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Open letter to Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative...

Sunday 1 April 2012

Open letter to Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, From The International solidarity with The Mothers of Laleh Park, In protest against the sentences issued by courts of The Islamic Republic of Iran, against the supporters of The Mothers of Laleh Park

This year, with the efforts of some Iranian cultural organizations and The European Green Party, Nouruz was celebrated for the first time at the European Parliament in Brussels. In addition to many Iranians in attendance, there were representatives of human rights, political and cultural organizations from different countries, including Jean Lambert, member of the European Parliament from the Green Party of England, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, member of the European Parliament from the Green Party of France, Isabelle Durant, vice-president of the European Parliament, from the Green Party of Belgium, member of the European Parliament from Finland and Firouzeh Nahavandi, sociology professor.

Fatemeh Rezaei, representative of The International Solidarity with The Mothers of Laleh Park from Dortmund, presented Isabelle Durant with the open letter sent to Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs. The letter demanded immediate actions for the freedom of Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi, annulment of the sentences of the Islamic Revolutionary court against supporters of The Mothers of Laleh Park and families of those killed. The conditions of the Mothers and their supporters was explained and Isabelle Durant was asked for her attention to the letter.

Dear Catherine Ashton;

We are pleased that this year the European Parliament is celebrating of Nouruz, the ancient Iranian new year festival, for the first time and are thankful to you for that.

We, supporters of The Mothers of Laleh Park abroad, were formed after the firing on the peaceful demonstrators, protesting the result of the rigged presidential election of 2009. During these mass demonstrations, Neda and so many others were killed and more were arrested. Since then, we have tried to echo the cries of the mothers and family members of those killed to the outside world. We are asking for the support of the European Union for The Mothers of Laleh Park and their supporters in Iran. Mothers of Laleh Park, is a group of mothers and family members of those killed by the Islamic Republic and the goal of the group is to seek justice for those killed, abolishment of the death penalty, immediate and unconditional release of all political-conscience prisoners and bringing to an open and fair trial those who ordered and carried out the killings and crimes of The Islamic Republic during the last 33 years. Since its grass roots inception, the members of the group have been arrested and jailed numerous times and several of them have been released on temporary bases with heavy bonds, but are still under intimidation and harassment by the security forces and many of them have received threatening calls that have caused them great psychological wounds.(I)

The mourning mothers are not even allowed to hold memorials for their children and to this day, so many of them and their supporters have been arrested and jailed for attending a memorial. Poetess Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi is one of the supporters, whom has been sentenced to two years without and two years with parole for her support and writing a poem for the mourning mothers and those killed and is at the Evin Prison since December 2011.

Mansoureh Behkish is another one of the supporters of the mourning mothers, whose six of her family members have been killed by the Islamic regime in the 80"s and three of them are buried at the Khavaran Cemetery.(II) She has been arrested several times, has been barred from leaving the country since March 2009 and on December 25, 2011, under the false accusation of "propaganda against the regime" and "to conspire in organizing the group of the mourning mothers, in order to destabilize the national security" was put on trial and is waiting her sentencing. She is the care taker of her 91 year old mother.

To this date, many of The Mothers of Laleh Park have been arrested several times and many have been sentenced. The sentences against Leila Seifolahi, Jila Mahdavian and Omolbanin Ebrahimi have been approved and several other cases are under investigation.

Threats and intimidation against the families of those killed and the political prisoners is increasing day by day. One example is Parvin Mokhtareh, mother of Koohyar Goudarzi(III), who spend about 8 months in prison, only for following up the conditions of her imprisoned son. She was released from Kerman prison on March 19, 2011. Another example is the parents of Behnood Ramezani(IV), whom after their attempted to find out who killed their son, instead of receiving an answer from the regime, got arrested on the anniversary of their son’s death. Also, another example is the mother of Shahrokh Rahmani(V). She states that she received threats that if she tries to investigate her son’s killing, her other sons might "face accidents".

The International Solidarity with The Mothers of Laleh Park considers the arrests of the mothers, their supporters and the families of those killed and the political prisoners, a clear abuse of human rights. We appreciate your constant support for the human and women’s right activists in Iran and urge the European Union’s demand for immediate release of Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi and cancellation of the Islamic court’s sentences against the supporters of The Mothers of Laleh Park and the families of those killed.

Best regards, International Solidarity with The Mothers of Laleh Park March 20, 2012


(I) - this is how The Mothers of Laleh Park describe themselves: We consider individual and mass executions in prisons, killing of ethnic, religious and political minorities, police raids of homes, student dormitories and work places, kidnapping and imprisonment to suppress political dissent, torture and forced confessions, raping prisoners and finally, stoning and ghesas as major crimes. We struggle for the elimination of these crimes. We struggle for a safe and human society free of war, bloodshed, discrimination and intimidation and therefore oppose revenge and physical elimination. At the same time, we believe in order to prevent these crimes, it is necessary for all those from the Islamic regime, who directly or indirectly involved in any of these crimes, to be put on a fair and open trial at a people’s court, be held responsible for their inhuman actions and receive a fair and just sentence, as well as being reeducated with human values. We urge all victims and those who have witnessed these crimes to unite with us. At the same time, we ourselves as victims of discrimination and violence against women, support all actions against violence and for equal rights and call on all the victims of violence to unite with us. (II) - Khavaran Cemetery is where many of those executed in the 80" are buried, including leftist political prisoners whom were mass executed in the summer of 1988 and were buried in mass graves. (III) - Koohyar Goudarzi,a student, human right activist, blog writer and journalist was arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to one year in prison. He was released after finishing his sentence, but arrested again in August 2011 with his mother for "propaganda against the regime" and "organizing and conspiring against the regime" and was sentenced to six years without parole. (IV) - Behnood Ramezani was a nineteen year old student who was killed on Fire Wednesday of 2010, by the hit men of the regime. (V) - Shahrokh Rahmani was a twenty six year old man who was run over by a security force’s automobile and died on the day of ashura of 2009.

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