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The sister of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident and engineer who is unlawfully imprisoned in Iran, is calling on Canadians to help push for her brother's release and safe return to Canada. Her efforts have so far moved Iran's leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to quash Malekpour's death sentence.
What follows is an overview of some of the more serious human rights violations that continue in Iran -- and the corresponding Iranian defiance of its international commitments -- underpinned by an ongoing culture of impunity.
While Iranian President Rouhani pledged to usher in a new era of human rights for Iranians, he continues to engage in massive repression. What follows is an overview of some of the serious human rights violations in Iran that serve as a litmus test for the authenticity of Rouhani's commitment to human rights for the Iranian people.
December 10 has been declared Human Rights Day. This is a day for all of us in the West, in particular, to pray for those who live under autocratic, theocratic, despotic regimes who deny their citizens their humanity.
There is slavery on the 21st century. While we exclaim over the movie "12 Years a Slave," we ignore those who are enslaved today, in Sudan and North Korea.
On Wednesday, June 12th, York University will confer an honourary Doctor of Laws degree on Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer now in her third year of imprisonment -- much of which has been spent in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison.
Nasrin Sotoudeh's courageous human rights advocacy has highlighted and exposed the brutality of Ahmadinejad's Iran. Indeed, Iran has jailed more than fifty of its lawyers, and Nasrin was a courageous lawyer for political prisoners until becoming one herself.
The treatment of ethnic minorities is a fundamental question in building a stable, democratic, and prosperous Iran. But the question of ethnic minorities is not merely a problem to be solved; it is also an immense opportunity for a wise and just leadership to transform Iran from its current pariah status into a leader among nations. Embracing human rights and global interdependence is a necessity for Iran's survival and prosperity.
Today marks Zia Nabavi's 29th birthday. This is the fourth consecutive birthday the university student activist is spending in prison. He was arrested at a relative's house on June 15, 2009, following his participation in a peaceful post-election protest. He's been trapped in prison since then.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, an award-winning lawyer held unlawfully in Evin Prison since 2010, is on her third day of hunger strike. To show their solidarity with this incredible woman, human rights and online activists have organized a "Tweet Storm" for Friday. The online event is an urgent call to take action for her release.
Beyond doubt, this is the bloodiest period in Iran's contemporary history. A former political prisoner described how she was savagely beaten while six-months pregnant, while yet another spoke about a 14-year-old boy crying for his mother as the noose was put around his neck. Violence is often mistaken as a sign of strength. The exact contrary is true: Violence is the ultimate sign of weakness.
If this looks like an ordinary diplomatic photograph -- it is not. In a rare encounter, the Hon. Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, summoned Kambiz Sheikh-Hassani, the Iranian Charge d'Affaires, to his chambers. Kinsella demanded the release of all unlawfully held Iranian prisoners of conscience and in particular the Canadian prisoners: Saeed Malekpour, Hossein Derakhshan and Hamid Ghassemi-Shall.
Today is Bahareh Hedayat's 31st birthday and the fourth wedding anniversary with her activist husband Amin Ahmadian. Unfortunately, the two are separated because Iranian regime agents arrested her in 2009 following a mass opposition protest in the country. Here is a letter she wrote to Ahmadian.
In the run-up to the Iranian election today, there has been a massive campaign underway for imprisonment and silencing of all opposition. There have been arrests, beatings, torture, detentions, kidnappings, disappearances, and executions -- indeed, an execution binge even by Iran's wanton standards.
Is it imaginable that in the 21st century a modern woman and outstanding actress receives lashes for her art? Sadly such brutality is common in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Most tragic are the explanations by regime officials that they are defending moral values and the security of their country.