Tag Archives: Iran

A discovery

I discovered a new blog today – Death Penalty News. The author states:

I oppose the death penalty in all cases unconditionally regardless of the method chosen to kill the condemned prisoner.

The blog compiles stories about the death penalty from around the world:

The blog provides action ideas – see the article about Sakineh Mohammadi for ways to speak against her possible execution. In the case of Robert Gattis, who faces a January 20 execution date, two online options are available:

Death Penalty News also identifies resources such as Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned, a book by Defense Attorney Richard Jaffe that will appear in February.

I have subscribed to Death Penalty News and look forward to learning more.

And I have taken action on behalf of Sakineh Mohammadi and Robert Gattis. I invite you to do the same.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

Freedom of expression and association for student leaders

Today’s letter in the Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon focused on two student leaders in Iran: Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat. Amnesty reports that they have been imprisoned simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty notes:

Majid Tavakkoli was arrested and reportedly beaten, after speaking at a university rally in Tehran to mark National Student Day in December 2009.  Behareh Hedayat was arrested later that same month after a video recording of a speech she gave was widely circulated on the internet.

The letter asked for the immediate and unconditional release of Majid Tavakkoli and Behareh Hedayat. It further asked that they should receive access to adequate medical care, including assessment and treatment by an independent specialist outside of prison if necessary. Finally it reminded the Head of Iran’s judiciary of the country’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon.

Find resources for the Write-a-thon, including sample letters to adapt.

Learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international human rights framework.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights

Not the answer in Georgia, not the answer in Iran

I sent a fax tonight to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Georgia. I wrote on behalf of Marcus Ray Johnson. The state has scheduled his execution next Wednesday. He was convicted of raping and murdering Angela Sizemore. His advocates indicate there are reasons to doubt his guilt. Even if there are not, I would still have sent a fax. I do not believe that putting someone to death is the answer. It is an act that tears the soul of society. It inflicts further wounds. As much as we may feast on the act, we are feasting on ourselves. I grieve for Ms. Sizemore; I tremble at what was done to her – an unspeakable violation. I grieve for those who love her. Yet, killing the person convicted of this crime is not the answer.

I sent an email tonight to the Iranian Embassy. I wrote on behalf of Youcef (or Yousef) Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani stands convicted of apostasy. CNN reports that he heads “a network of Christian house churches in Iran” and “could be executed as soon as midnight Wednesday in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert to Islam.” Iran has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 18 of the covenant includes a provision that the “freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief.” On this basis, Iran should halt the execution. But even without the Covenant, capital punishment remains an unacceptable response in this or any situation.

The taking of a life by a state – for whatever reason – is not the answer in Georgia. It is not the answer in Iran. It is simply not the answer.

I faxed. I emailed. Will you join me?

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Human Rights