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Petition: Open Letter to the Lawyers of the World

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:02 pm    Post subject: Petition: Open Letter to the Lawyers of the World Reply with quote

Petition: Open Letter to the Lawyers of the World - Iranian Case

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To read a Farsi version of this letter please visit:

To: International Bar Association & .....
To read a Farsi version of this letter, go to the following link:


July 27, 2005


International Bar Association (IBA)
10th Floor
1 Stephen St
London, W1T 1AT
United Kingdom

International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Headquarters
Rue Brialmont 21
1210 Brussels, Belgium

International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Office of the Secretary General
Beinusz Szmukler, Argentina

International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Office of the President
Jitendra Sharma, India

International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Office of the United Nation Representative in New York
116 W 111 St New York,
NY 10026

The Human Rights Lawyers Association:
2nd Floor,
289-293 High Holborn,
London WC1V 7HZ, DX 240 LDE

Dear Madams / Sirs,

The world has a huge legal problem at hand: A group, with a proven track-record of extreme atrocities, seized the political apparatus of a modern “nation-state” 26 years ago – a nation with a three-thousand-years-old history that had begun with pronounced concerns for human rights, a nation that was a founding member of the United Nations, a country known an “Iran.”

Apart from the fact that the whole world has experienced hardship due to this take-over, those who have been deeply suffering are the people of Iran. The majority of them have been struggling to get rid of this unexpected nightmare and, for a quarter of century, have been exposed to non-stop workings of this horrendous machine of torture and execution.

Recently, an “internal” report on the conditions of prisons in Iran, surprisingly prepared by an officer of the regime’s justice department, has painted such a bleak picture that no honorable member of the human race can move his/her head away and ignore the plight of this suffering nation.

Apart from the atrocities of the regime’s agents towards non-political prisoners, there are many documented reports that show the worsening condition of prisoners of conscious in Iran. These prisoners, who are the best and most knowledgeable men and women of their society whose numbers are constantly on the rise, have committed no crime. They have just spoken up and/or have written about the injustices, atrocities and corruption of this regime. Recent reports show that the exercise of torture and putting physical and psychological pressures on them has been on rise. Your honorable colleague, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the Noble Prize Laureate of 2003, who is the defense attorney of some of these prisoners, has constantly been barred from performing her legal duties in this respect. She, together with a huge number of human rights activists, have reported these problems to world organizations in many occasions.

Through this futile experience we, the undersigned, have come to realize that no individual government and no United Nations organization has the ability or stamina to challenge this inhumane situation. Nevertheless, we cannot possibly give up hope. We are sure that there are other organizations and conscientious legal professionals in the world who are poised to have a deeper look at the situation in Iran and get acquainted with the atrocities of its legal system. We know that by taking up such a case as an international legal issue they will create a new precedence that could help other nations who are or will be caught in the web of a ferocious and blood-thirsty political machine.

It is upon these assumptions that we, some advocates of human rights in all its dimensions and capacities, see no other resort but to address the conscious of your members, begging them to study this case and, based on their knowledge and experience, come up with a legal solution that could end the miseries inflicted by a group of ruthless thugs on an innocent.

We impatiently look forward to hear from you and, in the meanwhile, will keep this petition open on the Internet, so that anyone interested could join our desperate clamor for help. We will keep you posted on the new signatures they are added every day.

Fax: 509-352-9630
E-mail: lawyersforiran@gmail.com

The first patch of signatures, in order of receipt:

Shokooh Mirzadegi – Writer and Activist for Women’s Rights – USA
Dr. Esmail Nooriala – Writer, Critic and Analyst – USA
Reza Allamehzadeh – Writer and Film Director – Netherlands
Abbas Maroufi – Writer and Journalist – Germany
Massoud Assadollahi – Film and Theatre Artist and Director - USA
Mirza Agha Asgasri – Member of Union of German Writers - Germany
Shima Kalbasi - Writer and Activist for Women’s Rights – USA
Niloofar Beizaei – Writer and Theatre Director – Germany
Alireza Maybody – Writer and Radio-TV Journalist – USA
Dr. Ardavan Bayani – Lawyer - USA
Farhang Farrahi - Writer and Radio-TV Journalist – USA
Kambiz Ghaemmagham – Writer and Political Activist - USA
Dr. Mohsen Ghaemmagham – Physician, Writer and Political Activist - USA
Abbas Pahlavan - Writer and Journalist – USA
Parviz Ghazi-Said - Writer and Journalist – USA
Omid Habibinia – Journalist and Researcher
Behrouz Souresrafil - Writer and Journalist – USA
Effat Mahbaz - Writer and Activist for Women’s Rights – Germany
Dr. Hossein Bagherzadeh - Writer and Political Activist – UK
Dr. Reza Joshani – Physician - Germany
Gholamreza Baghaei – Writer
Hamid Nemati – Artist and Webmaster: Barabari.com - Sweden
Dr. Saideh Ghazi – Lawyer – Canada
Alma Ghovanlou – TV host - USA
Dr. Siamak Akhavan – Professor of Sociology - Australia
Vida Farhoudi – Poet – France
Azar Mahlujian – Writer – Sweden
Hadi Ebrahimi – Writer and Journalist – Canada
Mahrad Ommidmehr – Master Media Designer
Dr. Mahzad Omidmehr – Physician
Ashrafossadat Omidmehr – Teacher
Dr. Ali Akbat Omidmehr – Ex-diplomat
Amir Hossein Afrasiabi – Poet
Nushin Shahrokhi – Writer – Germany
Nasser Karami – Architect and Political Activist
Sasan Ghahreman – Poet and Writer – Canada
Ahmad Zahedi Langarudi – Writer, poet and Filmmaker

