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Letter for Abdolreza Ghanbari

Please write to the following Iranian authorities regarding Abdolreza Ghanbari's case and asking for his sentence to be overturned and a new, impartial trial to be held, with access to legal counsel and protection from coerced confessions. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.


Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani

Bureau of International Affairs, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com
Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.


Your Excellency,

I am writing to you regarding the case of Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 42-year old teacher from Ghiamdasht, in Varamin, sentenced to death on charges of Mohareb based on his supposed crime of chanting "Death to the dictator" during the 2009 Ashura protests.

In his trial, Ghanbari was denied access to legal counsel and was unable to present a defense with the aid of an attorney. The right to a fair trial is provided under Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Abdolreza Ghanbari is guaranteed a fair and public trial, examination of witnesses against him, and is protected from having to falsely testify or confess to the charges against him. Iran is a signatory to both treaties and must fulfill its obligations under international law by granting Ghanbari a fair trial with legal representation.

Furthermore, there is evidence that Ghanbari may have been subjected to torture during his pre-trial detention in Ward 2-A of Evin. Torture is a violation of the UDHR, as stated by Article 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." This is also guaranteed by Article 7 of the ICCPR.

Finally, in countries that still use the death penalty as an punishment, it may only be imposed "for the most serious crimes," according to Article 6 of the ICCPR.

Given the above, I respectfully request the following for Abdolreza Ghanbari's case:

- for his death sentence to be immediately overturned, and any planned execution to be halted;
- any charges solely of participation in public protests to be dropped;
- that he be granted a new trial as regards any remaining charges, with access to legal counsel, a public hearing by an impartial tribunal and protection from torture or coerced confessions as laid out in the ICCPR and UDHR.

Yours sincerely,

Hossein Khezri



Also written as:
Hossein Khazri, Hossein Khazari
Age: 28
Location: An unannounced location, formerly Oromiyeh Prison
Date condemned: Announced 11 January 2010
Charge: Moharabeh, due to membership in Kurdish opposition groups.

January 15 After days of speculation about his safety, multiple sites are reporting this morning that Hossein Khezri was executed at Oromiyeh Prison this morning. It is important to note that, while a Kurdish political prisoner was executed at Oromiyeh, it has not been confirmed to be Khezri.

January 13 Hossein Khezri's family is still unable to find information about his whereabouts or condition. Authorities have told them simply that he was moved to Tehran for the completion of his sentence. They fear he may have been secretly executed.

January 6 Hossein Khezri's brother and other family members were able to visit him in Oromiyeh Prison yesterday. According to an interview, it was staged as a final visit and prison authorities told them that he will be moved and "this is the last time you will ever see him." The family is, of course, concerned that Mr. Khezri is in immediate danger of execution.

January 2, 2011 Hossein Khezri has been removed from Oromiyeh Prison agents from the Intelligence Ministry. He is considered in extreme danger of imminent execution. Although the exact reason for his cell extraction is not known, this is typical before a scheduled execution.

November 17 The Supreme Court has issued a memo to Oromiyeh Prison officials ordering Hossein Khezri's execution. The enforcement unit of the prison has asked for permission to carry out the order. He is in imminent danger. Furthermore, his attorney resigned under suspicious circumstances this morning.

Mr. Khezri has formally recognized the international human rights community as his attorneys, and we all have a duty to act on his behalf.

In his letter, Khezri also detailed his treatment at the hands of the authorities: . I was told that I must appear on camera and read off the confessions they have written for me and deny that I had been mistreated in any way. I was told if I cooperate, they may lessen the charges and reduce the punishment…whenever my father attempted to find out any information about me, he was given confusing and conflicting answers.

November 19 Amnesty International has issued an urgent action statement (PDF) for Hossein Khezri. Amnesty urges people to write to the Iranian authorities and appeal for Khezri's life.

November 7 Hossein Khezri has written a letter to human rights organizations and activists, calling on them to share the details of his case with the international community. In the letter, he pleas for the international community's help in securing him a fair and open trial and has "formally recognized" all concerned activists as his lawyers. Mr. Khezri asks that the United Nations takes on his case.

To fulfill Mr. Khezri's wishes, we have compiled a sample letter to be send to the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

October 10 In an interview with a family member, it was reported today that Hossein Khezri's appeals have been exhausted, and he is considered to be in imminent danger of execution. The interview provided more information about Mr. Khezri's condition and the abuse he has suffered at the hands of the Islamic Republic.

According to the interview, Mr. Khezri did not receive adequate legal representation, as guaranteed by UN conventions. The judicial proceedings erroneously called a "trial" by the Islamic Republic consisted of a 7-or-8-minute appearance in court when the verdict was read. Although his lawyer was present in court at this time, Mr. Khezri was not permitted a defense statement or any other form of adequate legal representation.

Mr. Khezri was in solitary confinement for 7 months. Previously, he had been held by the Intelligence Ministry for a month and by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for 6 months. He was brutally interrogated and tortured in both detention centers. At one point, interrogators bound Mr. Khezri's feet and hands, blindfolded him, and forced him to sign his "confession." The IRGC and Intelligence Ministry have a number of detention centers that are not known to the public. In many cases, political prisoners and others are held in these facilities and their families cannot receive any information about them.

Mr. Khezri is charged with Moharabeh due to an alleged membership in Kurdish opposition parties.

Mr. Khezri was subjected to torture during the early months of his detention, which is an abhorrent violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. The Islamic Republic is also choosing to ignore another important responsibility, the one that states any nation still resorting to execution as a barbaric method of punishment is to reserve the practice only for the most extreme cases. Iran is violating Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by condemning Hossein Khezri to death for membership in Kurdish opposition groups.

