The First Day of Spring Should Not Be Spent Behind Bars in Iran

March 18, 2015

Friends from Scholars at Risk taking the Nowruz action
Friends from Scholars at Risk taking the Nowruz action

Former Iranian prisoner of conscience Maziar Bahari said “the prisoner’s worst nightmare is the thought of being forgotten.”   The first day of spring is a particularly painful time for those incarcerated in Iran because it is Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, an ancient holiday that is the occasion for joyous celebration with family and friends. That is why it is so important to remind prisoners of conscience that they are NOT forgotten at Nowruz time.

This year marks the seventh year that Amnesty International USA is asking activists to take the Nowruz action, to mail Nowruz greetings to prisoners of conscience and their families. We know that in the past, families of prisoners have received hundreds of Nowruz cards and they have reported how much it meant to them to know they were not alone.

This year we ask activists to remember talented physicist Omid Kokabee, women’s rights activist Bahareh Hedayat, student activist Zia Nabavi, human rights attorney Abdolfattah Soltani, journalist and Kurdish rights activist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, trade union activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, and the seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community. All are unjustly imprisoned. Many of them are ill and in urgent need of medical attention being denied to them by the authorities.We insist that the authorities release them immediately and unconditionally.

Our friends from Scholars at Risk have shared with us their plans for taking the Nowruz action. They are taking photos of five SAR staff members each holding their cards addressed to five different prisoners of conscience. Each photo will be incorporated into three-part collage graphics (photo of staff member, photo of prisoner, and a short bio of the prisoner with the call to action) which they will share via social media over the five days leading up to Nowruz.

We encourage everyone to take pictures of themselves with their Nowruz cards and post the pictures on social media. Please share with us.

This action will not take much of your time, but will mean so much to the prisoners and their families who need consolation and support at this time.

Nowruz cards 2015
Nowruz cards sent to prisoners of conscience

Please take the time to send them a card today. You will be making such a difference in their lives! The Nowruz action can be taken through the middle of April. Thank you.