(The main body of signatures is reflected in the petition signature section)


The Undersigned

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Please SIGN PETITION Online NOW and send this petition to your friends and family and ask them to sign it.
URL: http://activistchat.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6605

When you sign, in the Comments Field Please write: Informed By ActivistChat.com


The Open Letter to the Lawyers of the World - Iranian Case Petition to International Bar Association & ..... was created by Advocates of Human Rights for Iran and written by Iranian Intellectuals (lawyersforiran@gmail.com). This petition is hosted here at www.PetitionOnline.com as a public service. There is no endorsement of this petition, express or implied, by Artifice, Inc. or our sponsors. For technical support please use our simple Petition Help form.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They took a fullpage ad in the New York Times today with this petition and signatures. It is in the main section, Thursday's NY Times.

Very prominant. Good move!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Havel Joins Bush, Sharansky in Plea for Ganji's Life

July 25, 2005
The New York Sun
Eli Lake

The Committee On The Present Danger's Letter to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei

WASHINGTON -- A new letter from Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji, authenticated yesterday by his wife, predicts that if he dies, his death will "water the harvest of freedom."

Also, a former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, has joined President Bush; a former Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky, and European Union leaders in calling for Mr. Ganji's unconditional release from prison by the Islamic Republic. This newspaper has called Mr. Ganji, who has become a symbol of the democratic opposition in his country, the Iranian Havel. He has been on a hunger strike since June 11 in protest of his detention for urging a boycott of last month's presidential election in Iran.

In a letter addressed to a dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, once heir apparent to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mr. Ganji wrote, "If Ganji is killed, his death is not the death of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Ganji's death may act as spring in a desert and water the harvest of freedom," according to a translation by the BBC's Persian service.

In the letter, Mr. Ganji dares the ruling mullahs to let him die, saying that his passing would spark outrage throughout the country. The political prisoner urges his countrymen to oppose the regime. As in his prior communications from prison, the latest letter says that if he dies from his hunger strike, his blood will be on the hands of the supreme leader, whom he says "must go."

This letter and one from Mr. Ganji's wife, Massoumeh Shafieh, suggest that earlier reports that the journalist was being kept alive through intravenous injection at Tehran's Milad Hospital, where he was rushed from Evin Prison last Sunday, were wrong. In an open letter posted on Iranian opposition Web sites over the weekend, Ms. Shafieh said her husband has continued to lose weight and his condition has worsened since his arrival at Milad.

Mr. Ganji's latest letter to Mr. Montazeri is likely to resonate with Iranians who regard the octogenarian cleric as a leading force for democracy in the country. Like Mr. Ganji, Mr. Montazeri was an early supporter of the 1979 Islamic revolution, but the cleric became disenchanted by 1987 and began publicly speaking out against the regime's human rights abuses and purges of its former political allies. Mr. Montazeri was placed under house arrest in Qom in 1997 for questioning the divine authority of supreme leader.

Mr. Ganji's letter is a signal that the reformist movement of the outgoing president, Mohammed Khatemi, has collapsed. Mr. Ganji, who was long associated with the political movement, asks, "Does Mr. Khatemi not know how Mr. Khamenei used him to hold the illegitimate elections for the seventh Majlis [Iranian parliament] and the presidency in order to make the state homogeneous, and forced him to describe both these elections as sound and democratic?"

Mr. Ganji today will be in his 44th day of a hunger strike he has vowed not to break until he is released unconditionally from prison. He began his latest act of civil disobedience when he was rearrested on June 11, after giving an interview to Rooz Online calling for a boycott of last month's presidential elections.

Mr. Ganji's case has attracted international attention in recent weeks. On July 21, a former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, joined world leaders and dozens of intellectuals in calling on the Islamic Republic to release Mr. Ganji unconditionally from prison. In a letter to Mr. Khamenei, Mr. Havel, along with a former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and the two American chairmen of the Committee on the Present Danger, wrote: "We are concerned that Mr. Ganji's imprisonment is due only to the exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As your county has ratified this Covenant, we ask that you reconsider Mr. Ganji's case, which is further mitigated by his ill health, and that you order his unconditional release at this time."

The Committee on the Present Danger last December released a policy paper calling on coercive diplomacy with Iran's supreme leader to allow transparent elections. The paper called for President Bush to offer to reopen the American Embassy in Tehran that was seized in the 1979 hostage crisis in an effort to increase ties with the country's burgeoning pro-democracy movement.

The international campaign to free Mr. Ganji may be having an effect in Tehran. Last week, the outgoing justice minister told Iranian reporters that he was considering granting the journalist a pardon. Mr. Khatemi last week also said he would favor ending Mr. Ganji's sentence now, six months before his time would be served.

His family has cast doubt on the possible deal. Ms. Shafieh told the BBC on Friday that any pardon may require her husband to ask forgiveness from the court, something Mr. Ganji has said he will not do. Mr. Ganji's lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel laureate, yesterday told Reuters that she has not been able to visit her client in Milad Hospital. "As Ganji's lawyer, I have not been allowed to visit him in the hospital," she said. "This is unlawful."
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