The Corner

Death of a Voice for Freedom

From an e-mail:

Last night, Akbar Mohammadi, a 36 year-old pro-democracy activist who

was on a hunger strike to protest his own detention and call for the

release of all political prisoners, died in the Evin Prison in Tehran.

Mohammadi, who had spent several years in prison, had been arrested

along with thousands of other students (including his brother Mohammad)

following the 1999 students protest triggered by the vigilantes attack

on a peaceful campus rally in support of freedom of the press. The

attack led to the murder of at least one student, a crime which was left

unpunished. Mohammadi and several others had been initially sentenced

to death but their sentences were reduced to 15 years imprisonment as a

result of the international pressure on the Iranian government.

Mohammadi, who like many other detainees had testified about being

subjected to harsh physical and psychological torture, was released for

medical reasons. The doctors had determined that his physical condition

did not allow him to endure prison conditions. However, the Iranian

authorities arrested him again 2 months ago.

Akbar’s death should be a serious warning to the international

community, which is consumed by Iran’s nuclear standoff against the West

and its role in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Democracies are the

natural allies of pro-democracy activists around the world. They should

not ignore the alarming surge in assassinations and the massive

crackdown that Iran has launched against pro-democracy activists who

call for the respect of the fundamental freedoms, and an end to

discriminations based on religion, gender, and political beliefs.

Roya Boroumand

Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

For the Promotion of

Human Rights and Democracy in Iran

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