Emergency Appeal Demands Their Immediate, Unconditional Release, Freedom for All Political Prisoners
Appeal and Statement Endorsed by 1997 Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Gloria Steinem, Former Prisoners & Relatives, over 1,500 other signers
April 26, 2021 | revcom.us
Editors’ Note: We received the following update/press release from the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners.
The Islamic Republic of Iran will hold trials for at least three and perhaps more political prisoners on April 28, according to family members and media reports.
The three are Nahid Taghavi, a 66-year-old German-Iranian dual citizen; Mehran Raoof, a 64-year-old British-Iranian dual citizen and labor activist; and Bahareh Soleimani, a 43-year-old nurse. All three were arbitrarily detained on October 16, 2020 and subjected to various forms of abuse and torture, including solitary confinement, and denied their legal rights. (Soleimani has been out on bail but according to her brother will be tried on April 28.)
Typical of the illegitimate legal process in Iran, all three have so far been denied access to their case files. (Taghavi had not been brought before a judge until April 13, according to a press release from her daughter Mariam Claren.) It is unclear whether and when access will be approved. It is also not known whether any of the defendants now named and others that are currently unnamed will even see their lawyers prior to trial.
“This suggests a fair and impartial trial is clearly not guaranteed or likely for any of Iran’s political prisoners,” states Dolly Veale, a spokesperson for the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners. “The Iranian regime’s courts are known for sham trials, tortured confessions that are used for long sentences or even executions. Preventing political prisoners from having access to legal counsel, or transferring them to prisons far removed from family and attorneys— amidst a raging COVID epidemic—violates standards of law and human decency,” says Veale.
“The Islamic Republic’s treatment of its political prisoners is totally illegitimate and an outrage that shocks the conscience,” Veale says, “and our campaign is demanding their immediate, unconditional release and freedom for all Iran’s political prisoners.”
The Center for Human Rights (ICHRI) in Iran warns that some prisoners now face “catastrophic and permanent health ramifications, if not death.” Taghavi, who suffers from Type 2 diabetes, “is in danger of developing kidney failure, nerve damage, heart attack, and stroke,” the Center reports. The health of 64-year-old Raoof, who had been on a hunger strike for several days in April, “is rapidly deteriorating.” And, according to other sources, Soleimani’s lungs were already damaged from treating COVID-19 patients yet she was deprived of medical care in custody.
Ahead of these trials, Amnesty International renewed “its calls on the Iran’s authorities to immediately & unconditionally release #MehranRaoof and #NahidTaghavi, who both are prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression & association.”
“The lives of Iran’s political prisoners are in peril and all who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing them,” Emergency Campaign spokesperson Veale states.
“Now is the time to spread the Emergency Appeal – The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now – far and wide,” Veale emphasizes. “The Appeal’s message condemning the Iranian government for its cruel treatment of dissent and demanding it free all its political prisoners, and also its demand for an end to U.S. threats, war moves, and sanctions is critical to put before the U.S. (and global) public.”
“This Appeal and a previous statement have already been signed by 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams; writer and feminist activist Gloria Steinem; MacArthur Fellow and Obie award winning playwright Naomi Wallace; playwright and novelist Kia Corthron; 10 former political prisoners; Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi; Elika Ashoori, daughter of political prisoner Anoosheh Ashoori; Kylie Moore-Gilbert, former political prisoner; Mehri Jafari and Satar Rahmani, UK Solicitor and activist respectively, both advocating for political prisoner Mehran Raoof; and over 1,500 others including social justice activists, artists, academics, faith leaders, medical professionals, and ordinary people.”
Interviews available with spokespeople, prisoner’s relatives and advocates
Follow the Emergency Campaign on Twitter @IranPrisonEmerg
Further Updates, Background on Iran’s Political Prisoners:
The Urgency of Acting Now, Executions Underscore Danger to Iran’s Political Prisoners — Now Is the Time to Spread the Emergency Appeal Far and Wide, April 19 Update from Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners
The heroes I met fighting Iran’s brutal prison system, National News, April 16, by Kylie Moore-Gilbert, British-Australian academic imprisoned in Iran for over two years, endorser of Emergency Appeal