Iran News ...


8/8/03

Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei demanding release of Iranian students and political activists

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

c/o H.E. Mohammad Javad Zarif

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

 

August 3, 2003

 

 

Your Excellency;

 

We are writing to you to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Saeed Razavi-Faqih, the spokesperson for the Daftar-e Tahkim Vahdat (the main nationwide students' association), as well as other student and political activists arrested recently. On July 10 Mr. Razavi-Faqih was publicly arrested at gunpoint by unidentified security agents as he was leaving the office of the Professional Journalists Association. To this date neither his lawyer, nor the Prison Authority, or the Intelligence Ministry have any knowledge of the reasons for his arrest.

 

Mr. Razavi-Faqih is only the latest in a long series of arrests and persecution of student activists, journalists, social researchers, and university professors in Iran. We have been informed that these illegal arrests are performed by the Counter-Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corp, and the Office of the Prosecutor in the Judicial Branch. The people in charge of these organizations have been appointed by you and are under your direct supervision and direct responsibility. We have also been informed that many of these security agents were formerly implicated in the persecution and murder of up to 80 intellectuals and political activists between 1990-98. As a result we can only hold you personally responsible for these events, and we appeal to you directly to put a stop to these blatant violations of the Iranian Constitution and of the International Covenant of Human Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory.

 

We have been informed that these prisoners of conscience are being kept in illegal prisons. These political prisoners are being denied their constitutionally guaranteed legal rights -- such as access to proper legal council, and a guarantee of their personal health and dignity. They are being subjected to physical and psychological abuse, hardship, and intimidation aimed at forcing them to confess to crimes they have not committed and to exact public confessions falsely implicating their comrades and other political personalities and activists.

 

We have been informed that during the months of June and July vigilantes loyal to you have violently attacked student dormitories and student gatherings. Unfortunately your own public statements to the effect that students protesting against these attacks should be 'punished decisively and without mercy' have only exacerbated this violent situation. When students have attempted to defend themselves against these attacks they have been arrested and imprisoned, while to date very few of those attacking the students and the universities have been identified or arrested, even though their identity is well known as they publicly flaunt their deeds.

 

Your Excellency, we would like to remind you that according to Article 22 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran the life, property, and rights of individuals are inviolable. Article 23 forbids the persecution of individuals for their beliefs.       Article 27 permits the free holding of public gatherings and marches provided arms are not carried. Article 38 bans all forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confessions or acquiring information. It prohibits the compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath, states that any testimony or confession obtained under duress is devoid of value, and states that the violation of this article is a crime punishable by law. Article 39 prohibits any and all abuse of the dignity and repute of persons detained and imprisoned, and makes the violation of this article a crime punishable by law.

 

Furthermore, these articles correspond to legal protections enshrined in the United Nation's Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As a signatory to this International Covenant, Iran is obligated to respect and protect the exercise of these rights. Article 7 of the Covenant prohibits torture and inhuman treatment of the individual. Article 9 prohibits arbitrary arrest and deprivation of liberty, except under legally established procedures. Article 10 cites that anyone arrested should be treated with respect and dignity. Article 14 cites that anyone charged must be informed of the nature of the charges against him/her. Articles 18, 19, and 21, state that everyone should enjoy the freedom of thought, expression, opinion, and assembly.

 

We therefore urge you in the strongest terms to speak out publicly and to take all the necessary steps immediately to ensure that these clear infringements of the legal rights of the imprisoned students, journalists, and political activists are stopped; that all the imprisoned students and political activists are freed immediately; and that all those guilty of violent attacks on student dormitories and  gatherings, or of illegal arrest, maltreatment, and intimidation of students and the university community be identified and punished according to law.

 

Your Excellency, we can only persist in reminding you that these steps are critical to help prevent further deterioration of Iran's international standing and reputation as a country where the legal human rights of its citizens are blatantly violated by certain rogue elements of its own security forces under the eyes of the country's head of state.

 

We urge you to treat this situation with the urgency and the gravity that it requires.

 

We thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and look forward to your reply.

