Do you remember Neda?
Do you remember this picture? It is the picture of Neda Aghasoltan, a 27-year-old Philosophy student who was shot dead during the protests against the Islamic regime and its presidential election, which was more of a sham than an election, in 20 June 2009. Neda’s picture was broadcasted around the world and has become a symbol of the fight for freedom in Iran. During 20 June 2009 protest, it is estimated that the regime has arrested around 5000 people some of whom are still in prison. This is not the first time the regime has attacked the protesters and arrested thousands of them. The mass arrest on that day included those who were not in the protest at all and were just bystanders.In the summer of 1988, in only a few weeks, more than 5000 political prisoners were executed and most of their families were never informed of their burial sites. Killing of Neda Aghasoltan, arresting thousands of people on the 20 June 2009 as well as 1988 massacre are not the only crimes on the long list of the Islamic regime’s atrocities in Iran.
On 20 June 1981, regime has started arresting anyone who showed the slightest opposition to the regime including students, poets, artists, writers, teachers and many more. Waves of mass arrests, tortures, and executions were carried out. The regime executed 300-500 people every day; some for merely reading opposition handouts. There are no precise information about the exact scope of the crime and also about the exact number of people who have been arrested and executed by the regime in Iran. This is because the opposition cleansing was carried out by the Islamic regime in secret and bodies of the executed political prisoners were buried in different, unknown and unmarked mass burial sites. Some estimate that between 1981 and 1988 a total of 20,000 innocent men and women were executed by the current regime in Iran. Among the prisoners were children as young as 11 or 12. There were also infants and very young children who were arrested along with their parents and were taken to solitary confinements. Many of these children have witnessed the torture of their parents.
The list of the crime committed by the Islamic regime in Iran during the last 34 years is very long. I would like to highlight 20 June 2009 and 20 June 1988, because it was around these two days that the regime arrested people in the highest scale. Thousands of activists and protesters were arrested, subjected to physical and psychological torture, hundreds were raped and thousands were executed in 1981. Two generations of freedom loving men and women were killed and suppressed in the most brutal possible way by the Islamic regime in Iran.
Sadly, you do not hear or read about these crimes in the news now. These incidents did not only happened in the past, IT IS STILL HAPPENING NOW. Currently, there are tens of thousands of political prisoners held in different prisons throughout Iran without any charges or trial, and there are many children who have been kept in solitary confinement with their mothers for a very long time. Thousands of people from 13 to 75 years old are still in prison. Flogging, electric shock, rape, mock execution and being kept in a solitary confinements are only some examples of the daily torture in prison across Iran.
In order to highlight the situation of these prisoners and to expose 34 years of crime against humanity committed by the Islamic regime in Iran, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI), has declared the 20th of June as The International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran. Following this, demonstrations were held around the world in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to mark this day.
This year, CFPPI has dedicated the 20th of June -The International Day in Support of Political Prisoners in Iran – to the children of political prisoners. Thousands of children have been deprived of being with their parents because they are still in prison. Hundreds of children have spent some part of their childhood in prison with their parents which have had tremendous psychological effects on their development. These children are invisible prisoners who have no voice.
YOU CAN BE THEIR VOICE. Join us on 20 June 2013 and be the voice of these children. We can all together build a strong international solidarity with people in Iran to put pressure on the regime to free all political prisoners.