Wednesday, 14 March 2012

14 March 2012: International Day of Action to Defend Blasphemers and Apostates

Countless individuals face threats, imprisonment, and execution because of their criticism of religion and religious authorities. Blasphemy and Apostasy laws as well as uncodified rules imposed by both state and non-state actors aim primarily to restrict thought and expression and limit the rights of Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Such rules exist in a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.

On 14 March 2012, we, the undersigned, are calling for simultaneous events and actions in defence of the critics of religion in order to highlight medieval laws and exert pressure to save the lives of the women and men facing execution, imprisonment or threats.

Whilst there are countless people awaiting punishment under these rules and regulations, we are highlighting ten such cases, namely:
Hamza Kashgari, Saudi Arabia: 23 year old Muslim, charged with blasphemy for tweeting about Mohammad and women’s status (Petition here)
Alex Aan, Indonesia: 30 year old atheist, charged with blasphemy for saying there is no god on Facebook
Asia Bibi, Pakistan: 45 year old mother of five, sentenced to death for blasphemy for ‘insulting Mohammad’
Yousef Nadarkhani, Iran: 34 year old sentenced to death for apostasy for converting to Christianity
Nabil Karoui, Tunisia: charged with ‘violating sacred values’ for showing the film Persepolis
Saeed Malekpour, Iran: sentenced to death for ‘insulting and desecrating Islam’
Muhammad Samiullah, Pakistan: 17 year old, charged with blasphemy, for ‘derogatory remarks’ about Mohammad on his exams
Adel Imam, Egypt: comic actor jailed for three months for ‘insulting Islam’
Sarwar Penjweni, Iraqi Kurdistan: threatened for researching Islam and Quranic texts.
Lanja Abdulla, Iraqi Kurdistan: Director of Warvin Foundation for Women Issues threatened at a public meeting for challenging religious authority
The success of this international day and the very lives of those it hopes to save depend on the intervention of each and every one of us.
We call on groups and individuals to take action on this day by organising a protest or vigil, setting up a table in a city centre, writing a letter, signing a petition, drawing a picture, taking a photo, making a video – anything at all – to highlight these medieval laws and rules, defend free expression and the women and men whose lives are at stake.
Your support, events and actions can be uploaded on our Facebook Page or in the comments section below.

You can also register your protests here below:
Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs E-mail
Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs E-mail
Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Kurdistan Regional Government-Kurdistan-Iraq
Egypt-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tunisia- Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Initial signatories:
Houzan Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK
Evelyne Accad, Professor Emeritus University of Illinois and Lebanese American University, USA
Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Sargul Ahmad, Women Organization in Iraq, Canada
Mahin Alipour, Director, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Sweden
Evan Darraji, Writer and Artist, Iraq
Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
Deeyah, Music Producer, Norway/USA
Jani Diylan, Journalist, USA
Tarek Fatah, Muslim Canadian Council, Canada
Tahir Gora, Editor and Publisher, Canada
Laura Guidetti, Feminist Activist (Marea), Italy
Maria Hagberg, Chairperson of the Network against Honour Related Violence, Sweden/Iraq
Asos Hardi, Director of Awene newspaper, Kurdistan-Iraq
Farzaneh Hassan, Writer, Canada
Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism is a Women’s Issue, France
Sundas Hoorain, Pakistani Human Rights Lawyer, UK
Abbas Kamil, Unity Against Unemployment in Iraq, Iraq
Monica Lanfranco, Journalist (Marea), Italy
Nahla Mahmoud, Director, Sudan: Non-Religious out loud, Sudanese Humanists Group, UK
against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK
Hassan Radwan, Management Committee, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, UK
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space, UK
Nina Sankari, European Feminist Initiative, Poland
Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Campaigner, UK
Issam Shukri, Defence of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq, Canada
Fatou Sow, Women Living Under Muslims Laws, UK

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

To all of you, and especially those who are still struggling hard to achieve a minimum of equality and dignity as women!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Free Hamza Kashgari

Iran Solidarity supports the campaign to free Saudi columnist Hamza Kashgari who fears for his life.
Below is a petition text which you can sign here
You can join the FB group Free Hamza Kashgari here

On 12 February, Malaysian police deported 23 year old Saudi columnist Hamza Kashgari, who fled Saudi Arabia after making comments on Twitter claimed by some to be "insulting" to the prophet Muhammad. There have been widespread calls from Islamists for his execution; in Saudi Arabia, blasphemy is punishable by death.

Theocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia will not tolerate the most basic freedom of thought and expression. We defend the right of everyone in the world to freely express their views, including to criticise religion. We condemn the Malaysian government for detaining Kashgari who had fled the country and handing him over to the Saudi authorities. We are also concerned to learn of reports that INTERPOL may have promulgated a Saudi government warrant for his arrest. The implications of this mean that no asylum seeker or refugee is free from persecution even after having fled.

We demand that the Saudi authorities immediately and unconditionally release Kashgari. He has not committed any crime.

Initial Signatures:
Yanar Mohammed, President of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
Houzan Mahmoud, Kurdish Women’s Rights Activist from Iraq, UK/Iraq
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK
A C Grayling, Philosopher, UK
Ahlam Akram, Palestinian Peace and Human Rights Writer and Campaigner, Palestine/UK
Akram Nadir, Union Organizer in Iraq and Kurdistan, Iraq
Akram Zaki, Engineer, Iraq
Ali Salam Amil, Norway
Alison Brown, Alliance for Workers Liberty, UK
Alom Shaha, Writer, UK
Annie Sugier, Cofounder of the League of Women’s International Rights, France
Ariane Brunet, co-founder, Urgent Action Fund, USA
Caroline Fourest, Writer, Editor-in-Chief of ProChoix, France
Charles Pottins, Jewish Socialists' Group, UK
Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, Philosopher, Writer, France
Eli Vieira Araujo Júnior, President, Secular Humanist League of Brazil, Brazil
Evan Darraji, Writer & Artist, Iraq
Evan Siegel, Translator
Evelyne Accad, Academic
Fariborz Pooya, Iranian Secular Society, UK
Faris Alkamil, Writer and Journalist, Iraq
Farzana Hassan, Author, Canada
Ghanim Alotaibi, Kuwait
Gita Sahgal, Executive Director, Centre for Secular Space, UK
Glyn Harries, Hackney Community and Trade Union Activist, UK
Gona Saed, Women’s Rights Activist, UK
Hameeda Hossain, Women’s Rights Activist, Bangladesh
Harem Karem, Editor of Kurdistan Tribune
Harry Kroto, Professor of Chemistry, Nobel Prize Winner, USA/UK
Hassan Radwan, Trustee, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, UK
Ibn Warraq, Writer, USA
Intisar Khalil, Canada
Joan Smith, Columnist, UK
Joanne Royston, Abolition UK, UK
Julie Bindel, Writer, UK
Laura Guidetti, Marea Review, Italy
Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Society, Nigeria
Lilian Halls French, Co-President, IFE-EFI, France
Maria Arvantiti Sotiropoulou, Author and President of the Greek Affiliate of IPPNW
Maria Hagberg, International Women’s Rights Activist, Iraq/Sweden
Marieme Helie Lucas, Coordinator, Secularism is a Women’s Issue, France
Mark Osborn, Alliance for Workers Liberty, UK
Mazin AlYasery, Journalist
Meghna Guhathakurta, Researcher, Bangladesh
Meredith Tax, US Director, Centre for Secular Space, USA
Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Stoning, Germany
Nick Doody, Comedian, UK
Nicola Stott, Centre for Women's Studies, York, UK
Nicolas Dessaux, Solidarité Irak, France
Ophelia Benson, Writer and Blogger, USA
Patrick Smith, University College Union, UK
Patty Debonitas, Iran Solidarity, UK
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner, UK
Polly Toynbee, Writer, UK
Pragna Patel, Founder, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Rafid Hamady, Iraq
Rafiq Mahmood, Writer, Indonesia
Rahila Gupta, Writer, UK
Rega Rauf, Writer and Women’s Rights Activist, Sweden
Richard Dawkins, Scientist, UK
Roberto Malini, writer, Co-President, EveryOne Group, Italy
Ronald A. Lindsay, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Free Inquiry, USA
Roy Brown, International Humanist and Ethical Union, UK
Russell Blackford, Philosopher and Writer, Australia
Sacha Ismael, Alliance for Workers Liberty, UK
Saeed Arman, International Organisation of Iranian Refugees, UK
Salman Rushdie, Writer, UK
Sam Mahmoud, Designer
Shabana Rehman, Comedian, Norway
Shahla Nouri, Women´s Rights Activist from Iran, Sweden
Soad Baba Aissa, Feminist Activist for Laïcity, France
Stasa Zajovic, Women in Black of Belgrade and Serbian Network, Serbia
Stéphane Julien, Solidarité Irak, France
Tarek Fateh, Writer, Canada
Tauriq Moosa, Writer, South Africa
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society, UK
Xulfi Marxis, Activist
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Writer, UK

Brilliant freedom of expression rally

The rally in defence of freedom of expression last Saturday, 11th of February, was brilliant. Despite the chilly weather several hundred people attended, no doubt because of the great speakers that had been announced. The rally was organised by One Law for All and supported by us and numerous other organisations and individuals.

