‘Press Iran over human rights record,’ opposition tells international lawmakers in Quebec

‘Hold Iranian delegate accountable’

A group of Iranian opposition figures have called on delegates at the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly to press Iran to address its poor human rights record, in particular the continued imprisonment of former lawmakers in the country’s jails.

In their letter to the participants, the political, pro-democracy, civil and human rights activists stressed that more than three years after the brutal suppression that followed Iran’s rigged 2009 presidential elections,  the current “governing institutions no longer have any popular support.”  

Around 1,400 international lawmakers have gathered for the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Quebec from 21 to 26 October. A delegation is also representing Iran at the IPU, the world’s oldest multilateral organisation.

The signatories to the letter said that as part of Iran’s crackdown on dissent following the 2009 unrest, “several former parliament members who supported the demands of the popular majority also faced repression and violent reprisals. They, too, were illegally arrested, tortured and incarcerated.”

“Mr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mr. Behzad Nabavi, Mr. Mir Taher Mousavi and Mrs. Faezeh Hashemi are among the former parliament members who, unfortunately, remain illegally detained. Former parliament members Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi, Mr. Mohsen Safayi Farahani, Mr. Mohsen Armin and Mr. Ali Shakourirad likewise endured months of detention but have been temporarily released on bail.”

They also slammed the Iranian leadership for its ongoing “unlawful confinement” of two-time parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, and former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. The men were placed under house arrest in February 2011 after calling for rallies in solidarity with the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.

“They remain under house arrest with no court proceedings and deprived of their basic human and legal rights.”

The activists also dismissed the March 2012 parliamentary elections, arguing that they failed “to meet the basic criteria for a free and fair election. The result of the aforementioned election mockery was a pseudo-parliament that is under the sway of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“However, holding free and fair elections is the prime duty of IPU member states. The Islamic Republic of Iran—despite ratifying IPU statutes and the International Civil and Political Covenant, which emphasises citizens’ political rights — has failed to observe and respect this major principle.”

“We beseech the members of this Union to do their utmost to secure the human and legal rights of the true representatives of the Iranian people … who remain detained in prisons,” they went on to add. “Please make haste to take whatever legal action may provide for the release of Mr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mr. Behzad Nabavi, Mr. Mir Taher Mousavi and Mrs. Faezeh Hashemi, as well as the release of Mr. Mehdi Karroubi, Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard and other political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

In a separate letter to the delegates, a group of former Iranian parliamentarians voiced their concerns over the fate of Iranian lawmakers jailed illegally in the past three years. The letter blasted Iran’s current electoral process, calling the Guardian Council’s vetting process “flawed.”

“Nevertheless, this would not be the only illegal measure taken against former members of Iran’s parliament. In the past three years and in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 [presidential] elections, the Iranian judiciary … has detained the former MPs on baseless and false charges, handing down lengthy jail terms,” the statement continued. It called on participants at the IPU conference to demand answers from the Iranian delegation regarding the fate of imprisoned former MPs.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recently called on delegates to press their governments to back a human rights resolution on Iran at the United Nations.

“This regime stands for everything we parliamentarians should stand against,” he said.

Iran and Canada have suspended diplomatic relations after Ottawa announced the closure of its embassy in Tehran on 7 September and expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada.

Full text of letter by Iranian activists:

A letter from a group of Iranian political, pro-democracy, civil and human rights activists addressed to delegates participating in the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen; Greetings to IPU Delegates,

Today, as representatives of parliaments around the world gather in this assembly, the political situation in our country, Iran, has reached a point such that governing institutions no longer have any popular support. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad illegally and undemocratically maintained his hold on to the presidency in the June 2009 election with the support of military and security apparatuses controlled by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic. After this controversial election, the authoritarian leadership did everything possible to undermine the republican aspect of the governing system.  This process — initiated with the electoral fraud committed by the ruling government and through collaboration of the security apparatus and the judiciary — led to the arrest, illegal detention and torture of hundreds of political and civil rights activists, journalists, students and university professors. People in the streets also were not spared the aggression of the enemies of free and fair elections.  Thousands of protesting civilians participating in peaceful demonstrations were confronted with violence and were subjected to bloody repression by the security and military apparatus of the authoritarian system.  Dozens of civilians were shot in the streets and lost their lives for simply asking, “Where is my vote?” Furthermore, several former parliament members who supported the demands of the popular majority also faced repression and violent reprisals. They, too, were illegally arrested, tortured and incarcerated. Mr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mr. Behzad Nabavi, Mr. Mir Taher Mousavi and Mrs. Faezeh Hashemi are among the former parliament members who, unfortunately, remain illegally detained. Former parliament members Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi, Mr. Mohsen Safayi Farahani, Mr. Mohsen Armin and Mr. Ali Shakourirad likewise endured months of detention but have been temporarily released on bail.

