image by Amande Bleue from Iranian Women of Graphic Design
Dear Lord Ahmad,
Further to my previous correspondence, I am writing again to urge the UK Government to escalate its response to the dire human rights situation in Iran. In particular, I am deeply concerned about the regime’s violent treatment of women and men who are protesting against the barbaric violation of their basic human rights, following the killing of 22 year old Mahsa (Zhina) Amini on 16 September 2022.
As you will know, Iran’s security forces have since killed hundreds of citizens with impunity, including at least 44 children. Amnesty International find that most of these children were killed due to security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at their head, heart or other vital organs. More than 18,000 demonstrators have also been arrested since mid-September.
In a new phase of this crackdown, Iranian authorities are not only continuing to carry out mass killings, arrests, enforced disappearances and torture, but are now increasing their use of the death penalty as a weapon of repression against protesters, dissidents and ethnic minorities. Some of those at imminent risk of execution are: Mohammad Ghobadloo; Elham Modaressi; Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh; Mahan Sadrat (Sedarat) Madani; Manouchehr Mehman Navaz; Mohammad Boroughani; Saman Seydi (Yasin); Hamid Ghare Hasanlou; Mohammad Mehdi Karami; Sayed Mohammad Hosseini; Hossein Mohammadi; Saeed Shirazi; Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou; Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharegholou; Akbar Ghafari; Toomaj Salehi; Ebarhim Rigi; Amir Nasr Azadani; Saleh Mirhashemi; Saeed Yaghoubi; Farzad (Farzin) Tahazadeh; Farhad Tahazadeh; Karvan Shahiparvaneh; Reza Eslamdoost; Hajar Hamidi and Shahram Marouf-Moula.
Many others are at risk of facing the death penalty, given the thousands arrested.
In accordance with the UK’s commitment to human rights and support of human rights defenders, I am calling on you to immediately ensure that the UK’s British Embassy in Iran sends independent observers to trials connected to political protests. I would also like you to urge the current UK Ambassador to Iran to request access to named individuals who have been sentenced to death, including access to their legal files.
The world is watching Iran - and it’s also watching how other countries respond. The UK has always sought to play an important leadership role internationally, and your Government should make a clear and unequivocal public statement in support of those at risk of execution in Iran for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. This should also call for the convictions and death sentences against individuals named by human rights organisations to be quashed; for anyone charged with a recognisable criminal offence to be tried in proceedings meeting international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty; and for independent observers from embassies in Iran to be granted access to trials connected to protests.
Every single fundamental right and freedom is being attacked in Iran - from women’s rights to freedom of expression. My constituents and I want the UK Government to stand with the people of Iran, not stand by and let these atrocities happen on your watch. The executions, detentions, torture, arrests, sham trials and denying of access to justice need to stop, and the Iranian authorities must be held to account.
So many lives are at risk - please act on the above now.