 

 

Signatures:

 

 

* Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, MIT

* Benjamin Barber, Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland

* Fred Dallmayr, University Professor, University of Notre Dame

* Ariel Dorfman, Professor and Novelist, Duke University

* Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law, Princeton University

* David Harvey; Distinguished Professor, City University of New York

* Ervand Abrahamian, Professor of History, City University of New York

* Eric Hooglund; Professor, Institute for Palestine Studies

* David Barsamian, Director, Alternative Radio

* Timothy Mitchell, Professor of Politics, New York University

* Peter Singer, University Professor, Princeton University

* Chris Toensing, Editor, Middle East Report

* Janet Afary, Associate Professor of History & Women's Studies, Purdue University

* Julie Ajinkya, Institute for Policy Studies

* Prof. Ammiel Alcalay, Queens College, CUNY

* Prof. Sheldon Appleton, Oakland University

* Prof. Electa Arenal, CUNY/Graduate Center

* Prof. Roksana Bahramitash, Concrodia University

* Prof. Tilly Bakker-Grunwald, University of Osnabrueck

* Prof. Isaac Balbus, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Rosalyn Baxandall, Chair American Studies, SUNY

* Prof. Daniel Béland, University of Calgary

* Prof. Jalal Biglou, Univeristy of Waterloo

* Glenn Bowman, Senior Lecturer, University of Kent

* Prof. Stephen Bronner, Rutgers University

* Prof. Melani Cammett, Brown University

* Canadian Council of Muslim Women
* Prof. Sheila Carapico, University of Richmond
* Prof. F. Gregory Cause, University of Vermont

* Dr Jonathan Cloke, Loughborough University

* Joshua Cohen, Goldberg Professor of the Humanities, MIT

* Dr Debbie Cox, Curator of Arabic

* Prof. David Devine, Ecole Spéciale des Travaux Publics

* Sukhman Dhami, Center for Justice & Accountability

* Angela Dierks, Clark University

* Prof. Sarah Doenmez, Dublin SChool

* Prof. George Dolph, Community College of Philadelphia

* Raymond Dooley, Chief Executive, Children's Rights Alliance

* Rita Duarte, University of Arizona

* Prof. Bonnie Effros, Binghamton University

* Prof. Daniel Egan, University of Massachusetts-Lowell

* Prof. Stephen G. Engelmann, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Ayse Erzan, Member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences

* Farid Esack, Professor in Religion and Ethics, Auburn Theological Seminary

* Prof. Farideh Farhi, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

* Mona Fawaz, MIT - PhD Candidate

* Ansar Fayyazuddin, Associate Professor of Physics, Stockholm University

* Prof. Nathan C. Funk, The George Washington University

* Prof. Judith Kegan Gardiner, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Philip Gasper, Professor of Philosophy, Notre Dame de Namur University

* Prof. Maryam Ghadessi, San Francisco State University

* Prof. Elham Gheytanchi, Santa Monica College

* Prof. Ellis Goldberg, University of Washington

* Lisa Hajjar, University of California - Santa Barbara

* Trina Hamilton, Clark University

* Nader Hashemi, University of Toronto

* Prof. Homa Hoodfar, Concordia University
*
Prof. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University

* Doug Ireland, Journalist

* Prof. Stephen T. Jackson, Professor of Botany, University of Wyoming
* Robert Jensen, School of Journalism, University of Texas

* J. Scott Jiusto, Research Associate, Clark University

* Toby Jones, Stanford University

* Prof. Brett Kaplan, University of Illinois

* Prof. Arang Keshavarzian, Concordia University

* Prof. Ausma Khan, Administrative Studies, Atkinson College          

* Kristiaan Knoester, Universiteit van Amsterdam

* Carmel Parvine Kooros, New School University

* Prof. Scott Laderman, University of Minnesota

* Prof. Michael Andrade Lalan, College of the Holy Cross

* Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy

* Prof. Vickie Langohr, College of the Holy Cross

* Prof. Jesse Lemisch, CUNY

* Natalia M. López, New Voices/ AED

* Douglas L. Love, UMUC Faculty Recruitment

* Prof. Ali Akbar Mahdi, Ohio Wesleyan University

* Kelly Ann Marzano, Department of Criminal Justice and Gender and Women's Studies Program, University of Illinois-Chicago

