PRESS RELEASE

Geneva, September 16, 2009 — Iran’s most famous torture victim appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva today to present an appeal, signed by 50 leading Iranian activists, urging U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to lead a call for a U.N. Human Rights Council special session and a commission of inquiry into allegations of Iran’s mass arrest, rape, torture and killing of post-election demonstrators.

 

Ahmed Batebi was imprisoned in 1999 for appearing at a Tehran student demonstration, and tortured for 9 years. The Economist magazine published the iconic photo of Batebi, holding the bloodied t-shirt of his injured friend, on its front cover, making him one of the world’s most famous political prisoners, and provoking retaliatory abuse from the Iranian prison authorities.

Batebi appeared before the Council today together with Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a former Miss Canada who is founding president of Stop Child Executions, a group advocating for children on death row in Iran.

 

Today’s joint appeal follows below.

 

_________________

 

 

Appeal of Iranian Human Rights Defenders
for U.N. Human Rights Council Special Session and
Independent Investigation on Human Rights Violations in Iran

 

16 September 2009

 

Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Dear High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay,

Shocked and anguished by the tyranny, oppression, and gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran since the fraudulent June elections;

Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and the democratic right to participate in genuine elections;

Recalling further that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest and detention,

Reiterating the July 2, 2009 call by Iranian and international human rights activists for the U.N. Secretary General to name a Personal Envoy for Iran to investigate the post-election violence in Iran, to complete his report on the human rights situation in Iran, due at the 64th session of the General Assembly;

We hereby call upon you to lead the United Nations and the international community in convening an urgent and immediate Special Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on the grave violations of international human rights law in Iran since the fraudulent June elections, and, in that context, for the Council to establish an independent, international and impartial commission of inquiry to investigate:

• The complicity of Iran’s senior leadership, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kahmenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in perpetuating massive election fraud, followed by the brutal arrests, beating and killing of peaceful demonstrators by the Basij and other government forces, including the deadly June 20, 2009 shooting of 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan;
• Torture and abuse of defendants following their arrest, with credible reports of rape of women and male detainees by security officials, including the rape and killing of Taraneh Mousavi and the rape of Ebrahim Sharifi;
• Specific allegations of gross abuse raised by Mehdi Karroubi and others concerning the Kahrizak detention center, which have been partially acknowledged by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei;
• The show trials of more than 100 Iranians designed to delegitimize the mass and peaceful protests following the June elections;
• Secret burials of dead protesters in Tehran’s Behesht Zahra cemetery and other locations;

Mindful of the precedent shown by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, when he successfully led the international community in calling for a special session of the Human Rights Council on Darfur, we now look to your moral leadership to give hope to the millions seeking human rights, freedom and justice in Iran.

Sincerely,

Ahmad Batebi, Human Rights Activists in Iran
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Stop Child Executions
Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Former Iranian MP
Professor Payam Akhavan, McGill University Faculty of Law
Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir, Committee for Defense of Political Prisoners
Mina Ahadi, International Committee Against Stoning and Execution
Dr. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Iran Human Rights (www.iranhr.net)
Dr. Saeed Ganji, National Union For Democracy in Iran
Kawa Ahangari, Kurdistan Democratic Party
Lida Sherafatmand, World Citizen Association
Darab Ganji, Organization for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for Iran
Sharif Behruz, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan
J Jonroy Avani, Filmmaker and Activist
Hamed Sepehri, Human Right Committee of Iranian Constitutionalist Party
Sameem Monzaviyan, Stop Discrimination Against Baha’i Students in Iran
Roya Teimouri, Stop Executions Committee
Kazem Alamdari, Society for Human Rights in Iran
Azad Moradian, Society for Human Rights in Iran
Maryam Fakhar, Women’s Freedom Forum
David Etebari, Stop Child Executions
Vanecha Roudbaraki, Artist
Davoud Rastgou, Actor
Mehrtash Rastegar
Cyrus Marvasti
Minoo Homily
Behrooz Nikoo
Pastor Kouroesh Barani
Reza Pardisan
Roxanne Ganji
Hossein Khorram
Soheil Parhizi
Maryam Reissi
Azarin Sadegh
Farnaz Farrokhi
Khosro Chavoshi
Sepideh Rouhani
Aram Khatibi
Fara Askari
Atoosa Shokoueian
Adrian Hjelmslund
Mandana Mehrtash
Shiva Irani
Taraneh Irani
Azarin Sadegh
Benjamin Ramm
Omid Afkhami
Arezou Shokoufandeh
Rofi Bei
Sofia Beiki

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