Green Movement urges Syrian rebels to release Iranian hostages

‘Hostages not responsible for policies of Iranian regime’

Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement has called on the Syrian opposition to ensure the release of Iranian hostages held by rebel forces.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Syrian National Council Abdelbasset Sida, the Green Movement’s highest decision-making authority called for the release of 48 Iranian hostages held in Syria.

In early August, members of the Bar’a brigade abducted 48 Iranians in Damascus, claiming that the individuals were agents of the Revolutionary Guards and were aiding Assad regime in its onslaught against anti-government protesters.

Iranian officials maintain that the men were simply Shiite pilgrims.

The rebel group holding the hostages has said that it would start killing the Iranians unless the Syrian government released opposition detainees and stopped the shelling of civilian areas.

In its most recent reaction to the hostage taking, the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope said that the pilgrims were “not responsible for the wrong policies of the authoritarian apparatus in Iran; their families are as concerned and anxious about their health and safety as are the families of imprisoned militants in your own country.”

“We, just like you, are deeply dissatisfied with the total and unconditional support of the authoritarian apparatus in Iran of the dictatorial regime dominating your country and condemn it,” it added.

“Prophet [Muhammad], whom we both follow, has advised all of us of discretion and peace and treatment of prisoners with kindness and empathy. Lest the conduct of us Muslims and freedom-fighters serve the malicious purposes of those who want to distort with wanton violence the image of our religion and the democratic movements in the region.”

The letter argued that the release of the Iranian hostages would be seen as “a gesture of magnanimity to the Iranian people and not to the ruling apparatus, will certainly help strengthen the bonds of Islamic fraternity, empathy and solidarity among the Muslims.”

Full text of the letter:

In the name of God, the Merciful, The Compassionate
His Excellency Mr Abdelbasset Sida
Chairman of the Syrian National Council

We are writing to you with respect the group of Iranian citizens who were taken captive some time ago by a branch of the Syrian Free Army. According to a recent announcement, if the militants imprisoned by the authoritarian Assad regime are not released, the Iranian captives would lose their lives in retaliation.

The Iranian freedom-loving people have been supporting the pro-reform, protest movement of the Syrian people from the very beginning and continue to do so. The leaders of the Green Movement in Iran were taken into custody and placed under house arrest after their call for a popular rally in support of the liberation movements in the region. The Iranian people, like the Syrian people, aspire to have a democratic, accountable, law-abiding government, based on the rule of majority and free and fair elections. We, just like you, are deeply dissatisfied with the total and unconditional support of the authoritarian apparatus in Iran of the dictatorial regime dominating your country and condemn it. The Prophet (PBUH), whom we both follow, has advised all of us of discretion and peace and treatment of prisoners with kindness and empathy. Lest the conduct of us Muslims and freedom-fighters serve the malicious purposes of those who want to distort with wanton violence the image of our religion and the democratic movements in the region.  Those in your hands are not responsible for the wrong policies of the authoritarian apparatus in Iran; their families are as concerned and anxious about their health and safety as are the families of imprisoned militants in your own country.

As brothers in Islam, we request you, sincerely and emphatically, to avoid falling in the ditch of perpetrating violence against those in your captivity.

This is an impasse with no return. We are sure that release of the Iranian hostages, a gesture of magnanimity to the Iranian people and not to the ruling apparatus, will certainly help strengthen the bonds of Islamic fraternity, empathy and solidarity among the Muslims. We pray to Almighty God for the victory of our freedom-loving Syrian brothers and sisters.

The Coordinating Council of the Green Path of Hope

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