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


Updated April 5, 2021 |

[Editors’ Note: We received the following from the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners.]

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 (IRI) 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 IRI attempts to force “confessions,” conducts sham “trials,” and carries out brutal floggings.

Amnesty International (AI) 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. 

Importantly, this repression has been met with inspiring heroism. Many prisoners, their families, supporters and various Iranian organizations have been speaking out and demanding freedom for ALL Iran’s political prisoners—at great risk to their own safety.

The Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has denounced the execution of prisoners of conscience, even as it is under extreme repression. Several members are imprisoned, including Arash Ganji, sentenced to 11 years for translating a book on the Kurdish struggle in Syria. Journalist and Defenders of Human Rights Center member Narges Mohammadi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. She is calling for protest against the solitary confinement of the two brothers of Navid Afkari, the Iranian wrestling champion executed last year for being part of the 2018 mass rebellion. The brothers are sentenced to 54 and 27 years.

The documentary film Nasrin (about imprisoned attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh) is an example of this nightmare of detentions and this implacable spirit of resistance.

Iran’s political prisoners face a dire, life-threatening, immediate emergency. Here are just a few other examples:

A number of dual nationals from Europe, Australia and the U.S. are being held in the “political ward” of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Amnesty International (AI) recently sent out urgent action alerts on two of these prisoners:

  • 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. 
  • Mehran Raoof, a British-Iranian citizen and labor rights activist, is “being held in prolonged solitary confinement,” according to AI. 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.

Women prisoners are increasingly transferred to more remote prisons, limiting access by their family and lawyers. They include:

  • Sepideh Gholian, a freelance journalist arrested for reporting and allegedly taking part in labor strikes. In early March 2021, she was suddenly transferred in chains from Tehran’s Evin Prison to Bushehr Prison in southern Iran, more than 373 miles from her parents.
  • Somayeh Kargar, a Kurdish activist and philosophy graduate of Tabriz University arbitrarily detained since October 16, was moved from Evin to the even filthier suburban prison of Quarchak outside Tehran. The regime is refusing to allow her to receive scheduled medical treatments in Paris which could save her from blindness.

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. Share your ideas and/or work with the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners to publish this Emergency Appeal to shine a light on this dire situation and amplify the campaign to free ALL 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 AI’s call to send appeals urging the immediate and unconditional release of 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 Brussels, Belgium (copy Amnesty International at and our campaign).
  • 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 website, Youtube channel and Twitter feed of the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners.

Write to the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners at:


The Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners is stepping up its efforts. We are sharing a template cover letter to our Emergency Appeal that includes some important, though initial, signatories. Readers can use or adapt the cover letter, or write their own, to send out the Emergency Appeal. It especially needs to get to influential individuals and organizations whose voices cannot be ignored. As our cover letter says, “We are working to assemble an impactful group of signatories and publish this appeal as soon as possible.”

If readers have previously signed an earlier statement from our campaign (e.g., the more than 500 who have signed at, PLEASE SIGN THE NEW EMERGENCY APPEAL dated March 20, 2021, at our website You can read and sign the Emergency Appeal there in English, Farsi, French, and Spanish.

April 5, 2021

I’m writing on behalf of the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners, to encourage you to read and sign the Emergency Appeal, enclosed below. You can sign by writing back to me, or by clicking the endorse button HERE or below.

The Emergency Appeal’s message condemning the Iranian government for its cruel treatment of dissent and opposition and demanding an end to U.S. threats, war moves, and sanctions is critical to put before the U.S. (and global) public now. We are working to assemble an impactful group of signatories and publish this appeal as soon as possible.

We’ve already brought together an important group of signers directly involved in the Iranian prisoners’ cause. Over 100 U.S. signers, including some from the religious community, have endorsed this Appeal so far. They include:

Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi, founder #FreeNahid campaign; Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, British-Australian academic, former political prisoner in Iran; Elika Ashoori, daughter of political prisoner Anoosheh Ashoori; Satar Rahmani, spokesperson for International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI), campaigning for Iran’s political prisoners; Mehri Jafari, UK Solicitor & Human Rights lawyer representing Iranian political prisoner and British citizen Mehran Raoof; and Shekib Mosadeq, revolutionary artist and activist from Afghanistan; as well as over a half-dozen former political prisoners from Iran.

Your name would now add a lot. (Please include how you’d like to be described.)

Contact me with suggestions, questions, or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, XXX


P.S. I also encourage you to follow and share the Emergency Campaign’s new Twitter account: @IranPrisonEmerg.