Open Letter to Amnesty International in Support of Mansour Osanlou, Behrouz Javid Tehrani and Hossein Shahriaripublished on Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I am an Iranian/Canadian lawyer and a pro-democracy activist, writing to you from Toronto, Canada. I admire the work Amnesty International does to support political activists and prisoners, and have been involved with the Urgent Action Campaign for many years.
I am also very much involved with the pro-democracy movement in Iran, and am in close contact with many dissidents and political activists both inside and outside of Iran.
I am writing to you because of my grave concern for the health and well being of three political prisoners, which stems from some recent information that has come out of Iran in recent days. In particular I am concerned about Mr. Mansour Osanlou, Mr. Behrouz Javid Tehrani and Mr. Hossein Shahriari.
As you are aware Mr. Mansour Osanlou was the president of the International Transport Workers Federation, (affiliated Vahed Syndicate The Tehran Bus Workers Union). He was arrested and sentenced to five (5) years of imprisonment on vague charges of “propaganda against the regime and acting against national security” in July of 2007.
According to recent news reports from Azarmehr Women’s Organization Mr. Osanlou is currently being held in the common ward of Section one (1) of the notorious Rajaishahr (Gohardasht) Prison.
According to this news report the prison conditions of this section are extremely poor. Very little food is given to prisoners, there are about six (6) prisoners per each small cell and the cells are searched on a regular basis and the personal belongings of the prisoners are confiscated. It must also be noted that the majority of prisoners in this Section are those who have been convicted of committing serious criminal offenses including robbery and murder. This is no place for an activist like Mr. Osanlou and I urge Amnesty International to issue a new statement on behalf of Mr. Osanlou and his current situation and to ask for his immediate and unconditional release.
Another political prisoner who is currently in the common ward of the Section One of Rajaishahr Prison is Mr. Behrouz Javid Tehrani. As you may be aware Mr. Tehrani was first arrested during the July 1999 pro-democracy student demonstrations, and has spent most of the past 10 years in Islamic Regime prisons. However despite the difficult conditions he faces he has continued his pro-democracy activities, which has led to his prison sentence increasing indefinitely.
It comes as a surprise that Amnesty International has never issued a statement in support of Mr. Tehrani. This has been a cause of great disappointment and concern for many activists who see Mr. Tehrani as one of the symbols’ of the pro-democracy movement in Iran.
I strongly urge Amnesty International to issue a statement on behalf of Mr. Tehrani and to ask for his immediate and unconditional release.
I would finally like to draw your attention to the case of Mr. Hossein Shahriari, an executive member of the PanIranist Party in Iran, who is currently serving a 1.5 year long prison sentence in Rajaishahr (Gohardasht) Prison.
Mr. Shahriari is 73 years old and in very poor health condition. He was convicted of “propaganda against the Regime and being a member of an anti-Regime organization” none of which are internationally recognized criminal offenses. Mr. Shahriari is currently in Section four (4) of the Rajaishahr Prison, he does not have a proper place to sleep and is forced to sleep on the cell floor with a number of other prisoners. He is also being held among individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses.
Mr. Shahriari is a prisoner of conscience who has been imprisoned solely because of his political beliefs. I urge Amnesty International to issue a statement on behalf of Mr. Shahriari and to ask for his immediate and unconditional release. Given Mr. Shahriari’s age and health condition he must be released immediately.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response regarding the above mentioned matters.