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Posts tagged ‘Iran’

Amazing Activists

Amazing Activists

Amnesty activists are amazing. And to prove it, we wanted to send you an update on three victories your activism helped us win:

victory-925-3Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience Nasrin Sotoudeh released from prison in Iran! Nasrin, a human rights lawyer, was arrested 3 years ago and sentenced to prison for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty. Amnesty activists took on her case and never gave up on her. Last week she was released and reunited with her family. Welcome home, Nasrin!

victory-925-120-year victory: USA signs historic treaty to end irresponsible arms sales around the world — In April, when the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted at the UN, we pledged that we would demand that the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress sign and ratify this landmark treaty to end the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords and criminal gangs to commit atrocities. Today, we are one step closer: Secretary of State John Kerry signed the treaty this morning. This is the result of decades of dedicated activism from Amnesty members — your work paid off!

victory-925-2Amnesty welcomes a new leader — It’s Steven W Hawkins’ first day as Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director. Steven brings a deep commitment to social justice and grassroots organizing. He chose to come to Amnesty because of you — a vibrant movement of individuals committed to creating a world in which everyone can enjoy all of their human rights. Follow Steven on Twitter @StevenWHawkins!

Thanks for your continued dedication to making the world a better place.

In solidarity,

Cammie Croft
Chief Digital and Communications Officer
Amnesty International USA

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On the Front Lines

She was a 23-year-old physical therapy student who boarded a bus in Delhi last month. Six men locked the door, and savagely raped her. They dumped her naked in the street, and after bravely fighting for her life, she died last weekend.

Across India, people are responding in massive protests to say enough is enough. In India a woman is raped every 22 minutes, and few see justice. Globally, a staggering 7 in 10 women will be physically or sexually abused in their lifetime. This horror in Delhi is the last straw — it’s 2013, and the brutal, venal, global war on women must stop. We can start by drawing the line in India.

3954_India candles_3_200x100

The government is currently accepting public comments. We urgently need both stronger law enforcement and a massive public education program to change the grotesque but common male attitudes that permit violence against women. If 1 million of us join the call for action, we can help make this young woman’s horror the last straw, and the beginning of a new hope:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_indias_war_on_women/?bMPbqab&v=20731

The ringleader of the woman’s rapists coldly says she deserved it because she dared to stand up to him. Blaming the victim and other outrageous attitudes are found across society, including in the police who continually fail to investigate rape. Such views repress women and corrupt men everywhere. Massively funded public education campaigns have radically shifted social behaviour on drunk driving and smoking, and can impact the treatment of women. Tackling the root causes of India’s rape epidemic is vital, alongside better laws and faster legal processes.

Advertising in India is relatively cheap, so a significant funding commitment could blanket airwaves in multiple media markets for a sustained period of time. The ads should target male subcultures where conservative misogyny thrives, directly challenging and shaming those attitudes, ideally using messengers like popular sports figures that carry authority with the audience.

We only have days to influence the official Commission set up to find ways to crack down on India’s wave of sexual violence. If we can show real success in shifting attitudes in India, the model can be applied to other countries. The money spent will more than pay for itself by reducing poverty and promoting development, since treatment and empowerment of women has been identified as one of the greatest single drivers of social and economic progress. Click to send a message directly to the Indian government:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_indias_war_on_women/?bMPbqab&v=20731

>From opposing the stoning of women in Iran, to supporting the reproductive rights of women in Morocco, Uzbekistan and Honduras, to lobbying for real action to counter the growing ‘rape trade’ in trafficked women and girls, our community has been on the front lines of the fight to end the war on women. This new year begins with new resolve in India.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Ricken, Luis, Meredith, Iain, Ian, Marie, Michelle, Alaphia, Allison and the rest of the Avaaz team

In Jail With Her Innocent Clients

Dear Gabriel,

ye2012_nasrin_rcNasrin Sotoudeh has had enough.

One of Iran’s most prominent human rights attorneys, Nasrin is serving a six-year prison sentence for defending political activists and juveniles facing the death penalty.

While Nasrin is in jail, authorities have gone out of their way to harass her husband and children.

LIGHT THE WAY to freedom for prisoners of conscience around the world. Click here to support Amnesty International’s work to defend human rights.

Iranian authorities are doing their utmost to silence the families of political prisoners.

When Nasrin’s husband Reza Khandan wrote a letter protesting her harsh treatment in prison, he was accused of “disturbing public opinion,” detained in Evin Prison overnight and questioned while blindfolded.

When authorities discovered that Nasrin had been using a tissue to write her defense for an upcoming court hearing, they cut off face-to-face visits with her 13-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Nasrin went on a seven-week hunger strike in protest.

