Upcoming Revolution Day in Iran: An appeal for freedom of opinion


Published in German daily newspaper “Tageszeitung” (taz) on February 7 2010
Source (German): http://www.taz.de/1/politik/asien/artikel/1/ein-appell-fuer-meinungsfreiheit/

“taz” is documenting an appeal to Iran, signed by 140 intellectuals from 20 countries, among them Shirin Ebadi and Judith Butler.

photo: dpa

Eight months after the disputed results of the presidential elections were announced, protests against the Iranian regime continue. Despite massive threats, hundreds of thousands take to the streets to defend their civil rights and protest against electoral fraud and restriction of their freedoms. The regime, however, responds to their demands with terror and violent repression.

In addition to the conventional apparatus of repression, the regime has mobilized irregular forces who attack peaceful demonstrators with knives and fire arms. Neither private homes, nor student dormitories are spared. Torture and rape in prisons happen on a daily basis. Courts issue death penalties in mass trials and show trials. A system of arbitrary interpretation of  the law is supposed to legitimize the reign of terror.

Despite thousands of arrests and public self incriminations that were coerced under torture and are broadcasted on TV, the protests have not stopped. While basic political freedoms are being denied, the Iranian people use every opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of their non-violent strategy.

The Iranian regime, which had set its hopes on a gradual exhaustion of the democratic movement, is now confronted with an increasing and power-gaining wave of protests that expresses even stronger demands than before. Meanwhile, the slogans of the protesters even attack the theocratic structures of the system. Under the given circumstances, it is not surprising that a new wave of violence and repression is rampantly threatening the Iranian civil society.

Now, the intellectuals and democrats of this world must with all might protest against these threats, and assure the Iranian people, that is defending its indisputable rights, of their support. It is the indifference and passivity of the international public that enables the Iranian regime to uphold their approach of repressive violence.

On this occasion we, the undersigned, express our unconfined support for the freedom of press and the civil liberties of the Iranian people. We demand the release of all intellectuals, journalists, and political activists who were arrested and are now suffering torture. We generally condemn the violence and the repression that deprives the Iranian people of its right of political self-determination. We call on all international organizations to demand of the Iranian regime to adhere to democratic rights.

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