Have a look at some pics from the rally and you can listen to a complete audio recording of the rally on PODdelusion here.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

We support Freedom of Expression rally this Saturday, 11 February

Iran Solidarity support the Freedom of Expression rally, organised by The One Law for All campaign this
Saturday 11 February 2012 in London.
There will also be solidarity actions in various cities around the world to mark the day.

Speakers are:
Richard Dawkins (Scientist); A C Grayling (Philosopher); Alex Gabriel (Blogger); Anne Marie Waters (One Law for All); Caroline Cox (Peer); Derek Lennard (Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association); Faisal Gazi (; Gita Sahgal, (Centre for Secular Space); Hasan Afzal (Stand for Peace); Jennifer Hardy (Queen Mary Atheism Humanism and Secularism Society); Jenny Bartle (National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies); Jim Fitzpatrick (MP); Kate Smurthwaite (Comedian); Kenan Malik (Writer); Lilith (Poet, Anti-Injustice Movement) ; Marco Tranchino (Central London Humanist Group); Mark Embleton (Atheism UK); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain); Nick Cohen (Writer); Nick Doody (Comedian); Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters); Rashid Ali (Centri); Rhys Morgan (Student activist); Roy Brown (International Humanist and Ethical Union); Rupert Sutton (Student Rights); Sohaila Sharifi (Equal Rights Now); Sue Cox (Survivors Voice Europe); Sundas Hoorain (London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society); Susan Zhuang (University College London Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society); Keith Porteous Wood (National Secular Society); and Yasmin Rehman (Campaigner). There will also be messages from Jesus and Mo creator and Richard Dawkins. Iranian Secular Society’s Fariborz Pooya will be the Master of Ceremonies. 
For more information, go to its Facebook Page:!/events/142455992539739/.

Rally at Old Palace Yard (across from the House of Lords)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Islamic regime starts 2012 by executing 3 people per day

