REQUEST FOR ADVOCACY ON BEHALF OF IRANIAN PRISONERS OF FAITH

Readers of Light in the Darkest Places will be aware that there are several Christians being detained in Iran on account of their faith. Would you be willing to go one step further by raising their cases with the Iranian authorities, calling for their unconditional release?

Writing a letter to a government is clear sign to the authorities that we are aware of the plight of these Christians – and we care. Governments can be very sensitive about their image abroad and so writing to officials and authorities can be effective and powerful, especially when backed with prayer.

The letter below can be used as a helpful template. Although we normally highlight cases on an individual basis, we have joined with Middle East Concern in presenting these cases together, due to the timing and circumstance of each.

Should you decide to take up this matter with the Iranian authorities, we would be very grateful if you could let us know and keep us informed of any responses you might receive.

Thank you for your support.

TEMPLATE

Your Excellency,

I am writing you to express my concern regarding the situation of a number of people who are currently being detained in Iran. The cases I refer to are those of Ebrahim Firouzi, Maryam Naghash Zargaran, Behnam Irani, Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov.

Ebrahim Firouzi, who was previously arrested in 2011 and 2013, was arrested on 2nd October 2014 for ‘acting against national security, gathering and collusion’ in relation to his Christian activities. At the end of April 2015 Ebrahim was sentenced to five years in prison.

Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov are three men from Baku in Azerbaijan who were visiting Tehran at the invitation of Iranian friends. They were arrested by security agents at an engagement party on Friday 24th June 2016 and have been detained in Evin Prison since then. They have not committed any crime, nor have they undermined, or planned to undermine, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Case number: DT-19140-91 9109980276500050) has been serving a sentence in Evin Prison since 15th July 2013. In 2013, Ms. Naghash Zargaran was sentenced to four years in prison for “propagating against the Islamic regime, and colluding to undermine national security”.   In actual fact, she is in prison solely on the grounds of the peaceful exercise of her Christian faith and that she is in no way a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. She has suffered severe ill-health and at various times has not been allowed access to the medical treatment that she needs.

All of these people are being detained in relation to their Christian faith or related activities.

I was encouraged by the Draft Iranian Citizen’s Rights Charter of December 2013, which states “Holding and attending religious rituals of the religions identified in the constitution is permitted”, noting that Christianity is one of these religions.

Therefore I humbly petition your intervention in these cases to ensure that the basic human rights of Ebrahim, Maryam, Eldar, Yusif and Bahram are respected, and to ensure their unconditional release from prison. Given that they are detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their religious convictions, their continued detention is a violation of international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a State Party. I appeal for their immediate release so that the international community can be assured that the Islamic Republic of Iran has respect and concern for human rights and justice.

Yours sincerely,

 

Names and addresses:

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid
Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=suggest
Salutation: Your Excellency

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani The Presidency Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: media@rouhani.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir (Subject line: FAO Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani)
Salutation: Your Excellency

One Comment Add yours

  1. susan jane gibbard nash says:

    we are getting together in church for our speciel day of writing letters and praying!

    Liked by 1 person

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