Target: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic
Goal: Free filmmaker jailed for social media posts and ensure that he has access to necessary medical care.
Mostafa Azizi, an Iranian-born filmmaker from Canada, is currently being held in Iran’s Evin Prison on vague charges linked to his posts on social media. He is a prisoner of conscience and is being denied adequate medical care. Sign the petition and demand that Azizi receive the medical attention he requires and that the charges against him be dropped immediately.
The charges against Azizi include such difficult-to-define accusations as “insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding against national security,” Amnesty International reports. These vaguely-worded charges are often used to silence free speech in Iran.
In addition to the flimsiness of his charges, Azizi has suffered poor treatment in prison. He spent two weeks in solitary confinement without access to his family or lawyer, a treatment totally out of sync with the charges against him, all of which are nonviolent. His son reports that Azizi was psychologically impacted by his time spent in solitary confinement, and that conditions at the prison have exacerbated his already-existing health conditions, including “asthma, eczema, rheumatism, and high blood sugar.” He was briefly treated in the prison clinic after passing out, but was shortly thereafter returned to his regular prison accommodations.
It is imperative that Mostafa Azizi have access to medical care, a universally-guaranteed human right. Furthermore, the charges against him are unfair and violate Azizi’s right to freedom of expression. Sign the petition and demand that he be released as soon as possible, and that in the meantime he be treated fairly and humanely.
I am writing to urge the immediate release of Mostafa Azizi, who is currently being held in Evin Prison on a number of charges, including “insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” “spreading propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding against national security.” These charges infringe upon his right to freedom of expression and must be dropped immediately. In the meantime, he must be guaranteed fair and humane treatment and have access to his lawyer, his family, and any medical care he may require.
Azizi’s charges appear to stem from posts he made on various social media platforms. Despite the fact that none of his charges have anything to do with him being violent or dangerous, he spent two weeks in solitary confinement at Evin Prison, a circumstance which took a serious psychological toll on him. In addition, Azizi’s treatment while in prison has exacerbated a number of existing health conditions, including asthma, eczema, rheumatism, and high blood sugar, his son reports. Azizi was admitted to the prison clinic when a drop in his blood pressure rendered him unconscious, but he was quickly returned to his normal prison accommodations.
Iran has a responsibility under Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to ensure that all prisoners are treated humanely and given adequate access to health care, legal representation, and their families while in prison. Azizi must be guaranteed these rights, and the flimsy, politicized charges against him must be dropped so he can be released as quickly as possible.
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Photo credit: Still Burning