But there is hope. The “judicial restrictions” placed on Nasrin’s daughter were removed today after increased public pressure from Amnesty International activists and others, ending Nasrin’s hunger strike.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has denounced Nasrin’s unjust imprisonment, calling her a “sincere colleague and a very courageous Iranian attorney.”

In October, after receiving the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, Nasrin issued the following statement from prison:

Iranian society has never ignored its fundamental rights, but has paid heavily in doing so. They have never stopped their efforts because of arrest, incarceration, [or] judicial prosecution. I am proud to defend each and every one of [my] cases. I am glad and satisfied to endure incarceration alongside my innocent clients.

Nasrin’s children need their mother back, and the Iranian people need their brave human rights hero set free.

Your gift today can make a difference to victims of repression like Nasrin. Donate now.

Gabriel, your generosity makes Amnesty work.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Nossel
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

“Insult” President, Go To Jail

Dear Gabriel,

Behareh Hedayat — a student activist in Iran — is serving 10 years in prison on charges including “insulting the President.”

Her insult?

In a speech, she said, “Organizing a protest means being beaten, being arrested, being disrespected, being tortured for confessing to false things, being in solitary confinement, being expelled from university.”

On December 31, 2009, she was arrested and sentenced simply for advocating for greater freedom in Iran. There are reports of her ill-treatment and medical neglect.

Until she is free, Amnesty will fight for her release. You can be a part of that fight by donating to Amnesty.

We know her release is possible. Our movement has helped young reformers many times before.

Fellow Iranian student activist Ahmad Batebi was sentenced to death in 1999 when a photo of him holding a bloody t-shirt worn by an injured student protestor appeared on the cover of the Economist. After nearly a decade, of persistent activism on his behalf by Amnesty members, he was granted a medical furlough, during which he escaped jail and fled Iran. With Amnesty’s support, he was granted asylum in the United States.

To mark Amnesty’s 51st birthday on May 28, we plan to recruit 1,500 new supporters who can help keep urgent pressure on governments like Iran by:

Mobilizing protests that raise the profile of specific cases of concern.

Empowering activists to put pressure on key leaders through creative tactics.

Participating in global efforts like Amnesty’s Write for Rights initiative, the world’s largest annual human rights event.

Investigating human rights abuses through research missions to key countries.

We must not let the government of Iran hold the future of the Iranian people hostage. You believe in human rights. Help us continue the fight. Help Amnesty with a gift of support.

You can help us make 2012 the year that Behareh Hedayat walks out of prison a free woman.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Reilly
Senior Campaign Director, Individuals at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Talk With Iran – No Killing

Dear Gabriel,

As we approach the ninth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, we once again see dangerous momentum for another irresponsible, unnecessary and costly war — this time with Iran.

Fear-mongering and propaganda aside, Iran is not an imminent threat to the United States — and we haven’t yet exhausted all avenues for diplomacy to ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

But as a result of the Iranian Revolution over 30 years ago, current law makes it very difficult for American diplomats to talk directly to representatives of the Iranian government.

That is why Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced legislation that, in her words, “directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy for Iran to ensure that all diplomatic avenues are pursued to avoid a war with Iran and to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”1

Click here to automatically sign the petition. Tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor Rep. Lee’s bill to avoid an unnecessary and costly war with Iran.

Whether or not you think your representative will co-sponsor the bill, we need you to speak out.

Unfortunately, while the American people are opposed to another war of choice,2 those pushing for war have been far more vocal and organized than the rest of us.

Our friends on the Hill have told us that congressional offices are hearing from people who want us to go to war, but not from those who would like to see a diplomatic solution.

Not only will your petition signature signal support for Rep. Lee’s bill, it will also ensure that those howling for war are not met with a deafening silence on our side.

Our allies in Congress will know their constituents want them to remain steadfast, and other lawmakers will be put on notice that their constituents reject the dangerous saber-rattling that might bring our nation to the brink of war.

We can’t afford to remain a silent majority. We must push back on the ever-increasing clamor for war.

Click here to automatically sign the petition. Tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor Rep. Lee’s bill to avoid an unnecessary and costly war with Iran.

While there are no easy solutions to addressing the challenges we face with Iran, it is imperative that we pursue diplomacy.

We know all too well the consequences of starting an unnecessary war.

The war in Iraq was a catastrophic mistake and a tremendous moral failure.

But right now with Iran, all options are on the table except direct negotiations. That’s a recipe for another needless war.

We can’t wait for the first bombs to drop. We need to speak out now.

Tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor Rep. Lee’s bill to avoid an unnecessary and costly war with Iran. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=5541954&id=36805-266627-TLJh4Kx&t=10

Social Security is one of the greatest anti-poverty programs in our country’s history and is wildly popular. In addition, despite fear-mongering to the contrary, Social Security is currently running a surplus, will be fully solvent for decades, and is prohibited by law from adding to the deficit.

