Target: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic
Goal: Release a journalist held incommunicado due to the “objectionable” content of her articles
Saba Azarpeik, an Iranian journalist who has been an outspoken critic of government policies, has been held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or contact with her family for over two months. Her location is not known, a fact that puts her at great risk of torture or ill-treatment. Sign the petition and urge authorities in Iran to make her whereabouts known and immediately release her if her only “crime” is the peaceful expression of her own beliefs.
International human rights standards dictate that anyone who is arrested must be informed of the reason at the time of the arrest, granted access to legal representation, and promptly charged and tried. Iran’s own criminal code states that those who have been arrested are entitled to a lawyer immediately, except in some cases where the access may be deferred for up to one week. Saba Azarpeik has been held for over two months without any access to a lawyer and has been forced to attend hearings without one, a clear violation of her rights. Her worried family has been told not to speak to the media if they want her to be released any time soon.
In all of this, Saba Azarpeik’s only “crime” has been to peacefully express her own political beliefs through her writing, which has resulted in her being charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “spreading lies,” Amnesty International reports. Her detention is unfounded and she is a prisoner of conscience. Sign the petition and demand that Saba Azarpeik be released immediately.
I am writing to express my concern for the well-being of journalist Saba Azarpeik, who has been held incommunicado in solitary confinement since May 28, 2014. Her detention violates the international human rights standards with which Iran is obligated to comply, and I therefore demand that her whereabouts be disclosed and she be released immediately.
Azarpeik has been charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “spreading lies” as a result of articles she has published that are critical of the Iranian government and its policies. Freedom of expression is an internationally-recognized human right and is not a viable reason for arrest and detention.
In addition to the flimsiness of the charges against her, Azarpeik has not been treated in accordance with international human rights standards–or even Iran’s own criminal code–since her arrest. She has been held incommunicado in solitary confinement, her family has been intimidated, and she has been denied access to a lawyer and forced to attend hearings without one. This is not justice. This smacks of revenge, and it is unwarranted and unacceptable.
I urge you to do the right thing. Disclose the whereabouts and well-being of Saba Azarpeik, release her immediately, and promote efforts to ensure a greater compliance with international human rights standards within Iran.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: vicki watkins via Flickr