama released a video and called her death "heart breaking". While that is a nice gesture, the President's heartbreak does not accomplish much. We need politicians to take serious action to address these human rights violations in Iran.
Notable amongst these prisoners are Hossein Borujerdi, Mohammad Ali Taheri, Omid Kokabee. Jason Rezaian, and 7 Baha’i spiritual leaders
BACKGROUND ON A FEW IMPORTANT CASES
• Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi: His crime is that he calls for separation of Church and State. His message is simple: religion and politics should not be co-mingled. Based on this view, an “Islamic Republic” makes no sense as the “Islam” and “Republic” part need to be separated.
In 2006 he was arrested along with 400 of his followers (175 women, 225 men). In 2010, he wrote an open letter to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, accusing him of responsibility for the violation of human rights in Iran, and calling for “free referendum” in Iran “directly supervised by UN observers".
Based on the latest Amnesty International reports poor prison conditions, torture, and ill treatments has led to significant deterioration of his health including severe heart and respitory problems, loss of 80 percent of his vision, loss of 80lbs, kidney stone complications, and so on.
• Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri: He is a revered spiritual teacher and the founder of the Erfan Keyhani spiritual practice. His message of love, unity, and peace reached millions of people in Iran and around the world. He has made a significant impact in shifting the worldview of the Iranian public. For a regime that preaches hatred of the west, this quickly became very dangerous. He has been in solitary confinement for over 3 years and the regime is currently pursuing the charge of “corruption on earth,” which carries the death sentence. Dr. Taheri has been on numerous hunger strikes, the latest of which began on October 29th, 2014 and still continues. His followers are kept in the dark about his condition.
In a letter addressed to Ahmed Shaheed, who was elected by the UN to look into the human rights situation in Iran, Dr. Taheri details gruesome and unlawful tactics that are used to mentally, physically, and emotionally torture prisoners in Iran including sexual desecrations. For example, as a means of mental torture, Dr. Taheri has been issued fake sentences of “death by hanging” numerous times and actually taken to the execution site. He is not allowed to see his lawyer even for responding to court matters. To punish him for secretly writing and releasing this letter, his wife was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned for two weeks. Since then his family is under strict orders to keep quiet.
• Omid Kokabee: Omid is a 32 yearold physicist specializing in laser optics and photonics. He was imprisoned because he would refuse to engage in military research for the Iranian government. He was arrested while visiting family in Iran during winter break. He was charged with receiving “illegitimate funds” (scholarships) from University of Texas and “communicating with a hostile government”.
Kokabee was awarded the Andrei Sakharov prize from the American Physical Society for “his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work on project that he deemed harmful to humanity, in the face of extreme physical and psychological pressure.” A letter signed by 31 Nobel laureates in physics, addressed to Iran’s Supreme Leader, calls for Kokabee’s release.
• 7 Baha’i leaders were imprisoned 5 years ago on wrongful charges related solely to their religious beliefs and practices. They are serving a 20 year sentence, which is the longest sentence of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran. In December 2013 they wrote a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, commenting on his proposed “charter of Citizen’s Rights.”
The seven detained Baha'is include two women, Fariba Kamalabadi (age 48, a developmental psychologist and mother of three) and Mahvash Sabet (age 58, teacher), and five men: Jamaloddin Khanjani (age 77), Afif Naeimi (age 49, factory owner), Saeid Rezaei (age 53, agricultural engineer), Behrouz Tavakkoli (age 59, carpentry shop owner, former social worker) and Vahid Tizfahm (age 38, optometrist). All are leading members of a group responsible for the Baha'i community's religious and administrative affairs.
• Jason Rezaian: The case of the Washington Post reporter, Jason Rezaian, has been covered by the media significantly. It is important to note that his over 100 days of imprisonment in Iran without a charge or an explanation is a standard practice for the Iranian government.
CALL TO ACTION
In 2009, Ms. Hillary Clinton's media campaign helped Newsweek journalist, Mazyar Bahari, get released from Iran's Evin prison. However, the other 900 prisoners of conscience do not have such a luxury. Please help us bring awareness to the world and launch a media campaign for those who have been imprisoned especially the influential leaders such as Hossein Borujerdi, Mohammad Ali Taheri, Omid Kokabee, Jason Rezaian, and the 7 Baha’i leaders mentioned above.
All you have to do is use your voice. We ask that you call upon the Obama administration and the UN community to increase the pressure on the Iranian government regarding all prisoners of conscience. At a minimum we demand that the Iranian government to grant these prisoners their basic rights to contact their lawyers as well as give updates to their followers regarding their health conditions.
Recently a young woman named Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged in Iran. Her crime was that when she was 19 years old, she stabbed the man who was trying to rape her. The time to help Reyhaneh has passed. But there is still time to save those who are still alive including the special figures mentioned above.
This Christmas give us the gift of your support
The information provided above can be verified at the following sites:
1. A report from Ahmad Shaheed describing the treatment of prisoners of conscience. Please review page 10.
2. Amnesty International article on the wrongful arrest of the 7 Baha’i leaders: http://bit.ly/1pdVca5
3. Amnesty International on critical condition of Hossein Borujerdi: http://bit.ly/1y3VNeV Dated April 2014
4. Letter from Dr. Taheri to Ahmed Shaheed detailing the unlawful and inhumane treatment of prisoners of conscience in Evin prison: http://bit.ly/159ZxCd
5. Amnesty International warning regarding Mohammad Ali Taheri facing death threats by the Iranian government: http://bit.ly/1B08PLJ
6. Senator Dastiari of the Australian parliament speaks about prisoners of conscience including Dr. Mohammad Ali Taheri. See youtube video beginning at minute 4:06: http://bit.ly/15aVBRI
The Free prisoners of conscience in Iran petition to U.S. Senators, United Nations, U.S. Congress was written by Citizens for freedom of speech and religion and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.