Special Focus Case: Majid TavakkoliCampaign for Individuals at Risk
Majid Tavakkoli: Overview He is a student leader and member of the Islamic Students Association, working to peacefully represent students’ interests and concerns in Iran. Before arrest, he studied ship building at Amir Kabir University 24 years old Prisoner of Conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression
Majid Tavakkoli: Case Background2009 Copyright atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com Majid Tavakkoli was arrested on December 7, 2009 following his speech at a peaceful rally marking Student Day Demonstration was part of anti-government protests following disputed presidential election in June 2009. He was reportedly beaten during his arrest, sentenced following an unfair trial in January 2010 and held in solitary confinement for several months Majid was tried and sentenced to 8 ½ years of prison during an unfair trial, one in which his lawyer was not allowed to attend
Majid Tavakkoli: Case Background2010 From January to May 2010, he was placed in solitary confinement and was allowed only one brief family visit for 15 minutes During this time, he was staging a hunger strike and was reportedly suffering from a respiratory condition, internal bleeding, and loss of speech. Rajai Shahr Prison, copyright uruknet.info In June 2010, Amnesty International adopted Majid Tavakkoli’s case as part of a campaign to address the Iranian governments stifling of freedom of expression which has escalated since the disputed presidential elections in June 2009
Majid Tavakkoli: Case Background 2010 On December 7, 2010, marking the Student Day anniversary, Majid Tavakkoli and imprisoned student Bahareh Hedayat wrote a joint later praising efforts of Iranian students abroad, and called for the protection and promotion of the Student Movement. Following this letter, both students now face additional charges of “propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security by conspiring against the system.” During a recent interrogation, Majid Tavakkoli was asked to condemn the Student Movement in order to be acquitted from his charges. He refused to do so.
Majid Tavakkoli: Case Background2011 On January 5, 2011, Majid Tavakkoli’s family home was raided by intelligence officers from the Shiraz Ministry of Intelligence and his brother was summoned to appear before the Office of Investigation at the Shiraz Ministry of Intelligence. In response, Majid Tavakkoli published a letter condemning the raid on his family home. Despite a history of arrests, torture, and solitary confinement, Majid Tavakkoli continues to exercise his right to free expression on behalf of thousands of other silenced Iranian students
Majid Tavakkoli: Current Situation Serving 8 ½ years in prison, plus 5 year ban on any involvement in political activities and on leaving the country He faces additional charges of “propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security by conspiring against the system” after publishing the Student Day letter Has been subjected to months in solitary confinement, restricted access to lawyers and family. Suffers from poor health and has been denied proper medical care
Majid Tavakkoli Copyright majidtavakkoli.freepoliticalprisoners.netCASE GOALS: Majid Tavakkoli is immediately and unconditionally released Until his release, Majid Tavakkoli is treated humanely according to international human rights standards and is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and has access to adequate medical care.KEY TARGETS: Supreme Leader - Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei Head of the Judiciary - Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani Speaker of Parliament - Ali Larijani Head of the human rights council in the judiciary and a top adviser to the supreme leader -Mohammad-Javad Larijani
StrategyEngage Allies to Join the Call for Justice: Student Organizations Iranian Diaspora Medical Associations and Networks International Human Rights Organizations Utilize social networking and other communication channels to ensure that people inside Iran know we stand with them in calling for freedom of expression.Raise Profile of Case: Targeted approaches to niche media and selected columnists Engage high level influential peopleJoint initiatives with key international AI sectionsDirect action by AI activists targeting Iran government officials
Key Dates: 2011 November 17: International Students’ Day December 1-4: Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (Washington, DC) December 7: Student Day in Iran/ Anniversary of Majid Tavakkoli’s arrest December 10: International Human Rights Day
Key TacticsCurrent Actions: Pass the Mic (and Shine a Light) for Majid: Take up the microphone to help share Majid’s hopes for “human rights, justice and peace” in Iran. Hold an open mic night, encouraging people to share thoughts about human rights and freedom of expression. NOWRUZ Solidarity Card Action: Send Majid Tavakkoli cards of support. Letter Writing and Postcards: Throughout campaign, we will continue to bombard Iranian government officials with letters and postcards. If you would like to receive post cards. Please contact Ilona Kelly: email@example.com.In Development: “Truthbombs” - Student Radio Series: Public awareness initiative on radio stations and other media outlets. This is an opportunity for the public to speak to the Iran government and call for the release of Majid. Compile “collage” of voices to play on radio station networks. (Shine Some) Lights! Camera! Solidarity!: Create video recordings containing messages of solidarity for Majid and other student activists in Iran. Record yourself reading an excerpt from Majid Tavakkoli’s speeches of writings. Community murals: Work with AI members in East, especially artists and students, to create large scale paintings symbolizing the right to self expression and an iconic image of Majid.
Resources and How to Get Involved For more information and to take action visit: www.amnestyusa.org/majid To receive case updates and to connect with other activists taking action for Majid, join the googlegroup: http://groups.google.com/group/SFC-Majid?hl=en . Key Contacts: AI Mid-Atlantic Regional Office: firstname.lastname@example.org Adrian Groenendyk, Special Focus Case Coordinator, email@example.com Elise Auerbach, Iran Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org Ilona Kelly, Individuals at Risk Campaigner - Africa and the Middle East, Ikelly@aiusa.org