On Sunday, 13 October 2013, Mission Free Iran participated, with Unity for Democracy and Justice in Iran, in a protest action outside of the offices of the Islamic regime in Iran, in observance of the World Day against the Death Penalty.
Below are the photos from the action, and the statement given by MFI.
Photos courtesy of Unity for Democracy and Justice in Iran.
Mission Free Iran’s Statement on the Occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty
For more than two centuries, progressive people in this country have fought legalized and state-sponsored murder – what the government calls “capital punishment.”
Unfortunately, our struggle against this barbaric act has been as unsuccessful as the attempt by the state, “our” government, to produce a logical rationale for the necessity of this savagery.
At least as far back as 1853, the public has been able to observe statistics, published in mass media such as the New York Daily Tribune, indicating a direct relationship between public hangings and an escalation in violence, murder and suicide. Subsequent studies have supported the hypothesis that murder by the state results in an increase in murder by citizens.
Nevertheless, a century and a half later, the political and economic powers-that-be in this country have succeeded in asserting an upside-down “reality.” They have sold an absurd lie – that putting a person to death can somehow be understood as a form of justice – as an infinite truth. By so doing, they have established and nurtured a culture of violence in this country. As a result, our culture does not reflect humane and social solidarity. Rather, our culture reflects the nature of the relationship between political power and the people, wherein lies a true conflict of interests.
Execution – legitimized murder by the state – preserves and even works to justify the unjustifiable social and economic relations in this country. Rather than working to prevent crime by addressing its root social causes, the government’s jails, penal codes, and law enforcement systems contribute to crime – and we need look no further than the abominable multinational destruction wrought by the US government’s “War on Drugs” for proof of that assertion.
It has been more than two hundred years that we have struggled to abolish the barbarity of “capital punishment.” And yet the US government has in the year 2013 executed 28 people, and is leaving people like public defense lawyer Lynne Stewart, age 74, to die of cancer in prison for simply defending her client. The US government dares to call these shameful, premeditated, cold-blooded murders, justice.
As in the United States, executions continue, business as usual, on the other side of the world in Iran as well. Despite the docile tones of the regime’s new front-man Rouhani when he speaks to an international audience, the tenor in Iran is the same as ever under this regime:
October 1: Three people were hanged in the prison of Ardebil (north-western Iran).
One man was hanged in the prison of Shiraz (southern Iran). One man and one women were hanged in the prison of Mashhad (northeastern Iran).
October 3: Six people were hanged in the prison of Yazd (central Iran).
October 5: Two people were hanged publicly in the city of Babol (northern Iran).
October 8: Two people were hanged in the prison of Ahwaz (southwestern Iran).
October 9: One person was hanged in Fasa in southerrn Iran, and three people were executed in the city of Rasht.
Since the Presidential election of June 14, 2013, at least 213 people have been executed in Iran. Since the new year, over 400 people have been executed by the regime in Iran.
– If the state’s strength is public ignorance and lack of social and personal security,
– If they back their barbarity, illogical belief and crimes with their legislation, lawmakers, and opinion-manufacturing media industry,
– If they are dependent on the absurd argument that murder and violence could ever be the solution to our society’s problems, then
WE, the advocates of humanity, have science and logic and an international army of activists against this savagery.
We can stop this barbarity here, as our movement has done in many other societies that have already abolished “capital punishment,” along with other brutal punishments of human beings, as tools of managing their societies.
This is doable, it has been done, and it is being done as we speak. We need to believe in our power, the power of logic and awareness, the power of people driven by humane consciousness, by humanity in the streets of this country. This puts a great responsibility on our shoulders, and on the shoulders of the international death penalty abolition movement.
We, Mission Free Iran, have advocated against execution in all its forms. We consider ourselves a part of the international movement against execution. We believe execution is state sponsored terror and we believe no governing body is an exception. We believe circumstances cannot legitimize this legitimated CRIME.
We have led an international campaign against stoning, one the most savage methods of executing a human being. We consider our involvement against stoning one victory on the path towards the greater victory of abolishing other forms of execution, not only in Iran but all over the world. WE have managed to force one of the most brutal regimes in the world to a point that, after more than 31 years of globally unchallenged barbarity, it has become impossible to even think of using this method of spreading fear among people in Iran.
The fact of this achievement is as important as the way we accomplished this objective. Our way was by spreading awareness, organizing our ranks in an international arena, making our voices heard, putting our case on politicians’ agendas, and aligning them with our demands. We became an international force that could not be ignored. Our campaign against stoning in Iran shows the way to deal with our movement’s objective here in the United States too. American people, in unity with the international movement to abolish this barbarity, have the power to enforce our humane demand on the policymakers of our country. And it is time that we mobilize to do so. Death is not, and can never be, justice.
We demand that all pending execution sentences be dropped, including the execution sentences against political prisoners Zeinab Jalalian, Hamed Ahmadi, Sedigh Mohammadi, Jamshid Dehgani, his younger brother Jahangir Dehgani, Kamal Molayee, and Hadi Hosseini, Ghazi Abbasi, Abdul-Reza Amir-Khanafereh, Abdul-Amir Mojaddami, and Jasim Moghaddam Payam, Zanyar & Loghman Moradi, women like Sakineh Ashtiani and Maryam Gorbanzadeh, and all others facing execution in Iran.
Mission Free Iran
13 October 2013