International Emergency Campaign Demands Their Freedom, Freedom for All Iran’s Political Prisoners Now
November 8, 2021
Editors’ note: We received the following from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners.
“Imagine you are protecting wildlife and your only goal is protecting the natural world. Normally you would get awards for your work, but in the Islamic Republic of Iran you get imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to many years behind bars. The case of the environmentalists is absolutely cruel, even by Iran’s brutal standards. Every environmental movement in the world should call for their release.”
— Mariam Claren, daughter of German-Iranian political prisoner Nahid Taghavi.
As the Glasgow climate summit unfolds, eight Iranian environmental activists near their fourth year of harsh, illegitimate imprisonment.
“The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners (IEC) demands the immediate and unconditional release of these environmentalists,” says spokesperson Larry Everest, “and we call on all who stand for justice and a better world to sign and spread An Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance — We Must ACT NOW! demanding freedom for all Iran’s political prisoners.”
This Appeal has been endorsed by some 3,000 people including Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Ariel Dorfman, Jody Williams, Daniel Ellsberg, Judith Butler, and Raymond Lotta, and appeared on the back cover of the Summer issue of the New York Review of Books.
“Every time I… sought help from the authorities, the pressures, threats, and acts of torture increased.”
Taher Ghadirian, Niloufar Bayani, Amir Hossein Khaleghi, Houman Jowkar, Sam Rajabi, Sepideh Kashani, Morad Tahbaz and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh were all members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. They were arrested in January 2018, tortured, held in solitary confinement, convicted in a sham trial of “cooperating” with the U.S. or acting against “national security,” and then sentenced to four to 10 years in prison. Their colleague, Iranian-Canadian professor Kavous Seyed Emami, died in detention shortly after his arrest under suspicious circumstances.
Center for Human Rights in Iran Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi condemned the proceedings for effectively making “conservation a crime” through “sham prosecutions that proceeded without any evidence…based on false ‘confessions’ extracted under torture.”
Niloufar Bayani, a conservation expert and former UN environmental consultant, wrote from prison of physical and psychological torture, “interrogations lasting 9-12 hours day and night,” being held for eight months in “solitary confinement” and being repeatedly sexually harassed. “Every time I… sought help from the authorities, the pressures, threats, and acts of torture increased.”
“It’s time for us to be their voice and bring the voice of these environmental activists, who are being brutally imprisoned in Iran, to the world!”
“It is the duty of all human beings to protect the environment and to use the knowledge and guidance of environmental experts and activists,” says Kave Milani of the Burn the Cage / Free the Birds campaign in Europe. “But in the reactionary and anti-scientific Islamic Republic of Iran, not only are their scientific ideas not used, but environmentalists are arrested, severely tortured and sentenced to long years in prison. It’s time for us to be their voice and bring the voice of these environmental activists, who are being brutally imprisoned in Iran, to the world!”
“Torture”and “Sexual Threats” Detailed in Letters by Jailed Former UN Environment Consultant — Conservation Scientist Niloufar Bayani: “Every time I… sought help from the authorities, the pressures, threats, and acts of torture increased.” Center for Human Rights in Iran, February 2020
“Appeals Court Upholds Baseless Prison Sentences Against Wildlife Conservationists,” Center for Human Rights in Iran, February 18, 2020