Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kianoosh Sanjari in Oslo: Stop the Hangings in Iran!

Stop the Hangings in Iran!

On January 12, 2008, human right activists demonstrated against the rising number of hangings in Iran. The Iranian regime has escalated hangings in 2008 and the demonstration was to condemn human right violations in Iran. 19 people have been hanged in the first 9 days of the new year. Dissidents are suppressed violently. Political activists are harassed and most are arrested for ambiguous reasons and are tortured in prisons. Tens of student activists have been arrested in the recent government crack-down.

25 year old Iranian activist, Kianoosh Sanjari, who was recently granted political asylum with the help of Amnesty International, spearheaded the recent protest in Oslo, Norway.

Kianoosh, who served as an active spokesperson and representative of a secular student group in Iran, was forced to escape the country due to repeated arrests, lengthy prison terms, and continued threats.

In his speech before the protesters on Saturday, Kianoosh expressed deep concern about the escalating and grave violations of human rights in Iran. Calling for an end to such violations, Kianoosh appealed for active participation by all concerned entities. "It is so important that the Iranian people are not left alone in this struggle!" he told the crowd.

Ms. Bente Erischsen, Amnesty International representative in the gathering, said that Iran is on top of the list of the worst violators of human rights in the world. Erischen went on to emphasize that Amnesty International has condemned the use of torture as a method to obtain confessions and damage government opponents. She emphasized that we should continue the struggle against the Iranian regime.

At first glance, it might seem that it is useless to try, but this is a mistake. It is imperative that we continue our human right activities in this context. In fact, this is what the Iranian regime is trying to do: To discourage actions on behalf of human rights, they are pretending that any effort to improve human rights conditions would be a waste. However, if this happens, it will serve as a significant advantage for a regime that claims that it has won already.

Approximately 50 Iranians participated in the protest, despite inclement weather conditions. The human right organization of Norway thanked the protestors and organizers for their efforts.