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

March 17, 2021 |

Photos of political prisoners from @burn_the_cage Instagram

A brutal campaign of arrests, torture and executions is now taking place in Iran. This is an emergency. The lives and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners are in imminent, mortal danger.

All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW. 

Beginning in October 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran launched a massive new wave of arbitrary arrests against labor, women’s, and human rights activists; dissident intellectuals and artists; protesters and revolutionaries; and members of religious and oppressed minorities.

Many are now being tortured, held in solitary confinement, and denied legal rights, assistance or medical aid, as the Islamic Republic attempts to force “confessions,” conducts sham “trials,” and carries out brutal floggings.

Amnesty International warns of an “alarming rise in executions,” with 49 prisoners executed between December and February. This regime has a blood-stained record of attempting to violently crush any form of dissent or resistance – including sudden mass executions of political prisoners as happened in 1988.

We cannot allow this to happen again.

This repression has been met with inspiring heroism—by the prisoners themselves, by their families, and by supporters who, at great risk to their own safety, are speaking out and demanding freedom for political prisoners. The Iranian Writers Association, including its imprisoned head, has denounced the executions of prisoners of conscience. The documentary film Nasrin (about imprisoned attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh) conveys the nightmare of detention and this implacable spirit of resistance.

Among the prisoners of conscience held in the “political ward” of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran are dual nationals:

  • Nahid Taghavi, rights activist, retired architect, and Iranian-German citizen, suffers from diabetes and hypertension. Her daughter Mariam Claren reports that her mother was kept in solitary confinement for 151 days, and was interrogated 80 different times for a total of 1,000 hours during her first 147 days of imprisonment.  Nahid had been monitored 24 hours a day by cameras, even when using the bathroom, and forced to sleep, sit and eat on the floor without a mattress or a pillow, despite being 66 years old. 
  • Mehran Raoof, a British-Iranian citizen and labor rights activist, is “being held in prolonged solitary confinement,” according to Amnesty International.  Raoof has been denied access to his own lawyers in England, has no immediate family in Iran, and his safety has not been verified for five months.
  • Somayeh Kargar, a Kurdish activist and philosophy graduate of Tabriz University, has been arbitrarily detained in Iran since October16. The regime is refusing to allow her to receive scheduled medical treatment in Paris that could save her from going blind.

All of Iran’s political prisoners must be unconditionally and immediately released.

The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

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



  • Endorse and Spread this Emergency Appeal. Join in plans, and share your ideas to publish this Emergency Appeal in shinning a light on this situation and in amplifing the campaign to free Iran’s political prisoners NOW.  In the U.S., we are acting in solidarity with the burn_the_cage movement in Europe to free Iran’s political prisoners.  
  • Speak out and issue messages of support for Iran’s political prisoners. Join with Amnesty International’s call to send appeals urging the immediate and unconditional release of Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raoof and other prisoners of conscience who are dual national citizens. Write: Head of Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No 15, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium.(CC Amnesty International at and our committee at
  • Organize meetings, forums and protests in solidarity with Iran’s political prisoners.  Watch and spread or screen the film Nasrin.
  • Watch for alerts, updates, and information on the coming website for the campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners NOW and its youtube channel

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