Representation Through Humiliation

2/22/2005

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

First post in the day long event focusing on Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi.

Mojtaba Saminejad
Saminejad was released on 27 January after almost three months in Iranian prison. He has been charged by the Tehran prosecutor's office and is due to be tried in the coming months. It is undetermined what crime has been alleged and what bail, if any, he has had to pay. But know that he has done nothing wrong other than express his opinions in a subtle, nonviolent manner.


Arash Sigarchi
Sigarchi was arrested on January 17, after being summoned to the intelligence ministry in the city of Rashat, Iran. He has been held at Rashat's Lakan Prison where he has been denied the right to see a lawyer and bail has been set at 200 million rials (about $25,000 U.S.). The authorities have also put pressure on his mother to deny that her son has been arrested.

His weblog had been banned by authorities in Iran for speaking out against recent arrests of bloggers and is inaccessible within the country. In addition to his blog, he is the editor of the daily Gylan Emroz.

On August 27, 2004 he was imprisoned for several days for an article, illustrated with photographs, of a rally in Tehran by families of prisoners who were executed in 1989.

Nearly 20 Iranian bloggers and cyberjournalists have been arrested over the past three months in a crackdown against the online press. Apart from Sigarchi, another weblogger.

At the start of January, Tehran's prosecutor-general, Said Mortazavi, ordered Internet Service Providers to block the main weblog services - Orkut, Nedstat, Blogspot, Persianblog, Blogrolling and others. Iranian Internet-users are now almost entirely cut off from the blogsphere.

Please join us in condemning this continued oppression by the Iranian government and in calling on those countries taking part in the World Summit on the Information Society to officially condemn these repeated breaches of freedom of expression. Iran is due to send a delegation to the upcoming preparatory meeting in Geneva next month.



Contact
If you are in the United States, contact either the Representative at the Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy or the Ambassador to Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. (Iran has no embassy in the United States.) Here is the contact information.

Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif
Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
622 Third Ave. New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 687-2020 / Fax: (212) 867-7086
E-mail: Email the ambassador

Iranian Representative
Embassy of Pakistan
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20007
Email the Interests Section

If you are outside the U.S., you can contact either the Permanent Representative to the United Nations or the Iranian ambassador in your own country.

In your letter, you should be respectful (remember you are writing to a diplomat, not a fellow blogger.) Make reference to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Iran is acting in defiance of this global standard. And write often! Keep on top of these stories and let your voices be heard. Keep the pressure on.

Sample Letter
(Remember: This letter is just a sample! The more personal your letter, the more effective it wil be.)

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Dear Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif,

I am a concerned blogger writing to you, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in response to the Iranian government's recent decision to begin jailing bloggers who expressed disagreement with their policies. I was appalled to hear that two bloggers in specific, Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi, are currently being tortured in Iranian prisons. I'm sure you are aware that this is against the global standard set by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every human being is entitled to his or her own opinions, and location or political persuasion should have no effect on those, the most basic of human rights. I'm calling on you to speak up and end this madness immediately. How many more journalists will be tortured before something is done about it? Your actions will decide. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
GreenEggs,
Proprietor of Daily Fry (http://dailyfry.blogspot.com/)
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The contents of this post (with the exception of my sample letter) are lifted almost directly from the Commitee to Protect Bloggers' website. It is done so in hopes that their extremely comprhensive information will reach more people. Original posts and more links are to follow.