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Pastor Saeed Abedini to President Trump: “Please help Iranian political prisoners”

Pastor Saeed Abedini to President Trump: “Please help Iranian political prisoners”

After large scale protests have been reported in over a dozen prisons and several rebellions have broken out in prisons across Iran, Pastor Saeed Abedini and a number of other political dissidents wrote a petition to US President Donald Trump.  They proclaimed that the United States should help Iran’s political prisoners by increasing American pressure on the mullah’s regime at this critical time.  They adamantly oppose any sanctions relief offered by the Democrats, claiming that it will do nothing but embolden the terrorist ambitions of the mullah’s regime at the expense of Iran’s political dissidents.   

“On behalf of Iranian Americans who are former political prisoners and have experienced firsthand the torture and the violence of the Iranian mullah’s, we write to urgently request your support for political prisoners in Iran,” the petition reads.  “Based on the information that we received, all prisoners and especially political prisoners are at severe risk of infection and death due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Iranian regime’s systematic mishandling of the health crisis.”

According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “Conditions in Iran’s prisons were dire even before the threat of coronavirus, but activists had become increasingly concerned with the ability of overcrowding to facilitate the spread of coronavirus.”  There are reports that the situation for prisoners “began deteriorating rapidly as coronavirus spread, including floods of raw sewage and rarely functioning water supply.”  According to the petition, many Iranian political prisoners are outraged and have protested against this, yet their pleas have been ignored by the regime:  “In response, the notorious Iranian Revolutionary Guards has attacked, wounded and killed dozens of prisoners, many of whom are prisoners of conscious and some of whom are as old as 80 years old.  In addition, the Iranian regime has executed a number of protesters in order to create fear among the inmates.”  

The petition by the Iranian dissidents added: “As you are aware, Iran’s ruling regime has grossly misreported its COVID-19 cases and engaged in a malicious cover-up of fatalities.  Accurate figures provided by the National Council of Resistance of Iran reveal that the coronavirus death toll is nearly 35,000.   The conditions inside of Iran’s overcrowded prisons are uniquely disturbing.   Many of us can provide first-hand accounts of how the regime uses prison conditions as a method of torture.   Infected prisoners have not been quarantined or isolated.   Eye-witness reports indicate that the prison overcrowding and lack of sanitary essentials has led to high rates of infection.  This is not only inhumane but exacerbates the pandemic both in Iran and across the world.”

Given this, the petition emphasizes that humanitarian and medical assistance should only go to the Iranian people and not the mullah’s regime.  They also stressed that the Trump administration should be applying maximum pressure in order to ensure that political prisoners are released from Iranian prisons.  It should be emphasized that Iran has already released some criminals but to date continues to refuse to release political prisoners due to the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps because the Iranian regime wants the political prisoners to die.  However, the petition stressed that it is the duty of the free world to apply maximum political pressure in order to liberate all prisoners of conscious from the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

As Amnesty International proclaimed, “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing pre-trial detainees and those who may be at particular risk of severe illness or death.”  

 

Author

Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. For 7 years, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Iran, Kurdistan and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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