Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Abdolreza Ghanbari of Iran
March 14, 2012
Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned for Professor of Abdolreza Ghanbari, a lecturer in Persian literature at Payame Nour University and high school teacher in Iran. SAR asks for letters, faxes and emails urging the appropriate authorities to examine the circumstances of Professor Ghanbari’s arrest, detention, and sentencing; to intervene to reverse his death sentence; and, pending his earliest release, to intervene to ensure his well-being and access to family and counsel in custody.
Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 270 universities and colleges in 34 countries dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion, expression, association and travel. In cases like that of Professor Ghanbari involving alleged infringement of these freedoms Scholars at Risk intervenes hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.
According to the information SAR has received, Professor Ghanbari completed a PhD in Persian language and literature and has taught literature at high schools and at Payame Nour University. On January 4, 2010, he was arrested at his home in Pakdasht. Reports indicate that he was tried on January 30, 2010 on charges of “enmity against God” (Moharebeh) for allegedly participating in protests on the holiday of Ashura in December 2009, and sentenced to death. Scholars at Risk understands that while Professor Ghanbari was detained in Evin Prison before his trial, he was interrogated and forced to confess under duress the charges against him. Reports indicate that he was tried without being permitted to select legal counsel of his choosing and without access to family. We further understand that the Tehran Appeals Court, Branch 36, upheld Professor Ghanbari’s death sentence in April 2010 and that the Commission of Justice in Tehran rejected his request for pardon on February 28, 2012.
Absent any additional or contrary information, the facts as described appear to constitute violations of academic freedom and other internationally recognized human rights and standards of due process, fair trial and detention, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is signatory. Scholars at Risk finds these suggestions particularly distressing and unfortunate, given Iran’s rich intellectual history and traditional support for the values of scholarship and free inquiry. We therefore join with national and international academic associations, human rights organizations and individual scholars in respectfully urging appropriate authorities to ensure that Iran’s obligations under international law are upheld with regard to Professor Ghanbari and other intellectuals in Iran. We respectfully urge authorities to examine the circumstances of Professor Ghanbari’s arrest, detention, and sentencing; to intervene to reverse his death sentence; and, pending his earliest release, to intervene to ensure his well-being and access to family and counsel in custody.
Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent:
-respectfully urging authorities to examine the circumstances of Professor Ghanbari’s arrest, detention, and sentencing;
-respectfully urging authorities to intervene to reverse Professor Ghanbari’s death sentence; and
-respectfully urging authorities to intervene to ensure Professor Ghanbari’s well-being and access to family and counsel in custody, pending his earliest release.
PLEASE WRITE TO:
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Ambassador of Iran to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
662 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1 (212) 867-7086
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh
(Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. (south of Serah-e Jomhouri)
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
United States Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520 USA
The Honorable Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
The Honorable _________
Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to [YOUR COUNTRY]
(See http://www.mfa.gov.ir/cms/cms/Tehran/en/Missions/ for a list of Iranian embassies worldwide.)
The Honorable _________
Ambassador of [YOUR COUNTRY] to the Islamic Republic of Iran
Scholars at Risk
New York University
194 Mercer St., 4th floor
New York, NY 10012 USA
Fax: +1 212 995-4402
To view a model letter of appeal, as well as a copy of SAR's letter, please visit: http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Education-Advocacy/Alerts-Scholars-in-Prison.php.