It’s a sad comment on our political system that an organization that represents older Americans needs to be pushed to stand up for Social Security.

But it’s better to speak out now and ensure AARP stands strong, than try to pick up the pieces after they cave.

Thank you for speaking out to stop another needless war.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Death Sentence for Programming

Dear Gabriel,

Iranians just held parliamentary elections. But many bloggers, students, journalists, filmmakers and other activists couldn’t exercise their right to vote.

They’ll be in jail.

One prisoner, Canadian resident and web programmer Saeed Malekpour, faces a death sentence and could be executed at any time. What did Saeed do to warrant this harsh sentence, based on charges of “insulting and desecrating Islam”? He wrote a web program that was used — without Saeed’s knowledge — for uploading pornographic images online.

Remind the Iranian authorities that death sentences are the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Demand that Iran commute Saeed Malekpour’s death sentence for “cyber crimes” and give him a fair trial, free from torture and coercion.

Saeed’s case is a harbinger of what is to come as Iran unleashes a frightening new crackdown on freedom of expression. Amnesty’s report released this week, “We are ordered to crush you”: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran, reveals a widening net of repression in Iran — a net increasingly focused on Internet users and free speech on the web.

Freedom of expression was already on life support in Iran. Now, a “Cyber Army” has been unleashed to impose a total information blackout in the country.

Internet users in Iran increasingly find themselves caught in the crosshairs of this new wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a shadowy group entrusted with cutting off the free flow of information in the country. The “Cyber Army” has also extended its reach abroad, blocking Amnesty’s website in Iran, and carrying out attacks on websites like Twitter and the Voice of America.

Many Iranians are scared into silence. And if anyone dares to fight back and criticize the government publicly, their words will cost them dearly. Harsh sentences like Saeed’s aren’t unheard of, and those imprisoned in Iran often face terrible mistreatment — torture, forced confessions, years of solitary confinement.

Iran cannot be allowed to violate human rights with impunity, online or offline. Saeed Malekpour must not be executed for his alleged crimes. As Iranians head to the ballot box, cast your “vote” today by taking action for freedom of expression in Iran.

Sincerely,

Elise Auerbach
Iran Country Specialist
Amnesty International USA

Turkey’s Turn-around

From Nation of Change
by Mohammed Ayoob
9 January 2012

Turkey’s Balancing Act

Turkey has over the past few weeks become the spearhead of a joint Western-Arab-Turkish policy aimed at forcing President Bashar al-Assad to cede power in Syria. This is quite a turnaround in Turkish policy, because over the past two years the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had gone out of its way to cultivate good relations with neighboring Syria, with whom it shares a long land border.

This change of course on Syria has also cost Turkey a great deal in terms of its relations with Iran, the principal supporter of Assad’s regime, which Turkey had also cultivated as part of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy.

Given these new strains, it is worth recalling that a only few months ago many American leaders were livid at what they perceived to be Turkey’s betrayal. In their view, Turkey had re-oriented its foreign policy toward the Muslim Middle East and away from the West – a shift supposedly reflected in the country’s deteriorating relations with Israel and improving ties with Iran and Syria.

Many American policymakers and publicists, unable or unwilling to distinguish Turkish-Israeli relations from Turkish-American relations, interpreted Erdoğan’s condemnation of Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a bid to cozy up to his Arab neighbors at the expense of Turkey’s relations with not only Israel but with the West in general. Turkey’s attempt to mediate between the major Western powers and Iran concerning the Islamic Republic’s uranium stockpile went unappreciated in the West; indeed, the United States scuttled the effort just as it seemed to be bearing fruit. And Turkey’s subsequent vote in the United Nations Security Council against imposing additional sanctions on Iran seemed to offer further proof that Turkey had adopted an “Islamic” foreign policy.

America’s anxiety assumed that it is a contradiction for Turkey to seek good relations with both the West and the Muslim Middle East, and that Ankara’s decision to improve its relations with its Muslim neighbors was motivated primarily by religious and ideological concerns considered important by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkey’s recent tense relations with Iran demonstrate this assumption’s basic fallacy, and point to a non-ideological foreign policy that caters to Turkish national interests as defined by the country’s political elite – including the post-Islamists in power today.

Disagreement between Turkey and Iran initially centered on their conflicting approaches to the internal rebellion against Assad’s dictatorship. Iran has been heavily invested in the Assad regime, its lone Arab ally and the main conduit for delivering material support to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Turkey, on the other hand, after some initial hesitation, has thrown its weight fully behind Assad’s opponents, including by providing refuge to them, as well as to defectors from Syria’s army. Indeed, Turkey has gone further by helping the divided Syrian opposition to come together on its territory to establish a joint front against the Assad regime and provide a credible alternative to it.

Read entire column at Nation of Change.

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