The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) yesterday brought together, in the UK Parliament, the families of Iranian-Swedish Professor Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali and Canadian permanent resident Mr. Saeed Malekpour who were unjustly sentenced to prison in Iran. Since 2015, at least 30 dual-nationals have been imprisoned in Iran on baseless charges, including British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Ratcliffe, marking a stark increase in the country’s political detainees.
Leading researchers and human rights experts, following this travesty of injustice, believe many of those dual-nationals are being used by Iran as bargaining chips for political gain.
Hosted by Graham Jones, Labour MP and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Iran, the conference also highlighted the plight of civil society activists and human rights defenders fighting for institutional reform in Iran.
“I’m delighted to host the International Observatory for Human Rights, and the families of Saeed Malekpour and Ahmadreza Djalali in Parliament. These two men have been jailed by the Iranian regime on fabricated charges of trying to undermine the Islamic Republic. They are only two of many people who have been physically and mentally tortured in jail cells in Iran in order to extract false confessions.” said Mr. Graham Jones, MP.
Joining the panel, via video conference from Sweden, Mrs. Vida Mehrannia, the wife of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali – Iranian-Swedish academic and emergency disaster medicine expert – called for her husband’s death sentence to be repealed.
“I hope that they will change his sentence. He is completely innocent.” said Mrs. Mehrannia.
Mrs. Vida Mehrannia, the wife of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, at our Iran Voices for Freedom event in Parliament.
Ms. Maryam Malekpour, celebrated human rights activist and sister of Saeed Malekpour who is currently serving a life sentence in Iran, was joined by other international experts on the panel. Maryam fled Iran in 2012 after discovering that the Iranian government were planning to arrest her for bringing attention to her brother’s imprisonment.
“I’ve come all the way from Canada. In this week when the Commonwealth Leaders are gathering in London, I want to put forward my case for my brother Saeed to be given full Canadian citizenship. He has now been in prison for 10 years, simply for being a web designer in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t want him to die in prison. He is an innocent man.” said Ms Malekpour.
Other panellists included Ms. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC from Doughty Street Chambers, Ms. Rana Rahimpour from the BBC Persian Service and Dr. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam a representative of the Iran Human Rights Centre.
IOHR Director Valerie Peay opened the conference and welcomed the families of Saeed Malekpour and Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali calling for their release.
“A web designer, a charity worker and a an expert in emergency disaster medicine are dual-nationals who languish in prison in Iran tonight as bargaining chips in a power struggle between Iran and the West. Simply, IOHR is advocating for their release along with all other prisoners unjustly incarcerated in Iran.” said Ms. Valerie Peay.
“Despite introducing its charter on Citizen Rights in 2016, President Rouhani has yet to deliver on improving the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We call on western governments and the Iranian authorities to adhere to universal human rights standards. It’s time for this rhetoric to stop and action to begin.” Peay stressed in her appeal.