January 11, 2010
Mission Free Iran
We write to you with an urgent request to encourage your members to join with Iranian activists on January 24 2010 for a global protest against the detention and execution of political prisoners in Iran. Students are being targeted for detention, torture and execution by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), and the world must come together now to support them in this struggle against oppression.
For the past 150 years, Iranians have fought to establish a democratic system of governance. Students have played a leading role in this struggle: during the Cultural Revolution after the fall of the Shah, students posed such a threat that the regime shut down all universities. Many students have since lost their lives at the hands of the regime.
A 2008 report on academic freedoms in Iran (1) documents the detentions and prosecutions of student activists, denial of their right to education, and the purging of sympathetic faculty:
Widespread detentions of student activists started on 1 December 2007, and lasted for the next 45 days. As many as 65 students were detained and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. …Even after their release, the former detainees were subjected to threats, intimidations, and continued interrogations. Many were suspended from further studies.
After the June 2009 elections, where students were among the first to fall during the regime’s repression of peaceful protests, persecution of students has increased. (2) Dozens are detained in Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and other cities, and the number of students on trial has increased significantly. (3) In advance of the 2009 annual Students’ Day celebration (16 Azar, Dec 7), regime forces arrested and prosecuted scores of students in an effort to stifle the 16 Azar activities. (4) On December 7, massive Iranian security and paramilitary forces tear-gassed, beat, and arrested students on university campuses across Iran. (5) Those arrested include Majid Tavakoli, a prominent student leader, and nearly 200 others. (6)
It is time for students around the world to stand up in solidarity with your fellow students in Iran, who rise fearlessly before the most violently repressive of regimes to demand their human rights, their rights to think, speak and act freely. We therefore ask you to join us on January 24 in Toronto Canada, Washington DC, or Gotland Sweden to protest the detention and execution of political prisoners in Iran, and to stand in solidarity with your sisters and brothers in Iran. They deserve to see the strength of our support for the battle they are fighting. It is a struggle that matters to all of us.
Toronto, Canada: 2-5pm, Mel Lasman Square
Gotland, Sweden: 2pm, Almedalen Park
Washington DC, USA: 12pm Freedom Plaza rally and march to the Lincoln Memorial
For more information, please see https://missionfreeiran.wordpress.com/take-action/stop-executions-in-iran/
(1) Allow Peaceful Celebrations of Student Day.
(2) Regime Waging Quiet War Against Students.
(3) Radio Farda via Student Information Center.
(4) Crackdown on Students Ahead of Student Day.
(5) Protests Engulf University Campuses.
(6) As Student Protests Continue….