Friday, August 31, 2007
URI letter to Louise ArbourUnited Republicans of Iran
For a Democratic and Secular Republic
August 30, 2007
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Honorable Louise Arbour,
We are delighted to hear that you are planning to visit Iran in the very near future. We hope your trip succeeds in its goals. As you are well aware, at no time in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the condition of human rights in Iran has been as dire as it is today. As we write this letter to you, two Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolwahed Butimar (Heeva) are in jail facing execution just for exercising their basic right of free speech. These two journalists began a hunger strike protesting their condition and we are gravely concerned about their health. Many students are facing an uncertain future. Although most of them are now free on bail, but any day they may be rearrested and sent back to prison. Meanwhile they have been barred from continued education. Yet another sign of Islamic Republics disregard of its citizens rights. While on a visit to see his ailing mother, Ali Shakeri, a human rights and peace activist living in the United States, was taken into custody and remains in jail with no charges against him. A number of women are in jail for protesting the discrimination laws against them. Some have been released only after posting huge bounds. The women who began a campaign to collect one million signatures to demand changes to the discriminatory laws just celebrated one year anniversary of this campaign. I hope in your visit to Iran, you will be able to meet them and follow up on their campaign. No doubt you have heard about the case of Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, Kian Tajbakhsh, scholar, social scientist and urban planner working at the Open Society Institute and Parnaz Azima, a reporter for Radio free Europe/Radio Liberty. Mrs. Esfandiari was recently released after posting $330,000 bail but she is unable to leave Iran. Kian Tajbakhsh remains in jail charged with plot to foment a velvet revolution. And last but not least, Ms. Azima’s passport has been confiscated.
We do hope in your visit to Iran, you can visit these prisoners and others who we have not mentioned in this letter as well as their families and ask the Iranian Government to release them immediately and unconditionally.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for additional information. In Europe you can contact Dr. Mehran Barati at +49-30-3247402 or +49-172-3238331 and in United States Mehdi Amini at (703) 850-7311
Dr. Mehran Barati,
International Relations Coordinator, Europe
International Relations Coordinator, USA