* Prof. Liza McCoy, Ph.D., University of Calgary

* Menzie McEachern, Clark University

* Prof. Lucía Melgar, PIEM/El Colegio de México

* Hamid R. Mojtahedi, B.A., M.A., LL.B., Barrister & Solicitor

* Prof. Norma Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Tracy Mott, University of Denver

* Arash Naraghi, University of California, Santa Barbara

* James W. Nell, Graduate Advisor, Political Science Graduate Office, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Jim O'Brien, University of Massachusetts

* Prof. Amalia Pallares, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Trita Parsi, Johns Hopkins University SAIS

* Prof. Michael J. Perkovich, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Richard T. Peterson, Michigan State University

* Prof. Christopher Phelps, Ohio State University

* Prof. Jan Nederveen Pieterse, University of Illinois
* Michelle Pollock, American University in Cairo

* Dr. Nicola Pratt, Associate Editor, BJMES, International Development Dept., University of Birmingham

* Jennifer L. Rexroat, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Janice Rothstein,  University of California at San Francisco

* Prof. Hanan Sabea, University of Virginia

* Prof. Ken Salo, University of Illinois

* Prof. Lynn F. Schibeci, University of New Mexico

* Prof. Sanford F. Schram, Bryn Mawr College

* Prof. Jillian Schwedler, University of Maryland

* Prof. Anna Seleny, Tufts University

* John Sfakianakis, Research Fellow, Harvard University

* Roschanack Shaery, University of Chicago

* Prof. Samer Shehata, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, School of Foreign Service

Georgetown University

* Prof. Alan Shihadeh, American University of Beirut

* Snehal Shingavi, University of California Berkeley

* Prof. Dick Simpson, Former Chicago Alderman, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Prof. Parviz Soltanpour, Emeritus Professor

* Prof. Peter Stone, Stanford University

* Prof. Ted Swedenburg, University of Arkansas

* Prof. Soraya Tlatli, University of Wiscon-Madion

* Prof. Laura Trippi, Simon Fraser University

* John Trumpbour,  Research Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard University Law School

* Ian Urbina,  Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), Associate Editor

* Mehrdad Valibeigi, Professor of Economics

* Prof. Sherry Vatter, California State University

* Prof. Lois Weiner, New Jersey City University
* Prof. Virginia Wright Wexman, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Ken Williams,  Director, New Voices, Academy for Educational Development

* Haroldo Dilla Alfonso, Coordinador general de investigaciones, Programa FLACSO-Repْblica Dominicana
* Bruce Allen, Vice-President, Canadian Autoworkers Local 199

 

 

The following is a list of unaffiliated and non-academic endorsements:

 

 