Likely as a result of his torture and the deplorable conditions in prison, Hossein has developed serious medical problems. On 7 May, Iran Human Rights Voice reported that he is being denied medical treatment and has lost nearly 25% of the vision in his right eye. Hossein Khezri is also being denied access to legal representation. Unbelievably, Iran is a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which declares, "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him." The ICCPR also protects the right to legal representation.

Letter for Mohammad-Amin Valian

Please write to the following Iranian authorities regarding Mohammad-Amin Valian's case and asking for his sentence to be overturned and a new, impartial trial to be held, with access to legal counsel and protection from coerced confessions. A sample letter you can use, or modify, follows.


Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani

Bureau of International Affairs, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com
Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.


Your Excellency:

I am writing to you regarding the case of Mohammad-Amin Valian, a 20-year old student activist from Damaghan Science University, sentenced to death on charges of Mohareb including conspiracy to undermine national security, spreading propaganda, and insulting high government officials. This death sentence was recently upheld under appeal. His supposed crimes include chanting "Death to the dictator"; statements released by the Central Council of Islamic Association of Damghan Science University, of which he is a member; arranging debates between two marginal election candidates at the university; and throwing rocks at an Ashura (27 December 2009) protest.

Mohammad-Amin Valian was, at the mass "show trial" where he was sentenced, denied legal counsel and a "fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal", both of which are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Iran is a signatory to this treaty as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which protects defendants from the coerced confessions (including torture) and false testimony which form the basis for such "show trials".

Given the above, I respectfully request the following steps be taken in Mohammad-Amin Valian's case:

- for his death sentence to be immediately overturned, and any planned execution to be halted;
- any charges solely of participation in public protests to be dropped;
- that he be granted a new trial as regards any remaining charges, with access to legal counsel, a public hearing by an impartial tribunal and protection from torture or coerced confessions as laid out in the ICCPR and UDHR.

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad-Amin Valian


Age: 20
Location: Undisclosed detention center in Tehran
Charge:Mohareb, conspiracy to undermine national security, spreading propaganda, insulting high government officials
Date condemned: February 2010

We have assembled Contact information and a Sample Letter to Iranian officials regarding Mohammad-Amin Valian's case.

Mohammad-Amin Valian is a 20-year old student activist from Damaghan Science University. He was charged with conspiracy to undermine national security, spreading propaganda, and insulting high government officials and sentenced to death as Mohareb, a religious charge (meaning "warring against God") used by the regime to execute many political and human rights activists. The charge is being used increasingly to condemn post-election protesters and members of the peaceful Green movement. Among his supposed crimes are chanting "Death to the dictator;" statements released by the Central Council of Islamic Association of Damghan Science University, of which he is a member; and arranging debates between two marginal election candidates at the university. The evidence used against him included pictures of him throwing rocks at an Ashura (27 December 2009) protest.

Mohammad-Amin Valian was denied legal counsel, a violation of Article 14(b) and (d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Instead, he was tried as part of a mass show-trial with sixteen other defendants. An account of his trial was reported on 3 February. During the trial, Valian said he watched "high ranking reformists" on trial during his time in detention. This alone is evidence of pressure or potentially brainwashing and torture in an attempt to control his statement. As of 9 February, his family was unaware of his whereabouts, being told only that Amin was detained in an "exceptional holding center," thought to be an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-run secret facility. Human Rights Activists in Iran reported on 4 March that Mohammad-Amin Valian has not had any contact with his family since the arrest.

ICCPR Article 6(2) states that the death penalty is only to be imposed for the most severe crimes, if at all. Furthermore, Article 14(5) allows for convicted persons to have their sentences reviewed by a higher court. However, the sham trials employed by the Islamic Republic violate the right to a "fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal," as granted by Article 14(1) and Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The ICCPR protects defendants from coerced confessions and false testimony, Article 14(3)(g). Torture violates Article 5 of the UDHR, as well as Article 7 and Article 10(1) of the ICCPR. These declarations set the norm for international law, and Iran is a signatory of both.

The Green Voice of Freedom blog has helpful ideas to utilize social networking to get the word out about Mohammad-Amin Valian. On March 3, United4Iran also urged people to take action, including changing userpictures on social networking sites; blogging and sharing Mohammad-Amin Valian's story online; and contacting Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi and any other Islamic Regime officials.

Both Green Voice of Freedom and United4Iran are urging anyone with access to Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi to contact him and "inform him of the death sentence and how his statements are being misused by judicial authorities and to cause him to intervene in the matter, in order to prevent further disgrace and shame to the clerical rule in Iran." His website may be accessed here. Shirazi previously issued a statement calling for "all political parties believing in Islam" to condemn the Ashura protesters.

We have assembled Contact information and a Sample Letter to Iranian officials regarding Mohammad-Amin Valian's case. The Greenmail Campaign is an excellent resource and contains a form which sends email to an Iranian Embassy, Consular Office or Commission on your behalf.

Kaleme reported, on 2 March, the student who denounced Valian in Damghan University’s Student Basiji publication is now petitioning for the annulment of his execution sentence.

On March 3 the Green Voice of Freedom reported Ayatollah Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, a senior cleric and brother-in-law of Judiciary head Sadegh Larijani, is lobbying for Valian's execution to be halted. The same day, Bloggers Against the Death Penalty released a statement calling on the international community to pressure the Iranian government to reverse the unjust sentences given to Valian and other defendants linked to the post-election protests in Iran.

On March 5, the US State Department urged Iran to free Mohammed-Amin Valian in a statement reading, in part, "The United States notes with great concern reports the Iranian courts have upheld a death sentence for 20-year-old university student Mohammad Amin Valian...We find this disproportionate punishment deplorable and urge his immediate release. Furthermore, we join the international community in calling on Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners."

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