Report for 13 January Protest Action to Stop the Execution of Zanyar & Loghman Moradi
On 13 January 2013, despite a misty, cold, and overcast day, tens of activists in Washington DC joined hand-in-hand across the political spectrum to demand a stop to the imminent executions of Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, and several others at risk of imminent execution. At 1:00pm in front of the offices of the Islamic regime, we put the finishing touches on our large posters of Zanyar & Loghman, and then launched into the reading of the opening statement, which laid out the purpose and demands of the action. The opening statement appears below this summary. Shirin Nariman of the Women’s Alliance for Change in Iran gave a statement on reaching out to state representatives to urge them to speak out on human rights issues in Iran Left Unity also gave a statement demanding a halt to the execution of Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, and a halt to all executions in Iran and worldwide; they also called for the release of all political prisoners, both those in Iran, and those in the Unites States, like Mumia Abu-Jamal. During the open microphone period, local activist Saeed Salehinia gave a statement on behalf of the Worker Communist Party of Iran encouraging broad outreach to mainstream American people to raise awareness of the human rights crisis in Iran. We then placed a call to Eqbal Moradi, father of Zanyar Moradi, to share the support in Washington DC for his son Zanyar, his nephew Loghman, and their entire family and loved ones. We raised our voice with his outside the regime offices to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Zanyar and Loghman, and the release of all political prisoners in Iran. We ended the call to the father of Zanyar with loud chants in protest against execution in Iran, and demands to free all political prisoners in Iran. The day’s favorite chant seemed to be “They say death row, we say HELL NO!” The list of chants we shouted appears below this summary. The call with the father of Zanyar Moradi at the demonstration is here: Kurdistan TV, along with journalist Rahim Rashidi, covered the protest action. Several local activists gave interviews on camera in support of Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, and other political prisoners in Iran. We finished the action with a closing statement by Maria Rohaly of Mission Free Iran, articulating the resolutions of the action: CLOSING STATEMENT:These murderers have no other means of countering the rising waves of revolutionary feeling in Iran. Executions are still the only measure at their disposal to terrorize and repress the society, and even here, as we have shown them before, we can stop them from killing our brothers and sisters.We have gathered here today to do just this. We – all of us who have come together today – can and must do this… we need to join hands and unite to put an end to executions all together and at the same time free all political prisoners. We must join hands not only to do this, but to rid ourselves, and the whole world, from this shame of humanity, the Islamic Republic regime. Today we loudly declare that: 1- The execution verdicts against Zanyar & Loghman Moradi, as well as those against Abdolreza Ghanbari, Habibollah Golparipour, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, Hamid Ghasemi-Shall, Ahmad Reza Hashempour, Zeinab Jalalian, Gholamreza Khosravi, Javad Lari, Habibollah Latifi, Shirko Moarefi, and many, many others, should be immediately discarded. 2- Execution is murder by the state and should be abolished in Iran and worldwide. 4- We use this opportunity to demand immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. 5- Freedom of thought, speech and faith or non-belief are universal human rights. They belong to us, and violations of our rights are crimes against humanity. 6- The Islamic Republic of Iran’s leaders should be prosecuted and punished in an international court on charges of crimes against humanity, including the execution of tens of thousands of people. Not one more execution. Freedom for all political prisoners. No to sharia law. Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran. After closing the action, the regime’s office was plastered with a large poster of Zanyar & Loghman Moradi: Activists then proceeded to march to Georgetown carrying more large posters of Zanyar & Loghman, and handed out flyers along the way. Despite the misty drizzle, people were very interested in the posters, and were receptive to learning more about the human rights situation in Iran. Many people on the street were aware of the human rights crisis in Iran, and expressed their sympathy for Zanyar & Loghman, and support for human rights more broadly in Iran. A Chinese woman passing quietly by on the sidewalk murmured a barely audible “Good luck to you,” and disappeared into the mist and crowds. An American woman, leaning out of a second-storey window above a shop, noticed the large pictures of Zanyar and Loghman, and asked us what we were protesting. When we explained, she expressed sincere support and asked us where she could learn more. We reached the corner of M Street and Wisconsin, where we stood handing out flyers and talking to people about Zanyar, Loghman, and human rights in Iran. We also read out a statement on the situation in Iran, and what American people can do to support Iranian people (statement appears below the summary). There was a lot of interest expressed by the public in hearing the human side of the story of Iran, which has not been much in the media since the 2009 revolutionary uprising and the campaign to save Sakineh Ashtiani. Memorably, two of the activists who had protested at the regime offices, but had been unable to join the march, suddenly appeared in their car at the intersection where we were standing. While waiting for the light to change, they opened the car windows and doors and led animated protest chants from the gridlocked intersection, to which we enthusiastically responded in kind. Needless to say, the chant “They say death row, we say HELL NO!” featured prominently in this exchange. Once we ran out of flyers, we marched back up to the regime offices with our posters of Zanyar & Loghman held high, then closed our action for the day. We thank everyone who came out to join hands to defend Zanyar and Loghman, and to defend all political prisoners and those at risk for execution in Iran. In so doing, we defended all humanity all over the world. We also thank all of the good people we met today who expressed their support and who stand with people