Thursday, July 16, 2009

Against a new wave of crackdown and oppression in Iran

This statement is from issue number 24 of Khiaban newspaper. Thanks to the sender!
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Joint statement: against a new wave of crackdown and oppression in Iran
Khiaban #24 / Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Struggling people of Iran, freedom-loving peoples of the world!

The act of millions of demonstrators who took to the streets recently in most cities in Iran was a huge show of power by a people challenging the injustice, deceit and the constant oppression of this regime. A challenge that was answered by the exercise of violence by the anti-democratic system of the Islamic Republic and its security forces. Up to now, we have had definite reports of tens of deaths and hundreds of injured. Available reports tell of thousands of detained or disappeared among the activists and dissidents against the regime. Meanwhile, the university dormitories have been among the first targets of the forces of oppression, leading to tens of deaths and innumerable arrests of students. The widespread wave of nightly raids and arrests in the homes of the youth, journalists and students, and the disappearance of others remind us of the fear and the terror during the 1980s. The masses of the detained, in addition to being sent to known prisons such as Evin or Gohardasht or ... are being sent to military bases, Basij offices and unknown locations.

Despite the severe censorship, the reports, pictures and videos that have been sent out are incontrovertible documents indicating that the dimensions of the tortures, the ruthlessness and cruelty of the torturers have reached unimaginable levels in the Islamic Republic. The beatings, throwing the detainees and the prisoners from elevated heights while blindfolded and with hands tied, along with other unbearable psychological and physical tortures -- all these have given a heavier bulk to the Islamic Republic's files on violations of human rights. The well-established methods of creating fear among the people, of constant attrition-by-torture of the prisoners to force "confessions" from them for televised interviews -- these are among the crimes that these days can be seen on a vast scale. Prisoners are tortured around the clock, day and night, in order to break them and, despite their will and wishes, to force "confessions" that fly in the face of their lives, their values and aspirations. We declare unambiguously that forcing prisoners to give dictated "confessions" has no [legal] validity, and can only be used as hard evidence against the Islamic Republic regime, which has placed such interviewee under harsh pressure and torture.

The families of the detained, without any news of their children and relatives, have no channel for pursuing their cases and for clarifying the situation and fate of their loved ones. Disturbing news pertaining to the killing and the secret burials of detainees have raised the concerns of the families and spread wider an atmosphere of fear and terror in the society. The efforts of mothers of the recently detained in finding their children by repeated gatherings have been countered by the arrests of family members by the regime. Street killings and kidnappings are currently on the agenda of the regime's security forces, and we face the dangerous beginnings of systematic and widespread executions. The regime is pursuing a ruthless, systematic and planned crackdown on the active and persistent opposition; a trend, which without widespread protests in Iran and the world, can turn into extensive killings by the regime at any moment.

A number of the signers of this statement are political prisoners, who experienced harsh prison lives and tortures in the 1980s. Many of us are survivors and witnesses to the killings of 1981 and 1988. And for this reason, we can be sure that the dimensions of the crackdown, torture and the killings go much farther than indicated in the reports made available to the public. Bearing these reasons in mind, we demand immediate, widespread and multilateral action against the current situation in the prisons and the torture chambers in Iran. Let us hope that international efforts, as well as efforts by Iranians outside the country, will be a worthy reflection of the current sensitive situation.

Along with alerting Amnesty International and the International [Committee of the] Red Cross regarding the repetition of another crime against humanity, we ask these institutions to use all their capabilities to stop the repetition of such crimes, and to visit all the official and unofficial [secret] prisons of the Islamic Republic regime, and to spare no efforts in saving the prisoners' lives.

--We demand the unconditional freedom of all political prisoners, and the banning of any form of torture in prisons.

--We demand the unconditional banning of death penalty in Iran.

Freedom loving people! Come and let us use all our resources in an effort to free the political prisoners. We, former political prisoners of the Islamic Republic regime, in support of the freedom struggles of the people and the freedom of all political prisoners, and in particular those detained in the recent events, and in order to prevent widespread mass killings, on July 24th and 25th, will conduct a hunger strike in Berlin, Germany. We ask all freedom loving political activists, organizations, institutions and the defenders of human rights to participate in this strike and play a role in preventing yet another round of mass killings.

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