Help free eight prisoners of conscience in Iran
Eight prisoners of conscience in Iran – among them human rights defenders, activists, artists and teachers – have gone on hunger strike to protest against their imprisonment. Their health is deteriorating fast – join us to call for their immediate and unconditional release.
Mohammad Ali Taheri, spiritual teacher
Iranian prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri has completed his five-year prison sentence and all other charges against him have been dropped – but still he is detained. Under Iranian law, this is illegal. His sentence was for “insulting Islamic sanctities” through establishing a spiritual doctrine and group called Erfan-e Halgheh, and he served it entirely in solitary confinement. On 28 September he launched his 16th hunger strike in protest at his continued imprisonment. Since 16 October, the authorities have refused to give his family any information about his health or whereabouts and have denied him access to his lawyer and family.
Musician Mehdi Rajabian and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian are currently serving three-year prison terms imposed for their artistic activities. The brothers were convicted in 2015 after a blatantly unfair trial on charges that included “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “illegal audio-visual activities”. On 28 October, they each began a hunger strike for a second time to demand their immediate release. Since starting his hunger strike, Mehdi Rajabian has coughed up blood twice and says that he was punched in the stomach by a prison doctor after being taken to the prison clinic. Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to grant the brothers access to a qualified health professional, as well as their freedom.
Arash Sadeqhi, human rights defender
Arash Sadeghi (above left) is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system” and “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”, which stem from his peaceful human rights activities, including corresponding with Amnesty International. He has said that he was punched in the head, kicked, slapped and choked while in custody. He started a hunger strike on 24 October in protest at the arrest of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee (above right), who was sentenced to prison for writing a story against stoning. Arash Sadeghi is experiencing fast heartbeats, breathing difficulties and severe drops in his blood pressure but has said he will not end his hunger strike until his wife is freed.
Ali Shariati, civil society activist
Peaceful activist Ali Shariati is serving a five-year prison sentence after being convicted of “gathering and colluding against national security”. The conviction relates to his peaceful activities, including participating in a demonstration to condemn a series of acid attacks against women and attending gatherings in solidarity with political prisoners. He has started a hunger strike to demand his freedom, and it has lead to a rapid deterioration in his health. He is experiencing breathing difficulties, fast heartbeats, severe drops in his blood pressure, kidney pain and slurred speech, and has lost consciousness several times. The Office of the Prosecutor is refusing to release him and has told his family “they do not care if he dies”.
Morteza Moradpour, Vaheed Sayyadi and Rasoul Razavi
Three other prisoners of conscience – Morteza Moradpour, Vaheed Sayyadi and Rasoul Razavi – are also on hunger strike demanding their freedom.
TAKE ACTION: DEMAND IRAN RELEASES THEM ALL NOW
The Iranian authorities must immediately release these prisoners of conscience. They were detained for peacefully exercising their human rights and should never have been forced to spend a single minute behind bars. Iran must put an end to this abhorrent situation before the health of these prisoners worsens any further.
Please send appeals by e-mail, fax, Twitter messages and letters calling on the Iranian authorities to release Mohammad Ali Taheri, Mehdi Rajabian, Hossein Rajabian, Arash Sadeghi, Ali Shariati, Morteza Moradpour, Vaheed Sayyadi and Rasoul Razavi immediately and unconditionally.
Please send your appeals to:
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Salutation: Your Excellency
When writing letters, please address them to the officials above, but send them via the Iranian diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. If there is no Iranian diplomatic mission in your country, please send them to Iran’s mission to the UN in New York:
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017