On the eve of the Free Iran Global Summit, scheduled for Friday, July 17, 2020, dignitaries across the world express their support of the struggle of the Iranian people and their Organized Resistance under the leadership of Ms. Maryam Rajavi for freedom, justice, and equality. In this respect, Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, leads call on human rights organizations to push the Iranian regime to respect the fundamental rights of Iranian protesters.
Notably, on the dawn of July 14, the judiciary carried out the death sentence of two Kurdish political prisoners in Urmia city, northwestern Iran. Authorities had arrested them in March 2014 under the fake allegation of “waging war against God.” They were subjected to torture and ill-treatment for a year to confess to fabricated crimes.
On the same day, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for three protesters who have been detained by security forces in November 2019. Brutal death penalties prompted Iranians and many freedom-loving people to raise their voices and call for stopping execution in Iran.
In this respect, Archbishops and Lord Bishops condemned the human rights violations in Iran and called on the United Nations Human Rights office to urgently visit Iran’s prisons, where those who took part in recent anti-regime protests are facing torture and execution.
They also expressed their concerns over Iranian authorities’ oppressive measures against dissidents, students, and human rights activists. “the regime has continued its arrests of dissidents, students and other human rights activists inside Iran, especially targeting the supporters of the organised Iranian Resistance movement, the NCRI and the PMOI/MEK,” they wrote.
Religious leaders also blamed the Iranian regime’s mismanagement in containing the novel coronavirus, which has left over 60,000 fatalities at the time of this writing. “We also note reports revealing that the Iranian authorities did not inform the public about the coronavirus outbreak in the country in late January in order to advance their own political objectives and priorities including the Parliamentary Elections in February. They have been hiding the real number of COVID‐19 deaths due to the fear of public backlash and widespread protests,” they noted.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
June 2020 We remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran, which has deteriorated for the worse during the last years.We note the UK statement for the Universal Periodic Review Adoption of Iran on 12 March 2020, which states, “In November last year, we saw the most deadly crackdown against its citizens for decades, while persecution and discrimination towards religious minorities continue unabated.” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/un‐human‐rights‐council‐43‐universal‐periodic‐review‐adoption‐of‐iran
The persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, including harsh prison sentences against Christians, is part of a wider domestic repression, which culminated last year in the reported killing of at least 1500 people during the nationwide popular protests for change, human rights and increased social freedoms and economic opportunities. https://www.reuters.com/article/us‐iran‐protests‐specialreport‐idUSKBN1YR0QR and https://irannewswire.org/4‐iranian‐christian‐converts‐detained‐to‐serve‐5‐year‐prison‐term‐in‐tehran/
Since then, the regime has continued its arrests of dissidents, students and other human rights activists inside Iran, especially targeting the supporters of the organised Iranian Resistance movement, the NCRI and the PMOI/MEK.
We also note reports revealing that the Iranian authorities did not inform the public about the coronavirus outbreak in the country in late January in order to advance their own political objectives and priorities including the Parliamentary Elections in February. They have been hiding the real number of COVID‐19 deaths due to the fear of public backlash and widespread protests. According to the Iranian resistance movement, the NCRI, the actual number of fatalities has passed 60,000. The regime refuses to use the enormous wealth diverted by the Supreme Leader to religious foundations in a way that helps the Iranian people combat the Coronavirus crisis. Instead, the regime has demanded people go back to work, which has put the country on the verge of a second wave of COVID19 outbreak. The outbreak of coronavirus in Iran’s prisons is particularly alarming for political prisoners and protesters detained unjustly since the 2019 November protests.
We applaud the UK Government’s decision to classify Iran as a human rights priority country and to commit to hold it to account for its human rights abuses. We now call on the UK Government and the FCO to do more at the UN and internationally in order to turn this commitment into concrete actions that ends impunity that the perpetrators of serious human rights violations enjoy in Iran.
We also urge the UK Government to work with allies to put more diplomatic, political and economic pressure on the regime so as to secure the immediate release of all political prisoners, detained protesters and dual national held unjustly in the country.
The Rt Revd. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Williams of Oystermouth Former Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd John Davies, The Archbishop of Wales & The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon
The Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & The Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford
The Most Reverend Dr Barry Morgan, The Former Archbishop of Wales
The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, The Lord Bishop of Gloucester
The Rt Revd James Newcome, The Lord Bishop of Carlisle
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford
The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, The Lord Bishop of Coventry
The Rt Revd Donald Allister, The Lord Bishop of Peterborough
The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, Lord Bishop of Chichester
The Rt Revd Alan Gregory Clayton Smith, The Lord Bishop of St. Albans
The Most Revd Walter Khotso Makhulu, Former Archbishop of Central Africa
The Rt Revd John Stroyan, The Bishop of Warwick
The Rt Revd Anne Dyer, The Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, The Bishop of Wakefield
The Rt Revd Stephen Platten, The Former Bishop of Wakefield
The Rt Revd Peter Andrew Eagles, The Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Rt Revd Robert Patterson, The Former Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, The Bishop of Selby
The Rt Revd John Prichard, The Former Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Revd Dr John Armes, The Bishop of Edinburgh
The Rt Revd Andrew Watson, The Bishop of Guildford
The Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, The Bishop of Ripon
The Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, The Bishop of Aston
The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE, The Bishop of Bedford
The Rt Revd Dr David Stancliffe, The Former Bishop of Salisbury
The Rt Revd Cherry Vann, The Bishop of Monmouth
The Rt Revd Joanna Penberthy, The Bishop of St Davids
The Rt Revd James Jones KBE, The Former Bishop of Liverpool and The Former Bishop to Prisons
The Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft, The Bishop of Bolton
The Rt Revd Richard Jackson, The Bishop of Hereford
The Rt Revd John Gladwin, The Former Bishop of Chelmsford
The Rt Revd Peter Price, The Former Bishop of Bath and Wells
The Rt Revd Keith Sinclair, The Bishop of Birkenhead
The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, The Former Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Revd Dr John Perumbalath, The Bishop of Bradwell
The Rt Revd Nick McKinnel, The Bishop of Plymouth
The Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, The Bishop of Penrith
The Rt Revd Robert Springett, The Bishop of Tewkesbury