Middle East Matters Organization
Middle East Matters is committed to amplifying the stories of Middle Eastern people. Our mission is to spread awareness and educate people on the political and social issues of this region.
Started 3 petitions
Stop the Execution of Mohammad Reza
He was sentenced to death as a child after an unfair trial. We must act now to save his life. Aged only 15, Mohammad Reza Haddadi was sentenced to death in 2004. His execution has been scheduled and cancelled six times – the last time halted due to global outrage. He’s now spent 16 years – much of his youth – in excruciating anxiety and in constant trauma about his impending execution. When he was first arrested, Mohammad Reza confessed to murder during interrogations. But he soon retracted this statement, saying he only confessed after his two co-defendants coerced him. Later, the co-defendants also withdrew their earlier statements implicating Mohammad in the crime. They are now serving prison sentences for murder. Yet Mohammad Reza still faces execution. This is unjust. His case shows Iran’s shameful use of the death penalty against individuals under 18 years of age, which is a violation of international human rights law. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a signatory to, the Iranian authorities have an obligation to not issue the death sentence for offenses committed under the age of 18. However, Iran has executed at least 12 child offenders since the start of 2018 while at least 90 are currently sitting on death row awaiting their punishment. We, the undersigned, urge the United Nations, the European Union, and the rest of the international community to speak up against the Iranian government's outrageous executions of minors. We urge the Iranian government to immediately halt the execution of all prisoners especially those arrested under the age of 18 and grant them fair and just trials.
Release All Political Prisoners in Iran During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Twelve political prisoners have recently tested positive for COVID-19 at Iran's Evin Prison's Ward 8. Only one has been hospitalized, and the rest, despite several prisoners having severe underlying health conditions, have not received proper medical care. Many prisoners have reportedly displayed symptoms; however, only 17 prisoners were recently tested. In addition to the lack of testing, there is no separation between prisoners displaying symptoms and the larger prison population; therefore, there is grave concern that a large number of prisoners may have contracted the virus. In March 2020, Iran temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners; however, political prisoners were largely left out. Following this mass release, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said: "only those serving sentences of less than five years had been freed, while prisoners charged with heavier sentences and those linked to participation in anti-government protests remained in jail." One of these prisoners is Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist who is currently serving a 38-year prison sentence largely for her work defending numerous activists. On August 11, 2020, Sotoudeh began her second hunger strike in less than six months to demand the release of political prisoners threatened by the COVID-19 virus. Sotoudeh's hunger strike follows a lack of response from the judicial authorities to several letters she had written about poor conditions surrounding political prisoners, Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 11, 2020. As of August 14, Iran had recorded over 19,000 COVID-19 deaths, already the highest figure in the Middle East. Families of political prisoners have voiced great concern over poor conditions and lack of adequate testing in Iran's prisons. According to Amnesty International, "many of Iran's prisons have detention conditions that fall far short of international standards, including overcrowding, poor ventilation, limited hot water during the winter season, inadequate food, insufficient beds, and insect infestations." In July, Amnesty International obtained four leaked letters sent by senior officials responsible for managing Iran's prisons to the Ministry of Health that show the Iranian government has repeatedly ignored pleas to control the spread of COVID-19 and treat infected prisoners. We, the undersigned, urge the United Nations, the European Union, and the rest of the international community to speak up against the Iranian government's cruel and unfair treatment of prisoners, especially during a global pandemic. We urge the Iranian government to immediately release all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders, environmental activists, religious minorities, and those detained for peacefully taking part in protests.
Stop the Execution of Three Iranian Protesters
The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to execute three young men for participating in the November 2019 demonstrations, which sparked after the government increased fuel prices by almost 300%. The men were tried in court on charges of "participating in destruction” and “setting fire to properties as a means of attacking the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran" and sentenced to death. Amirhossein Moradi: Amirhossein Moradi, 25, was arrested on November 19th, 2019 and held for a week in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center in Tehran before being transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison for a month He was held in prolonged solitary confinement and interrogated without a lawyer present. He has said that he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings, electric shock treatment, and an interrogator standing on his chest. He has said he only “confessed” after his interrogators promised to provide him with medical treatment for the injuries he sustained, which they later refused. Amirhossein Moradi’s “confession”, which was broadcast in a propaganda video on state television days before their trial took place, was used as evidence to convict them. Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi Mohammad Rajabi, 25, and Saeed Tamjidi, 27, were arrested on December 28th, 2019, and held initially in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center in Tehran. They have also said they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including being kicked, beaten with batons, and hung upside down while repeatedly beaten on their legs and feet. All were subjected to enforced disappearance for weeks after their arrests and denied access to a lawyer during the investigation phase of their case. On November 20th, after hearing about Moradi’s arrest, Rajabi and Tamjidi fled to Turkey and applied for asylum. Antalya Police introduced them to a UN representative who examined their evidence in the presence of an interpreter. The police eventually told them that their request would be processed, but they would have to remain at a camp in Turkey for up to 12 months. On December 28th, despite their asylum applications, they were deported and subsequently arrested in Iran. This came just a few days after Iran’s President returned from a visit to Ankara. Turkey is also responsible for the death sentences of Rajabi and Tamjidi as they knowingly returned these asylees to the country of feared persecution. The judge presiding over their trials is Judge Abolghasem Salavati, also known as the “hanging judge” for imposing outrageous sentences, including the death penalty, lashes, and elongated jail terms, on countless political prisoners. The United States and European Union sanctioned him for violations of human rights and “unfair trials in Iranian Kangaroo courts.” During the hearings, Amir Hossein Moradi repeatedly told the judge that his confessions had been extracted under pressure, threats, and torture and that he did not plead guilty to the original allegations. Follow his long record of outrageous verdicts, the notorious Judge Salavati has sentenced all three to death, flogging, and imprisonment. Mohammad Rajabi was sentenced to death, 10 years in prison and 74 lashes. Amir Hossein Moradi was sentenced to death, 15 years in prison and 74 lashes of the whip. Saeed Tamjidi was sentenced to death, 10 years in prison and 74 lashes of the whip. Protesting and being able to voice one's opinion is a fundamental human right and no one should be imprisoned or executed for it. We, the undersigned, urge the United Nations, the European Union, and the rest of the International community to speak up against the death sentences and unfair trials of Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Saeed Tamjidi. We also urge the Iranian government to immediately halt the execution of these three young men, give their lawyers access to their cases, and investigate torture allegations used to obtain false confessions.