MFI Press Release, Solidarity with Refugees

MFI Press Release: Japan Under Increasing Pressure Regarding Saberi Case as Citizens Stage 6th Embassy Protest Since March


Since the June 2009 elections, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to detain, torture and execute dissidents at home, while seeking international assistance in capturing and silencing anti-regime activists living abroad. At a time when the Islamic regime is brutally repressing peaceful protesters, journalists, students, and human rights activists within its borders, Japan is supporting the regime’s efforts to silence dissidents abroad. Japan has arrested and initiated deportation procedures against Jamal Saberi, a human rights activist who fled Iran for Japan 20 years ago. Concerned citizens will gather outside the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC on April 11 2010 for the sixth time in four weeks to condemn Japan’s complicity with the Islamic Republic.

Washington, D.C. April 8, 2010 – As the Islamic Republic continues to openly arrest, torture and execute political activists within its borders, it has also sought international assistance in capturing and silencing anti-regime activists living abroad. Supporting the regime’s efforts, Japan has begun deportation procedures against prominent Iranian dissident and human rights activist Jamal Saberi (Jalal Amanzadeh Nouei), a resident of Japan for the past 20 years.

Japan’s effort to forcibly return an Iranian political activist constitutes a violation of Japanese law and the international principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits forcibly returning a person to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. Mr. Saberi has a well-founded fear of persecution by the Islamic regime. He warrants recognition as a political refugee and merits protections under UN agreements on the Status of Refugees, to which Japan is a signatory.

The Saberi case has global implications: If Japan flouts human rights standards and international principles on the status of refugees, consequences for refugees worldwide will be dire. We consider especially the impact of Japan’s actions on thousands of new Iranian refugees surviving precariously in Turkey, which has in the past violated the principle of non-refoulement and has begun systematic though unofficial persecution of this new wave of Iranian refugees.

Protesters will gather outside of the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC on Sunday, April 11 2010 at 3pm to demand that Japan set the appropriate international precedent in this matter by freeing Jamal Saberi, stopping the deportation proceedings, formally establishing Saberi’s refugee status, and implementing appropriate protections to preserve his life. This protest demands that Japan uphold refugee rights according to international standards, and we extend this demand throughout the world wherever refugee rights are threatened.

Protests in front of the Japanese Embassy demanding that Japan stop deportation proceedings against Saberi and grant his refugee status have been organized and staged by Mission Free Iran on March 21, March 28, March 31, and April 4. On April 6, an unknown group of American students staged an independent protest for Saberi in front of the Japanese Embassy, indicating a broadening of visible American activist support for Saberi, and by extension for freedom and democracy in Iran.

Mission Free Iran, the coordinating organization, has promised to continue the campaign in front of the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC until Saberi is freed and granted refugee status.

Maria Rohaly
Mission Free Iran

free jamal


2 thoughts on “MFI Press Release: Japan Under Increasing Pressure Regarding Saberi Case as Citizens Stage 6th Embassy Protest Since March

  1. Dear Maria,

    I like to comment on your comment over at IranLives:

    you suggested that the Iranian problem is a “global” problem, drew an example from Capitalism’s borderless ideology, and ended your comment with:
    “there are no borders in this world – they only exist in the minds of people who believe the crooked governments telling them that they’re there and have to be defended by deadliest means. “

    I respectfuylly disagree: As human beings, the first border that separates us is “langauge”. With language comes also culture, tradition, history, family and etc. These are NOT artificial constructs, these are human-made boundaries–some of which we have inherited from our primate ancestors, some are the outcome of our evolution.

    You draw analogy to capitalist’s globalist aspirations and regret that the ‘progressives’ do not profess a similar form of “freedom&democracy” globalization. Capitalism has reduced its objectives to a very SIMPLE one: “wealth”. In such reductionism, it has become inevitably cruel; and also self-destructive.

    To remove “borders” from our social constructs is to reduce them into a shapeless ball, a common denominator of all shades gray.

    I maintain that the Iranian problem is not something that can be reduced to a ‘simplistic’ notion of “tyrants are killing innocent people”. It looks like that to an outsider–or to a child inside Iran. But, truth is more complex; and full of historical and cultural intricacies taht make Iranians simultaneously vulnerable but also STRONG. For anyone to chime a voice about the Iranian problem, it is necessary to at least have access to the original language, original sources, in all their multiplicity.

    As an Iranian, I appreciate people express solidarity; but I prefer if they focus on THEIR government’s policies vis a vis the lives of Iranians; rather than lend their muscles or weapons to “liberating” us! Freedom is NOT an absolute term, or value.


    Posted by naj | April 13, 2010, 6:30 pm
  2. Well, only one little difference between your understanding of the world and ours explains the rest of our differences. To us Freedom is an absolute term. It is universal and we do not see any difference between an Iranian’s need to that universal freedom and an Afghan or Iraqi or American. That little difference puts an ocean between you as an Iranian”cultural relativist” and I as an Iranian communist.
    So you see! WE as Iranians vs THEM as none Iranians does not exist. I find myself close to the German shouting against Jamal’s detention, and you… close to those Japanese advocating a homogeneous Japan.
    Thank you for your input. Write more. It is good to hear different opinions.

    Posted by Ahmad Fatemi | April 15, 2010, 10:49 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: