letter for amnesty
We, a student chapter of Amnesty International at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, in the United States of America, are writing this letter in response to the detainment of journalist Elham Afroutan, member of the Writer’s Association, who has been imprisoned with other journalists whose names have been withheld, in connection with the publication of an article comparing the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and the advent of Ayatollah Khomeini to AIDS. We would like to stress to you that Afroutan herself said that she had not written the article, but had found it on the internet and published it in an attempt to fill a blank space in a page. Additionally, Afroutan said that “there was neither any ill intention nor any pre-conceived plot behind the publication of the article.” She also stated that the publication of the article was an “unintentional mistake.” We are aware that journalist Elham Afroutan is no longer being held in solitary confinement, and we are pleased of this news. However, we are conscious of the fact that there are up to six additional journalists being detained along with Afroutan as a result of the publication of the aforementioned article, and we are calling upon you to inform us of the identities of these additional prisoners. Additionally, we are deeply concerned that the prisoners detained in this case are prisoners of conscience, being held solely for the peaceful exercise of their internationally recognized right to freedom of expression. Based upon this, we request that these prisoners be released immediately. We would also like to request that you urge the authorities involved in this matter to grant Afroutan and the additional prisoners immediate and regular access to lawyers of their own choosing, communication with their families, and any medical treatment that they may require. Finally, we ask you to remind authorities of the fact that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 19 states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression. We are writing to you not out of any political motivation, but simply because we are deeply concerned with the dignity and welfare of human beings worldwide. As such, our group would greatly appreciate a response, at your earliest convenience, to our inquiry into the identities of the prisoners involved in this matter and what steps the Iranian authorities are taking in delivering these prisoners lawyers, communication with family, medical attention, and freedom. We thank you for your time and assistance in this matter, and hope that this letter finds you well.