Shiva, can you tell us about the latest appeal?
Thousands of protesters have been abducted and imprisoned during the 2022-2023 protests following the death in custody of Mahsa (Jina) Amini. These political prisoners have faced physical, psychological, sexual and pharmacological torture, with many dying as a result of torture. Many others, were arrested in previous protests in recent years. Hundreds of these prisoners are sentenced to or in danger of being given an execution sentence. The families of those who lost their lives in the protests or are imprisoned have been threatened or arrested by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), the regime’s main security force. Tens of thousands of women face harassment, torture and imprisonment by the IRGC for defying the Hijab law and openly opposing the regime, some even lost their lives in confrontations with security forces.
We have been focusing on the political prisoners and death penalty in Iran. We are also publicising the plight of women protesting against wearing the Hijab. We are working to draw attention globally and urge governments and international organisations to take action. Additionally, we appeal to people worldwide to show solidarity with those in Iran.
We, along with other rights organisations, are calling for a week of global action from 13-20 January 2024 to raise awareness of execution sentences in Iran. Iranian groups and activists globally will engage in various activities, including rallies and meetings with Western parliaments, urging an immediate halt to executions. Our goal is to lobby governments worldwide to pressure the Islamic regime in Iran to stop executions.
With Iran being in and out of the news, how can organisations continue to raise awareness of the executions that are largely out of the public eye?
While Iran may not be in the news, the situation has not improved. In 2023 alone, rights organisations documented at least 600 executions, a 30% increase from the previous year, making Iran the country with the world’s highest execution rates per capita. Executions have risen while the world’s attention is on the war in Gaza, allowing the regime to execute prisoners daily.
The Iranian regime has seized the opportunity of reduced international attention to intensify executions, increase torture, issue lengthy jail sentences, and use flogging as punishment for activists and women not adhering to the Hijab law.
Rights organisations and individuals can pressure the regime through letters, petitions and communication with European foreign offices to support the fight for freedom in Iran. People can show their solidarity by using their social media, using the names on this list to hashtag the name of those sentenced to execution and the hashtag #StopExecutionsInIran to show their support.
If organisations and people want to learn and understand more about this issue, which news sources or evidence are reliable?
Reliable news sources outside Iran and organisations like the Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) share daily updates and analyses. To follow the situation of political prisoners, visit our website: www.cfppi.org. Social media hashtags such as #StopExecutionsInIran, #IranRevolution, #WomanLifeFreedom, #MahsaAmini, #FreeIranPoliticalPrisoners, and #IranProtests help find reliable information.
What gives you hope?
The courage displayed by the current generation, particularly women, in Iran is remarkable. Their unwavering determination to overthrow the Islamic regime and put an end to dictatorship is truly inspiring. I have been an advocate for freedom and women’s equality, and now witnessing the succeeding generations fight even more fearlessly and confidently gives hope to all of us.
For 44 years, the regime in Iran has employed torture, imprisonment, and execution to suppress the people, attacking every aspect of life and livelihood. They have imposed and implemented legalised, systematic misogyny and gender apartheid. This ongoing struggle fills me with inspiration and hope. The revolution in Iran, centred on the principles of Woman-Life-Freedom, should serve as a beacon of hope for people worldwide, especially women. Our interconnectedness means that the success of the revolution in Iran will have a profound impact on the region and the world.