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.