Target: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic
Goal: Release from prison a man held solely for his religious beliefs
In 2006, Mohammad Ali Taheri founded Erfan-e-Halgheh, a new religious group, and opened three religious centers in Tehran, Iran. In 2010, he was arrested for “insulting Islamic sanctities,” imprisoned, and threatened with death. Sign the petition and demand that Mohammad Ali Teheri, his followers, and all Iranian citizens be allowed to peacefully practice their religious beliefs however they see fit.
Teheri has been kept in solitary confinement for more than three years. He and his family have been threatened, and aside from one six-day stretch of prison leave, he has had minimal contact with his family and lawyers, being allowed only brief visits with his wife twice a week–visits in which they are separated by a glass plate–and occasional short phone calls. His visits with his wife came to an abrupt halt after she was arrested herself and jailed for two weeks, Amnesty International reports.
Teheri’s well-being has suffered greatly as a result of his treatment; he has gone on seven hunger strikes and attempted suicide four times. Prison officials continue to deny his request to be moved to a cell with other prisoners, despite the fact that Teheri was not arrested for any violent crime and does not constitute a safety risk to anyone. Although his maximum sentence is five years, he continues to be threatened with capital punishment, and is due to receive 72 lashes for another religious offense–holding the hands of a female follower in the course of a religious activity.
Freedom of religion is a universal human right, and Iran is obligated to respect that. Sign the petition and demand that Mohammad Ali Taheri be released from prison immediately.
Freedom of religion is a universal human right. It does not matter if the regime in power agrees or disagrees with religious teachings; if they are peaceful, they are protected. Iran seems to have forgotten this fact, as it has held religious leader Mohammad Ali Taheri in solitary confinement for more than three years. Teheri’s well-being and mental health have suffered greatly as a result of this ordeal, and it is therefore imperative that he be released immediately.
Taheri, the founder of Erfan-e-Halgheh, was convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and given the maximum sentence for the crime, five years in prison. He has served about three years so far and has been held in solitary confinement for all of them. His only human contact comes from brief phone calls and biweekly visits from his wife.
No human being, no matter their crime, deserves to be treated this way, and what makes Taheri’s situation even more infuriating is that he has done nothing wrong. He is not dangerous. He’s not a threat to society. He’s simply a man who is trying to peacefully practice and preach his own religious beliefs. His persecution is ridiculous and his health and well-being are suffering from it. I therefore demand that he be immediately released from prison.
You have the chance to do the right thing. Please take that opportunity before it is too late.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: vicki watkins via Flickr