Letter to the Editor Regarding Imminent Execution of 6 Political Prisoners

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Raising awareness about political prisoners is difficult in a time where media attention seems to quickly divert from human rights abuses. We urge you to write to the editors of major world newspapers and to your local paper. We have included contact information for some of the world's largest newspapers.

A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.


To the Editor:

I am writing regarding the cases of six political prisoners on death row in Iran, thought to be in danger of imminent execution. They were arrested and sentenced to death for participation in public protests against the Iranian regime. On August 1 it was announced that their death sentences, upheld by the Appeals Court, had been sent to the Enforcement Division. Their executions could happen at any time.

Many or all of these prisoners were denied access to legal counsel and a fair trial, and were likely subjected to physical and psychological torture in the attempt to obtain a coerced confession. Jafar Kazemi's wife has described his brutal treatment in prison in a letter to the United Nations.

Jafar Kazemi was arrested on September 18, 2009 in connection with the post-election protests and, though not accused of any violent act, was sentenced to death as Moharebeh and for “propaganda about the system” due to his participation in Qods protests that day and his son’s involvement with the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MKO, PMOI, or MEK). He was harshly interrogated and pressured in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison to make a televised confession, which he refused to do. Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaei was also arrested on September 18, 2009 and sentenced to death as Moharebeh for alleged connections with MEK and propaganda against the Iranian government.

Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 42-year old teacher, was sentenced to death on charges of Moharebeh based on his supposed crime of chanting "Death to the dictator" during the December 27, 2009 Ashura protests against the Iranian regime. Moharabeh is a political charge dressed as a religious offense and is usually translated as “armed war against the state” or against God. Ahmad Daneshpour and his son, Mohsen, were also arrested after the Ashura protests and are sentenced to death for alleged ties with MEK.

Ali Saremi, age 62, has been arrested at least four times in the last 30 years, and was sentenced to death on 29 December 2009 after being detained for 28 months. Mr. Saremi is also being denied proper medical treatment and access to his necessary medications.

Though five of the six were arrested following post-election protests, the regime claims they are all connected with the People's Mujahedin of Iran. All six are likely to be the latest victims of the regime’s attempt to reassert its authority.

Jafar Kazemi’s lawyer, Nasim Ghanavi, said her client’s appeal was never seriously considered and the charges against him have no merit. When Mr. Kazemi’s family met with the Minister of Justice, he told them that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the only one who can legally pardon Mr. Kazemi.

We must conclude that Iran’s Supreme Leader is solely responsible for the death sentences of political prisoners. The Iranian regime continues to use the "Moharebeh" sentence against these prisoners, even when the charges have no basis. We urge world citizens, leaders and human rights organizations to unite in speaking out in opposition to these crimes against humanity.

Sincerely,

Your name


United States Newspapers

The Boston Globe: letter@globe.com

The Chicago Tribune: ctc-tribletter@tribune.com

The Christian Science Monitor: letters@csmonitor.com

The Los Angeles Times: letters@latimes.com

The New York Post: letters@nypost.com

The New York Times: letters@nytimes.com

Philadelphia Inquirer: inquirer.letters@phillynews.com

The Washington Post: letters@washpost.com

The Washington Times: yourletters@washingtontimes.com

Canadian Newspapers

Globe and Mail: letters@globeandmail.ca

Macleans: letters@macleans.ca

The Montreal Gazette: letters@thegazette.southam.ca

The Ottawa Citizen: letters@thecitizen.canwest.com

The Toronto Star: lettertoed@thestar.ca

The Ottawa Citizen: letters@thecitizen.canwest.com

The Vancouver Sun: sunletters@vancouversun.com

UK Newspapers

The Daily Telegraph: dletters@telegraph.co.uk

The Economist: letters@economist.com

The Guardian: letters@guardian.co.uk

The Independent: letters@independent.co.uk

The Observer: editor@observer.co.uk

The Times Online: online.editor@timesonline.co.uk

Other World Newspapers

The Australian: letters@theaustralian.com.au

Belfast Telegraph: writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

France24: webdesk@france24.com

The Hindu: letters@thehindu.co.in

The Irish Times: lettersed@irishtimes.com

Japan Times: via web.

News Letter (Northern Ireland): darwin.templeton@jpress.co.uk

Ovi Magazine (Finland): thanos@ovimagazine.com

Prima News (Russia, focusing on human rights): prima@prima-news.ru

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): letters@smh.com.au


Please feel free to leave additional newspaper Letters to the Editor contacts in the comments section.