Amnesty International's "Nowruz Action"

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Yaran Amnesty InternationalThe Persian holiday Nowruz (“new day”) is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. On this Nowruz we want to remember several courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran with Nowruz greetings. We ask you to send cards with simple Nowruz greetings such as “Nowruz mobarak”

You can say “thinking of you at Nowruz time” or “hoping you are well.” You may send a greeting in either English or Farsi (Persian) but please do not mention Amnesty International or specifics of the recipient’s case. Please also refrain from mentioning the political situation, human rights or U.S.-Iran relations. We suggest sending cards with pictures of landscapes, spring flowers or the like, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday and the message of hope and renewal. Please do not choose cards that have pictures of people, and please do not use cards that depict bottles of wine or other alcoholic beverages.

Traditional Nowruz celebrations include the preparation of a Haft Sin table which literally means the seven s’s. Seven items beginning with the Persian letter sin (equivalent to the English s) and which represent spring time are set out. To honor this tradition, this year Amnesty International has selected seven cases, all of them prisoners of conscience who have been identified by Amnesty International as “individuals at risk” and are therefore targeted for intensified campaigning. Several of them have been sentenced to long prison terms for their peaceful activism and several are in poor health.

Yaran Standing SEVEN BAHA’IS
Seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community were sentenced to twenty years in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 7 August 2010. Their sentence was reduced to ten years in September. Although they have done nothing more than peacefully practice their religion, they were convicted on serious, but baseless, charges including “espionage for Israel,” “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the system.” They had also been charged with “ifsad fil arz” or “corruption on earth.” All seven had been held in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence, but they were moved to Raja’i Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison in Karaj-used to house violent criminals and where sanitary conditions are particularly poor. They have only been allowed intermittent access to their lawyers while they have been in custody.

The seven include two women, Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, and five men: Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaei, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm. All are leading members of a group responsible for the Baha’i community’s religious and administrative affairs. Mahvash Sabet who acted as the group’s secretary, was arrested on 5 March 2008. The others were arrested on 14 May 2008. They have only been allowed very limited access to their lawyers while they have been in custody.

You can send Nowruz greetings to the seven Baha’is to:

Zendane Rajaee Shahr
Bulvare Moazen
Karaj Iran

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