In February 2011 Iran’s authoritarian system illegally placed Mr. Mehdi Karroubi — the former chairman of Iran’s third and sixth terms of Parliament, and a candidate in 2009 presidential election — under house arrest.  This occurred without trial or any other legal proceedings. Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi — the other opposition candidate — and his wife, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard, were likewise illegally placed on house arrest. The unlawful confinement of Mousavi, Karroubi and Rahnavard — who led and continue to lead the post-election protest movement, the “Green Movement” — has lasted 610 days and counting. They remain under house arrest with no court proceedings and deprived of their basic human and legal rights. After widespread repression of the pro-democracy protesters, Iran’s authoritarian rulers held elections in 2012 for the ninth term of Parliament.  These elections — in our view and that of a number of independent political observers — failed to meet the basic criteria for a free and fair election. The result of the aforementioned election mockery was a pseudo-parliament that is under the sway of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, holding free and fair elections is the prime duty of IPU member states. The Islamic Republic of Iran — despite ratifying IPU statutes and the International Civil and Political Covenant, which emphasizes citizens’ political rights — has failed to observe and respect this major principle.  Members of IPU are committed to adhering to the Union’s principles and upholding its values, including peace and cooperation among people for the firm establishment of free and vital parliaments as well as the promotion of human rights. We beseech the members of this Union to do their utmost to secure the human and legal rights of the true representatives of the Iranian people — those who remain detained in prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Please make haste to take whatever legal action may provide for the release of Mr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mr. Behzad Nabavi, Mr. Mir Taher Mousavi and Mrs. Faezeh Hashemi, as well as the release of Mr. Mehdi Karroubi, Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard and other political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We thank you in advance for your collaboration with all Iranian democracy and freedom seekers and human rights defenders.

Abtin Ghaffari – Ebrahim Mehtari- Arash Aghapour – Azadeh Assadi – Esmail Khtaei – Akbar Dostdar – Amir Etedali – Amir Rashidi – Memarian Amir – Amir Vaeasteh Haidari – Aida Qajar – Ayandeh Azad – Babak Amir Khosravi – Behnam Saremi Bijan Poor Behnam -Parvin Bakhtiarnejhad – Parvin Hemmati – Hafiz Hakami – Hafez Narenji – Hassan Jafari – Hassan Talebi – Hassan Fereshtian – Hassan Nayeb Hashem – Hussein Sobhan Allahi  – Hussein Alavi – Hamid Reaz Zarifi Nia – Hanif Mazrui – Khosro Bandari – Dariush Vossoughi – Davod Navaeian – Reza Jafarian – Reza Joshani –  Reza Siavoushi – Reza Alijani – Reza Fani Yazdi -Reza Ganjareh – Ruhollah Shahsavar – Sajedeh Arabsorkhi – Sajedeh kourdi Nejad – Sara Mahroian – Sajjad Rezaei -Saeed Ghasemi Nejad- Soheil Arabi – Soheil Parhizi – Shahrokh Ghadimi – Shahrokh Fadakar – Shiva Nojo – Sadra Semnani Rahbar – Sanam Ghiaei – Zia Abedi – Atefeh Jafari –Abdol Ali Bazargan – Ali Afshari – Ali Taghipour – Ali Hossin Qazi Zada – Ali Shakeri – Ali Abdi – Ali Forozandeh – Alireza Kiani – Ali Vatan Khah – Farshad Tomaj – Farshid Faryab – Farshid Khatmian – Farhad Parsa– Farhad Rouhi – Faria Barlas – Fariba Davoodi Mohajer – Fahimeh Melati – Kamyar  Behrang – Kamran Amiri – Keyvan Frouzan – Mohsen Heidarian – Mohammad Borghei – Mohammad Behbodi – Mohammad Javad Akbarein – Mohammad Sajjad Naqhvi – Mohammad Saber Abbasian – Mohammad Sadeghi – Morteza Eslahchi – Morteza Kazemian – Maryam Ahari – Masoud Azari – Masoud Shab afrouz – Mostafa Khosravi – Malihe  Zehtab – Malihe Mohammadi – Mansoureh  Fathi – Mehdi  Khanbaba Tehrani – Mehdi Saharkhiz – Mehdi Arabshahi – Mehdi Fatahbpour – Mehdi Nourbakhsh – Mehdi Yarmohammadi – Mehran Barati – Mehrdad Hariri – Negin bank- Noushin  Manouchehri -Helmand Arbabi – Yadi Ghorbani

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