Friday, July 29, 2005

Ganji Is Not Alone
By Shirin Ebadi
Jul 29, 2005, 04:17

Akbar Ganji’s perilous condition is just one distressing example of the dire state of Iran’s political and ideological prisoners recently highlighted in the media. Defending Ganji and publicizing his protests is the responsibility of every human rights activist and thse who care to raise the dignity of human life in Iran.

As Akbar Ganji’s lawyer and someone who, because of my work on this imprisoned journalist’s behalf, has been subject to myriad accusations and threats, I would like to address all human rights activists with a cautionary note. Let us not forget all other political and ideological prisoners who aren’t as well-known as Mr. Ganji. Those who have been forgotten in various prisons including Evin, Rejaee Shahr and other near and far flung provincial prisons and are doing hard time. Prisons filled with such human strife and suffering have hardly been reported in Tehran Judiciary’s recent report.

In some of these prisons, political inmates endure the torture of solitary confinement while in other facilities they actually request such confinement to escape their murderous and criminally hardened cellmates. There are many detainees who have suffered long term mistreatment and are denied access to a lawyer and for whom only hunger strikes offer a slight chance of garnering a minimum of their human rights.

The harshness of treatment they receive too bears no proportion to their political or ideological acts. Recall Mojtaba Saminejad whose only crime was to publish a personal weblog with very limited readership. He was regarded as a hardened outlaw and his hands and feet shamelessly shackled when taken to and from courtrooms.

We must work together for the freedom of all political and ideological prisoners. To ensure that their human rights receive a minimum level of protection, it is essential that we do not allow them to fade away from memory, a fate that a majority of them have already suffered.

Shirin Ebadi is an attorney, human rights activist and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for championing human rights, especially the rights of women and children. She was the first female judge in Iran. She is an outspoken reformer and a regular contributor to Rooz.

AxisofLogic/ Civil Rights/Human Rights


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