June 13: Iranian political prisoners face sham trial - Regime repression sparks global movement for prisoners' freedom

Larry Everest | June 11, 2021 

"June 13 is going to be a make-or-break day for my mother, Nahid Taghavi, and other Iranian political prisoners," says Mariam Claren.

"These prisoners—who never should have been arrested in the first place—will be brought before an Iranian court and could face harsh sentencing for the 'crime' of speaking out for basic rights and against injustice," Claren writes in a June 9 oped in Ms. Magazine.

The other political prisoners reportedly being brought to court include Mehran Raouf, Bahareh Soleimani, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Elham Samimi, and Somayeh Kargar, who is Kurdish.

These and many other Iranians, from women's and human rights activists, to protesters, dissidents and revolutionaries, to members of religious and oppressed minorities, have been targeted by a wave of violent repression and arbitrary arrests. This has been the Islamic Republic's response to the just mass uprisings that rocked Iran in November 2019, and the heroic, ongoing resistance of prisoners and ordinary Iranians.

Claren, the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners, and other human rights groups, family members and activists are calling for their immediate, unconditional release and freedom for all Iran's political prisoners. June 13 will be the third anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of world renown activist and attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh.

"Their freedom would crack open a door for Iran's 80-plus million people to fight for freedom and a better world," Claren writes.

Taghavi, is a 66-year-old Iranian-German citizen and women's rights activist who suffers from diabetes and hypertension. She spent 194 days in solitary confinement and was interrogated 80 times for a total of 1,000 hours, all without legal counsel.

Mehran Raoof, an Iranian-British citizen and labor activist, has been in solitary confinement for eight months and his health is a grave concern according to Satar Rahmani, a UK-based supporter, who said Raoof is being prevented from communicating with the outside world.

Actions Ahead of June 13 to Free Iran's Political Prisoners
Emergency Appeal - The Lives of Iran's Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now

An Emergency Appeal has been circulating demanding freedom for ALL of Iran's political prisoners. To date over 1,800 have signed including relatives and former political prisoners, artists, intellectuals, activists and prominent voices of conscience including feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem, internationally acclaimed writer Ariel Dorfman, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, and others.

The Appeal calls on "All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran's political prisoners NOW!" and points out the special responsibility we in the U.S. have to stand with them given that this country has been the cause of so much suffering in Iran.

Amnesty International: has declared Taghavi and Raoof prisoners of conscience, "detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association," and called for their immediate, unconditional release, and this week called on the G7 to demand the release of all dual-national political prisoners being held in Iran (poster below).

Germany: Amnesty Germany, the International Society of Human Rights, and Bundestag member Dr. Heribert Hirte will issue statements in support of Nahid Taghavi, whose case has been covered extensively in the German media. 

San Francisco: #FreeThemAll Press Conference / Speak Out: will take place today, Friday, June 11, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in Clarion Alley off Valencia Street, between 17th and 18th in San Francisco's Mission District, before a mural of Iranian political prisoners. This event will be in solidarity with the Burn the Cage, Free the Birds Iranian prisoners support movement in Europe.

6 on trial crop

6 on trial crop
Prisoners on trial June 13, clockwise from top left: Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Elham Samimi, Bahareh Soleimani, and Somayeh Kargar


Background on Iran's Political Prisoners:
Emergency Appeal Text & Endorsers

Mariam Claren, "On June 13, the Whole World Should Be Watching Iran, Demanding Justice and Calling to #FreeNahid and #FreeThemAll," Ms. Magazine, June 9, 2021

Larry Everest, "Vicious Wave of Repression Sparks Global Movement to Free Iran's Political Prisoners," CounterPunch, June 4, 2021

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SF Clarien Alley

Mural of Iranian Political Prisoners, Clarion Alley, San Francisco