Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oppose Death Penalty for Kurdish Activist in Iran

Translation of the statement by Raah Kargar's Executive Council on the death penalty issued for Shirkooh Moarefi, a Kurdish activist, whose day of execution is set for May 1. How do they throw salt into the wound? Here is one way!

We Are All Shirkooh! United and Collectively We Protest the Barbaric Death Sentence for Shirkooh Moarefi!
Statement of the Executive Council of Revolutionary Workers' Organization of Iran (Raah Kargar)

Shirkooh Moarefi, a Kurdish activist youth, is once again facing death penalty. According to a letter from his family, [town of] Saqhez court issued the sentence at the same time as the Norouz [Iranian New Year] celebrations, and they have announced the date of the execution to be on May 1, at the same time as the International Workers' Day. The upholding of the death sentence for Shirkooh Moarefi by the court occurred right after the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor Iran's human rights conditions; the [execution sentence] is a show of defiance to that world body by the Islamic Republic. It also conveys the message that the regime does not intend to cave in to the international pressure and intends to continue the execution of its opponents. The regime, especially given the relentless [political] conditions it is wrestling with, can also not afford to put aside one of its most important and basic weapons and tools of intimidation and of spreading fear among the people.

[We have] a situation in which the removal of price subsidies have caused ever increasing poverty and misery along with uncontrollable inflation. This has increasingly created the conditions for connecting the struggles going on for demands for equality and demands for freedom in our society. There were also the protest actions of workers and the poor in shantytowns [outskirts of urban areas] toward the close of last year [which ended on March 20]. The expansion and spreading of the anti-dictatorial protests and the deepening of its mass nature in the new year have become real important threats to the continuation of the Islamic Republic. Given all these conditions, the court in Saqhez chose May 1 as the day of execution so as to make clear that the punishment for any effort to connect the movement [of workers] for economic demands to the anti-dictatorial movement is execution; furthermore, the Islamic Republic's gift to the working classes on May 1 is not only the continuation of no rights for workers, as well as low wages below inflation levels, not only the continuation of imposed hunger and unsigned contracts, not only slave-like work conditions and even lower wages and the continuation of inflation and the non-payment of wages for months, but also the gallows' noose.

The upholding of the death sentence for Shirkooh Moarefi and the decision to carry out the execution on May 1 creates a new challenge for all the defenders of freedom and democracy: Silence regarding this criminal sentence will create a dangerous divide in the anti-dictatorial movement. This is so because a movement that cannot unconditionally defend all political prisoners regardless of their political ideas and beliefs, a movement that cannot act as one against death penalty as a state crime, that movement cannot become universal and will be set back. On the other hand, widespread protests -- lacking any sectarian narrow mindedness and irrelevant [political] calculations -- against this cruel and barbaric sentence will be an indication of the maturing of the anti-dictatorial movement, and will be an important step in the direction of resolving some of the divisions within the movement, and will strengthen unity and solidarity in the struggle against the oppressors.

The Executive Council of the Revolutionary Workers' Organization of Iran (Raah Kargar), while strongly condemning this barbaric sentence, calls on all political parties and formations and democratic organizations, all the forces of the anti-dictatorial movement, all individuals and political figures who support human rights and oppose death penalty, and all freedom-seeking Iranians in and outside the country to raise their voices of protest against the death sentence of Shirkooh Moarefi.

Let us get together and with widespread and united protest push the Islamic Republic back once again, and turn this May 1 into a day of shouting our collective pain against death penalty and against the lack of any rights for workers, the poor and all the people in Iran.

Down with the Islamic Republic!
Long Live Freedom, Long Live Socialism!
Executive Council of Revolutionary Workers' Organization of Iran (Raah Kargar/Woker's Path); March 26, 2011

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