We have all been in love, spoken our minds, joined protests, political groups and campaigns, poked fun at that which is taboo and taken a stand for what we believe in.
The only difference is – depending on where we were born – some of us don’t live to talk about it.
As you may have already heard, on 9 May 2010 four young men and one woman were executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran after being falsely accused, tortured, and charged with ‘enmity against God’ in sham trials. The executions were carried out in secret and without the knowledge of their families or lawyers. Farzad Kamangar (35 year old teacher and trade unionist), Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam-Houli (28 years old) and Mehdi Eslamian never even got to call their families to say goodbye.
Tragically, these executions are not new. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the execution capitals of the world and is the only state that continues to execute minors.
The over 130 offences punishable with death in Iran include:
* Sex crimes such as adultery and homosexuality
* Crimes against the state and religion including for enmity against God, corruption on earth, apostasy, heresy and blasphemy
* Acts prohibited under Sharia law such as a third conviction of drinking alcohol, morality crimes like distribution of obscene/pornographic audio-visual materials, public order crimes, and drug-related offences, including for possession.
As I said, it could have easily been you – or me – were it not for this lottery of birth. So what are we going to do about it?
‘If anyone can do anything, please do. Do not let them execute youngsters en masse. You and the world shall be my defence,’ said Farzad Kamangar’s mother recently.
For the many sitting on death row right now for standing up to this vile regime, we must be their defence…
What you can do
* From 13 May onwards join me in protest against the 9 May execution of the five political prisoners in any way you can. Protests have already been taking place in Iran and at Iranian embassies in various cities worldwide, including a successful general strike in Iranian Kurdistan on 13 May. You can join rallies taking place in your city; pass this information on; ask your friends to support the action; write letters of protest; write to the media; raise the issue at events you organise or attend and at your places of work, school and in your neighbourhoods; do acts of solidarity anywhere you can; volunteer; lend your expertise to make publicity materials, translate, fundraise… Demand the expulsion of the regime from its seat in the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, from the International Labour Organisation and other bodies. Demand that its embassies and consulates be shut down. And call for an end to the death penalty in Iran and everywhere.
* And on 20 June come out onto the streets in full force wherever you are. Start organising rallies or actions where you live or join ones already organised. June 20 is particularly significant because it is the first anniversary of 27 year old Neda Agha-Soltan’s extra-judicial execution in broad daylight by the Islamic regime of Iran at a protest in Tehran. Like Farzad Kamangar and others, all Neda wanted was freedom.
* Click that you ‘like’ the ‘I would be executed in Iran if I did this’ Facebook page.
* Support Iran Solidarity and its demands by signing up to our petition.
* For background information on the 9 May executions click here.
* For resources against the death penalty, click here.
* For background on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Penal Code, which imposes the death penalty for three classes of crime: Qesas, huddud, and ta’zirat, click here.