Mohammad Ali; Lorraine Al-Janaby; Margott Allais; Alexandre Allais-Juanola; Alejandro Allais-Urdaneta; Theresa F. Alt; Darla Anelli; Dan Applebaum; Kay George Arnold; Anthony Arnove; Jamal Aruri; Jesse Bacon; Wanda Ballentine; Bruce Barnhart; Kelly Barron; David Beckett; Rob Bell; Kent Bendall; Miriam Berrigan; Tava Bever; Mel Bienenfeld; Leopoldine M. Binder; Sue Bond; Dr. Trudy Bond; Keith Booth; Matt Borman; Hanna Braun; Bob Brister; Dan Brook; Benjamin Brosig; Petra Brosig; Michaelle Browers; Andrew Brown; Joshua D Buermann; Robert Buckner; Joan Burds; Jerome A. Carpenter; Ahmed Chahine; Dipankar Chakrabarti; Claire Chapman; Brad Chequer; Michelle Chesebro; Dennis Clagett; Rachel Coen; Ruth Cohen; Artist in London; David Collins; Patricia Connolly; Hannah Corbett; Ken Corhan; Laurent Debain; Brett de Bary; Patrick Diehl; Gretchen Diemer; Mark Dow; Kim Elliott; Joe Emersberger; Gregory Esteve; Gertrude Ezorsky; Liza Featherstone; John Feffer; Enrique Fernandez; Barry Finger; Bev Forzley; Jon Fox; Bob Freidin; Sarasue French; Enid Futterman; John Gazurian; John Glansbeek; Daniel Glennie; Cory Golden; William T. Golden; Catherine Gossett; Mark Gould; Stephen M Greenberg; Russ Greenleaf; Jules Greenstein; Susan Griffin; Sabine Guez; Louis Guida; Donald K. Gutierrez; Tony Hammock; Barbara Harvey; Hans Bastian Hauck; Richard Haviland; David Hazzan; Jeff Hay; Karen Hay; Erik Hay; Amber Hay; Abe Henderson-Brown; Amanda M. Hill; Frances Hillyard; Michael Hirsch; Howard Hirsch; Steve Hohensee; Kristin Holt; Debbie Hughes; Rose Hunolt; Carl D. Hyde; Penelope Hyslop; Joel Isaacson; Doug Jensen; David Johnson, Ph.D.; Robert Johnston; Anne-Liliane Jorand; Ira Katz; Dan Kelley; Helene Kendler; Harry Kershner; Mujeeb R. Khan; Greg King; Dzafer Kulenovic; Ms. Mariasun Lamarain; Dr. Michael J. Langlais; Carol Langford, MD; Steven Lawreence; Des Lawrence; Sarah Leberstein; Ellen Levy; Alex P. Levitov; Darryl Li; Brad Listi; Mark Liston; Patrick Long; Jim Loller; Nancy S. Lovejoy; Mark Lutwak; Ilana Machover; Ilanna S. Mandel; Al Mangan; Sabita Manian; Gregory Mann; Patricia S Mann; Jack David Marcus; Milas Marquez; Amy Gail Mashburn; Susannah McCandless; Richard K. McCardell; D. Mckinney; Martin McReynolds; Denise McVea; Sonya Meyerson-Knox; George Miller; John Miller; Sophie E. Miranda; Ethan Mitchell; Siamak Mohammadi, Ph.D.; Stefano Monti; David Moodie; Yishay Mor; David C. Morley III; Sheila Mosley; Despina Moutsouris; Rik Murray; Alan Myerson; Hafez Nasr; Mohamad Navab; Dagmar Nearpass; Dale Nesbitt; N.Newton; Sami Oguz; António Baeta Oliveira; Kathy Partridge; Alpana Patel; Shauna Pickett-Gordon; Barbara Azaola Piazza; Michael Pollak; Emran Qureshi; Dr Ibrahim George Quattara; Kaveh Rad; Timothy Randolph; Mahshid Rasti; Raymond Ratté; Mary Ann Riad; Valerie Rigsbee; Scott Ripple; Andy Roberts; George Robinson; Rev. Dr. Wayne B. Robinson; Bruce Rosen; Richard H. Roth; Matthew Rothschild; Mike Rowley; Narimon Safavi; Anthony Saidy, M.D.; Shahla Samii; Valerie Sanfilippo; Don Schaefer; Antony Schofield; Claire Schosser; Jason Schulman; Peter Schwartz; Caroline Scortariu; Matthew Scott; Eve Segal; Eleanor Shatzkin; Ruthanne Shpiner; Kathryn Sky; Leslie Smith; Viki Smith; Stephen Spitz; Mirjam E. Sّrli; Patrice Sutton; Kaori Suzuki; Gabby K Templet; Brian Tierney; Burnis E. Tuck; Diego von Vacano; Armando Vazquez; Shirin Van Lare; Robert Verdon; Robert von Tobel; Rodney Ward; Roger Wertheimer; Jenny S. Willingter; Holmes Wilson; Elizabeth Wilson; Steve Wineman; Kay Woods; Ira Woodward; Terry Yoder; Bernadine Young

 

 

cc.       HE Kamal Kharrazi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, IRI

            HE Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Head of the Judiciary, IRI

            HE Mohammad Khatami, President of the IRI

            HE Mehdi Karoubi, Speaker of the Majlis, IRI

            HE Kofi Anan, Secretary General, United Nations  

 

 

 

 

... Payvand News - 8/8/03 ... --



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