in Iran to defend human rights, freedom, and equality. OPENING STATEMENT: We are gathered here today in defense of 2 young men, Zanyar & Loghman Moradi, political prisoners in Iran who are at imminent risk of execution. Zanyar and Loghman Moradi are two young men who are being detained as political prisoners in Iran. They were arrested in Marivan during the period of popular uprising in 2009, respectively on 1 August and 17 October. During the first 9 months of their illegal detention under the authority of the Ministry of Intelligence, no charges of murder were brought against them. However, Loghman and Zanyar were eventually forced to “confess” to allegations of murder after being tortured for a period of 25 days and threatened with rape. Both of these young men men are denied access to adequate medical treatment. Both of them are at imminent risk of execution. Eqbal Moradi, father of Zanyar Moradi, has sad, “I request from all human rights organizations and the public conscience to prevent the execution of my son on these baseless charges in any possible way. His mother and I have been forced to leave Iran because of our activities and cannot do anything for him. Our hope lies with the efforts of the humane society and humanitarians in preventing this execution.” Osman Moradi, Loghman’s father, said, “During Loghman’s first nine months inside the Intelligence Office Prison, there was no mention of a murder charge in his case file. But they took him to the Intelligence Ministry again and kept him there for 25 days. He was tortured and abused to the point where he admitted to the murder; I mean that he accepted it in order to free himself of those conditions. It took them 17 months to get that confession out of him.” The Islamic Republic can execute Zanyar and Loghman at any time, but we, the international humane front, have a role to play in preventing their murder by the regime. Their parents, friends, and family members have called on the world for help to save their lives. We in Washington DC, right here in front of the butchers’ door, tell Zanyar, Loghman and their loved ones that we feel their pain and enormous grief. We want them to know that they are not alone in their sorrow and anguish. We stand with them, and against the murderers of the Iranian people. Today, we demand an immediate halt to any threat of execution of Zanyar and Loghman Moradi. And we demand that all execution sentences be lifted, including those against political prisoners Abdolreza Ghanbari, Habibollah Golparipour, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, Hamid Ghasemi-Shall, Ahmad Reza Hashempour, Zeinab Jalalian, Gholamreza Khosravi, Javad Lari, Habibollah Latifi, Shirko Moarefi, and many others. We demand the immediate and unconditional of all political prisoners in Iran. We demand an immediate halt to all execution in Iran. CHANTS: Stop the killing! Stop the violence! Peoples’ voices won’t be silenced! 1-2-3-4 Dictator! Out the door! 5-6-7-8 No more killing! No more rape! Free all political prisoners in Iran! Free Zanyar Moradi now! Free Loghman Moradi now! Free Abdolreza Ghanbari now! Free Habib Golparipour now! Free Amir Hekmati now! Free Hamid Ghasemi now! Free Zeinab Jalalian now! Free Gholamreza Khosravi now! Free Javad Lari now! Free Habibollah Latifi now! Free Shirko Moarefi now! No more killing in Iran! Stop execution in Iran! They say death row – we say hell no! Freedom for Iran! Human rights for Iran! Yes to democracy! No to theocracy! Zendaniye siasi azaaaaaaad bayad gardad Khamenei ghatele velayatesh batele Marg bar jomhuriye eslami Marg bar khamenei FREEDOM for Iran! Human rights for Iran! Gender equality in Iran! STATEMENT READ IN GEORGETOWN, M ST. & WISCONSIN: We are here today to share with you our deep concern for the appalling human rights situation in Iran, particularly the Islamic Republic’s use of execution, rape and torture to physically silence or eliminate hundreds of individuals, and to terrorize into silence 75 million people in Iran. Iran executes the most people per capita in the world. There are currently several people facing imminent execution for alleged political affiliations, including Zanyar and Loghman Moradi. Zanyar was arrested at the age of 17, while Loghman was only 24. They were arrested during the 2009 post-election unrest, respectively on 1 August 2009 and 17 October 2009 in Marivan. During the first 9 months of their detention, no charges of murder were brought against them. They were forced to “confess” to allegations of murder after being tortured for a period of 25 days and threatened with rape. Both are denied access to adequate medical treatment. The Islamic Republic has executed over 600 people between December 2010 and November 2011. In the first month of 2012, there were more than 50 executions; more than 500 executions of human beings in Iran were recorded in all of 2012. These are only those that have been recorded, and do not capture those that were implemented in secret, or killings under torture of political prisoners in detention. It is time to oppose the non-stop slaughter of Iranian people by the regime in Iran. We urge people here in Washington and around the world to oppose the Islamic Republic regime’s daily acts of political imprisonment, torture, rape and execution of people in Iran. A regime that resorts to these methods to maintain its power has no legitimacy, as millions of Iranian protesters in the streets of Tehran and other cities declared to the world in 2009. The Islamic Republic’s embassies and offices should be closed in the firmest possible gesture of diplomatic sanctions. The regime in Iran is not a legitimate government, and no one should treat it as such. Those members of the Islamic Republic responsible for over 30 years of systematic and widespread rape, torture, stoning and execution in Iran should be tried in international court for their crimes against humanity. Withdrawing international recognition of this regime is the first step governments can take down the road toward justice for people in Iran. Down with Islamic Republic of Iran! Free all political prisoners in Iran! Not one more execution in Iran! Freedom for Iran! Human rights for Iran! 3- We strongly condemn the Islamic Republic for its barbaric implementation of execution, torture, rape, and its enforcement of sharia & qesas laws. We call upon all international institutions as well as the United Nations and the European Union to strongly condemn the Islamic Republic and demand that the execution verdicts of Zanyar & Loghman Moradi be overturned, as well as the verdicts of all others condemned to execution.