Valerie Peay, the director of the International Observatory of Human Rights invited Muratcan Sabuncu, the son of Murat Sabuncu the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper unjustly jailed in Turkey ahead of the hearing scheduled for March 9th.
Sabuncu also the president of the Sorbonne Human Rights Association and the IOHR delegation met with officials and human rights activists at the United Nations in Geneva on the sidelines of the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.
On the evening of the United National Human Rights Council’s main annual sessions human rights heroes, activists, and former political prisoners from many nations testified about their personal tribulations and advocated for human rights, rule of law, freedoms, and democracy.
IOHR correspondent Trish Lynch interviewed former prisoners and families of detainees including Maryam Malekpour the sister of Saeed Malekpour a Canadian permanent resident and computer programmer serving a life sentence in Iran on baseless charges.
“My brother is a victim of a political ploy. He was used by the Iranian authorities to inflict fear on Iranian civil society to scare them away from the internet, especially that at the time of my brother’s abduction blogging was blooming in Iran and people were using the net to express themselves online,” Maryam said on stage before she detailed the torture her brother endured and the incriminating false confessions he was forced to sign.
Malekpour called on the Iranian authorities to release her brother detained in Evin prison since 2008.
Lam Wing Kee the former owner and manager of a Hong Kong bookshop known for its distribution of politically-related publications previously abducted and detained by Chinese authorities in October 2015 spoke about his experience.
“The Chinese government should be condemned for committing these abductions and violating human rights. I finally changed my route and decided to go the media, publicize the story and seek justice,” Wing Kee said.
Among the influential speakers who took the stage at the panel was Mr. Irwin Cotler the former Canadian Minister of Justice, member of parliament and advocate for political prisoners.
“This must be our task – to speak on those who cannot be heard. If we do that which we can, which we must, then at the end of the day, justice will prevail,” Cotler said from the podium.
The event organized on the World Day of Social Justice featured a line-up of speakers such as Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist formerly jailed in Iran, Asli Erdogan a Turkish novelist, political prisoner who was released in December 2016, and Kenneth Bay, a survivor of the North Korean gulag, and the longest-held American prisoner.
The speakers called for universal change, and highlighted issues related to press freedom, social justice, human rights and democracy.
“This summit brought a kaleidoscope of human rights issues into focus by giving a platform to the people who have experienced the direct impact of violations of their basic rights as humans. The IOHR team of advocates and journalists participated for the first time at the Geneva Summit to broadcast the insights of some of those incredible individuals for the audience of our IOHR web TV, ” commented Peay from Geneva.