Despite having been in office for more than four years, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hasn’t done anything but breach his electoral promise to strengthen, respect, and promote Civil and Political Rights in his country. Last year in Iran, there were 437 executions, at least 49 were underage kids, despite repeated attempts by the Iranian Parliament to pass effective laws against the death penalty.
His charges? “The propagation of corruption on Earth, through spiritual beliefs and teachings.” This is the direct quote from section 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, on August 27 of this year; sentencing Professor Mohammad Ali Taheri to death; while he’s serving another sentence in solitary confinement since 2011 for it, in the “Evin Prison” of Tehran. To add more to his case, he is being charged again with the same crime he’s serving time for; despite the fact that Article 14.7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which Iran is a State Party, states that: “No one may be tried or punished for a crime of which he/she has already been convicted or acquitted by a final judgment in accordance with the law and criminal procedure of each country. “Taheri has carried out thirteen hunger strikes and four suicide attempts.
Professor Taheri, after having to endure his Fundamental Rights being systematically violated and ignored for over six years, after suffering the denial of the right to a lawyer, to have visits from his family, after suffering not only his imprisonment but his solitary confinement, at this moment has to live with the threat of the death sentence that would end up his life. Taheri asks for our help, and the help of the Iranian Government, so that Rouhani puts an end to the violation of Human Rights that he’s suffering.
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration to which Iran also adhered) proclaims that “every individual has the right to life, liberty and security of his or her own self” and this must hold us firmly in the defense of all prisoners of conscience that exist in the world, and in this particular case, we must keep alert to denounce the flagrant violation of article 3, in the person of Mohammad Ali Taheri. We can not remain indolent before the suffering of others, no matter how physically or socially remote this suffering may be from us. The pain, the struggle, and this vital destruction attack against Taheri no longer has forgiveness; we only have to continue fighting, until the end, so that the Human and Fundamental Rights of Professor Taheri are no longer violated.
As a parenthesis, I will emphasize that international human rights treaties impose two basic obligations to states: one, “to respect” [it’s citizens] (not kill, torture or censor ...) and two, “to guarantee” [adoption] (adopt laws, train security forces and bodies in matters of Human rights…). Since the Peace of Westphalia, on 1648 the states were the only actors in matters of International Law, being the citizens only mere objects of protection, not legal subjects capable of acting. It is after the Second World War, not so long ago, that this paradigm changed and many actors outside states are recognized as full-fledged actors; such as NGOs or individual citizens. This very fact has an irrefutable dimension: any of us is qualified, according to International Treaties, to act in the matter of denunciation, promotion and monitoring of Human Rights, whether these are Political and Civil Rights or Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. From this rostrum I demand that the Iranian Government immediately releases Mohammad Ali Taheri. I demand his Human and Fundamental Rights to be restored and I demand that Iran, in the person of its President Hassan Rouhani, returns to international legality in matters of Human rights.
I ask the International Community to continue denouncing publicly the Taheri case, without forgetting for a second that his life is in danger in a certain and imminent way.To you, Mohammad Ali Taheri, if you could read these lines, I can only tell you that we are still fighting for your freedom, that we will not stop until we see you again exercising your Fundamental Rights in full. Please don’t deteriorate. Resist. Because dignity, truth, life and justice are on your side.