xpressing concern is not enough; please take action!
Mina Ahadi’s open letter to Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Affairs Chief
Critics of Islam, political activists and others are executed daily in Iran; in the first few days of 2012 the Islamic regime of Iran has ‘upgraded’ its body count to three per day. It is not enough to issue letters of protest. This regime must be diplomatically isolated internationally. Its representatives must be expelled from international assemblies. Its embassies must be shut down.
On 11 January 2012 two youth were executed in Evin prison. One of them was identified as ‘Fazlollah’ for the crime described as rape; the other’s name was given as ‘Jalal’ and his crime was described as follows by the Islamic regime: “Jalal intended to marry a girl called Fariba, but he subsequently raped her, and because of this, Fariba committed suicide”. Today, Evin prison witnessed the execution of these two individuals. Of course, everybody knows that the Islamic regime’s courts are medieval and executions are political.
In order to subjugate people on the eve of every so-called election and in anticipation of any internal political tension, the Islamic regime cruelly sacrifices a number of individuals, hoping that this will silence everyone else.
The year 2012 began with more bloodletting because the Islamic regime is more beleaguered than ever and fears the people more than ever. Of course, the execution of these two youths in Evin prison on 11 January 2012 was not the first execution in Evin this year. In the first few days of the year, 22 people had secretly been executed there.
Together with the report of the two executions in Evin, we have received news that the Judiciary has condemned two Iranian-Afghan citizens to death in one of its courts of injustice. The execution of Iranian-Afghans and brutality towards them already figure prominently in the Islamic regime’s catalogue of crimes, and hundreds of Afghans have been secretly executed in Iran.
Of course, the execution of political activists is still on the Islamic regime’s agenda. Among the reports of the latest executions in Iran there is news of the plot against three Kurdish political activists who may well be condemned to death. Changiz Qadam Kheir, Shurosh Rezai and Fardin Farji, who were arrested in 2011 were framed and could now face death sentences. These three individuals, for your information, were forced with torture and intimidation to confess on Press TV. Press TV is the Islamic Republic’s television station based in London. It has been involved in obtaining forced confessions from others including the Iran stoning case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. It broadcast a programme featuring Sakineh and her son, promising them their freedom after incriminating themselves in this fabricated documentary. This television channel is an arm of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence apparatus and some of its journalists are professional interrogators of the Islamic regime.
Moreover, there are currently five people being investigated by the Islamic regime’s courts in a case known as ‘Heretics 3’; so far, two of them have been condemned to death. Vahid Asghari, aged 25, was condemned to death for maintaining a website against religion and Islam. Ahmadreza Hashempur was condemned to death for keeping an anti-religious and, according to the regime, “obscene” website. He is 40 years old and holds a doctorate. The death sentence was confirmed on appeal by the regime’s Supreme Court on 11 January 2012.
The Islamic regime has declared that these individuals’ websites were “obscene and anti-religious”. Saeid Malekpour, an Iranian-Canadian citizen, was condemned to death earlier for the same crime, and his case is currently before the regime’s Supreme Court. Clearly, criticism of religion and Islam or maintaining a website can lead people to the gallows in Iran. Of course, according to Iranian law apostasy is punishable by death.
Ms Ashton!
I would like to inform you that Zaniar Moradi, a 21 year old youth who could be executed at any time, managed to send messages outside the prison pleading with the people of the world not to allow him to be killed. Please imagine how it might feel to be a 21-year-old boy who has spent the past two years in prison enduring the tortures and barbaric behaviour of a handful of murderers, and who, together with his cousin, could be executed at any moment. Zaniar is waiting for the world to protest against these crimes and atrocities. In a letter, Zaniar has described the torture methods and rape threats that have been used against him by the regime’s interrogators, and now at any time he could be executed in public along with his cousin, Loqman Moradi, aged 25. These two prisoners’ relatives have implored the people of the world to help to save their boys.
Another such case is the Islamic regime’s flagrant plot against Amir Mirzai Hekmati, an Iranian-American who is in imminent danger of having his death sentence carried out. Amir Mirzai Hekmati, an American of Iranian ancestry, was sentenced to death for ‘corruption on Earth’. His family says that this 25-year-old, who was born in America, had gone to Iran to visit his grandmother and is now in danger of execution. Apparently he too, like other prisoners, was tortured and forced to confess on television, similarly to Sakineh.
Please note the following execution statistics.
While in 2011 two people were executed per day, the regime has begun the year 2012 by executing three people per day. In the past ten days, reports regarding Iranian prisons have been as follows:
During the first days of 2012, Salah Rashidiyyeh was executed in Zanjan prison.
On Tuesday, 3 January, two people were executed in Arak prison.
On Wednesday, 4 January, five people were executed in Zanjan central prison. Their names were not revealed but their crimes were claimed to be drug-related.
On Wednesday, 4 January, one person was executed in Semnan prison.
On Thursday, 5 January, a 53-year-old prisoner named Nazar Ali Moradi was executed in Khorin prison, Varamin, for possession of 215 grammes of heroin and a kilogramme of opium.
At the same time, eight other people were executed in various Iranian prisons. Three were executed in public in Kermanshah. It was announced that these three, identified as Alireza Ahmadi, son of Khodadad, aged 48, Sadeq Eskandari, son of Vali, aged 33, and Sasan Basami, son of Jahangir, aged 36, had been condemned to death for “armed robbery of the Sepah Bank in Kermanshah” last August. The other five were hanged in the prisons of Kerman and Bam.
On Saturday, 7 January, one person was publicly executed in a village near Gachsaran.
On Wednesday, 11 January, two people were executed in Evin prison.
The real number of executions is greater, since some are carried out secretly. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has recently published information about the secret execution of hundreds of people in Vakil Abad prison, Mashhad, and revealed the names of 101 of them. These executions were collective, and the condemned were prevented from bidding their loved ones farewell. Only hours before their executions, they were instructed to write their wills and perform ritual ablutions. Their death certificates, with cause of death being ‘judicial killing’ were issued at times a day before their executions. This is the Islamic regime of Iran!
Last year, Amnesty International confirmed the execution of 252 people in Iran during the year 2011, and announced an additional 300 instances of secret execution on the basis of reliable reports.
Ms Ashton!
We agree that we are dealing with a regime which perpetrates crimes and atrocities and whose behaviour does not change even in response to letters of protest such as your own. This has been going on for many years.
The International Committee Against Execution is asking you to support a policy of isolating this regime, to initiate serious actions including the closure of the regime’s embassies in European countries to protest the executions of hundreds of Iranian dissidents, to give succour to those condemned to die and to the victims of the regime’s brutality, and to show that you are truly concerned with saving the lives of Zaniar and the critics of Islam and likewise with defending freedom of speech and the human dignity of individuals. We are asking you to show that your actions are not limited to sending the occasional letter of protest without great practical effect.
Mina Ahadi
International Committee Against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
11 January 2012
Tel: +49 177 569 2413.