To the Honourable Prime Minister of Turkey,
Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Mr. Prime Minister,
There are presently 22 men and women in imminent danger of being stoned to death in Iran, Sakineh Mohammad Ashtiani - a young mother of two children, who has been unjustifiably and wrongly condemned to death by the Islamic authorities- is one of them. As Samuel Johnson said “an Injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”. The International community applauded President da Silva of Brazil and President Sarkozy of France, in addition to many other leaders of the world who have publicly and officially, condemned the regime in Iran requesting clemency for this woman.
Due to your friendship and close relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, you are in a great position to denounce the stoning of Ms. Ashtiani and the 21 others accused of adultery. As a devoted Muslim leader of a secular Islamic nation, this open letter is intended to remind you of your religious obligation and your moral duty to ask the authorities of the Islamic Republic to scrap the savage act of stoning by reforming the laws that permit such barbaric acts.
Mr. Prime Minister, as you are well aware, there is no such verse or instruction in the Qur’an about stoning. Even according to Islamic Hadiths, it is almost impossible to prove "Zena"; please remind the Islamic Republic of Iran that their savage and barbaric behavior is hurting and damaging Islam. According to a recent poll conducted in the conservative religious city of Mashhad in Iran, students were turning away from Islam and converting to other religions including Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and others.
Let the ruling theocratic junta in the Islamic Republic of Iran know that Turkey, a Muslim country, does not approve of these horrendous, despicable, and barbaric acts of stoning. Moreover, such atrocities, which are against internationally accepted human rights
norms, must stop immediately and permanently.
The severing of limbs is also state sanctioned and continues to this day. In fact last month five people had their limbs cut off in the city of Hamadan. Both men and women have been systematically raped and tortured while in custody, under the rule of the Islamic government during the past 31 years since the 1979 Revolution. There is an abundance of well documented evidence of such kinds of human rights abuses. Testimonials of individuals who have survived abuse inside the torture chambers of Kahrizak prison are publicly available. Many who have suffered under the current regime have taken refuge in your country. Many are still waiting for asylum by UNHCR. By showing your support and solidarity with the Iranian people, eventually you will no longer have to carry the heavy burden of hosting thousands of peace-loving refugees who are stationed at camps throughout Turkey. Instead, those same refugees and many million immigrants who fled since the so called Islamic revolution, will be able to return to a stable democratic Iran. Already Turkey receives an impressive inflow of Iranian tourists and business which will only increase under a democratic, transparent Iran ruled by human rights and the rule of law.
The regime in Iran is recognized as the number one executioner of children under age of 18 in the world. Girls from the age of nine, and boys from the age of 15 are considered adults from the point of view of the penal code in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic regime routinely executes political prisoners, and is thus recognized as the number one nation for the execution of adults in the world on a per capita basis. This year alone the number will exceed well over 400 executions, higher than previous years particularly because of the arrests of peaceful protesters since the fraudulent Presidential elections in June 2009.
In Iran, there is gender apartheid where the value of a life of a woman is officially considered as being valued half that of a man. Indigenous minority, religious and ethnic groups face persecution, discrimination and injustice in many aspects of life. Freedom does not exist especially because the media and communication systems are under state control.
After thirty years of lies and deceit, disguised under the religious robes of the mullahs, the world is finally realizing and witnessing just how brutal and murderous the Islamic Republic of Iran really is. They have witnesses how the IRI behaves towards its own innocent citizens, savagely crushing any peaceful civil protests, including funeral processions. This inhuman behaviour is carried out by well paid mercenary thugs financed by uncontrolled, unaccountable oil money belonging to the state. It is a reminder to all Iranians that they live under a fascist and tyrannical regime such as that of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.
Mr. Prime Minister, there are thousands of other innocent political and human rights activists, NGO workers, writers, heads of unions, bloggers, movie directors, students, government employees, men , women, young and old also at imminent danger of being executed. As long as international pressure is maintained, many of their lives will be temporarily safe; however those that are unknown will be stoned to death or hanged in secret.
Mr. Erdogan, addressing such systematic and flagrant state-sponsored criminality is not considered "interference” in another country’s internal affairs. It is everyone’s duty and responsibility to acknowledge and confront the abusers of human rights especially considering the scale and magnitude of the IRI’s abuses of its own citizens. Failing to prevent and condemn such actions is considered complicity in a criminal act by international standards. History and the Iranian people will never forget or forgive.
Mr. Erdogan, Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei are not considered legitimate leaders for the Iranian people, for their hands are eternally tainted with the blood of innocent Iranians. A plebiscite under the supervision of international organizations will provide affirmation of this assertion. These men were warned that their time is over, and were given an opportunity to leave the country before more bloodshed. If they do not leave willingly, sooner or later they will be forced and face the same fate as all other tyrants before them.
Mr. Prime Minister, governments and regimes come and go; the Islamic Republic is no exception. However, nations and neighbors will remain. The Iranian people will always remember those who stood beside them in their hour of need. Moral support is what the Iranian people expect of you at this difficult time. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban grew because the “silent majority “of Muslims kept quiet. The same will occur again if Islamic nations worldwide do not confront the inhumane behaviour of the Islamic Republic. This inaction will affect your country, the Middle East and the world. Staying silent and indifferent could mean a gradual death sentence for all of us and future generations.
As Albert Einstein once said : "The world is a dangerous place, not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. Mr. Erdogan, no one wants to be remembered and named in the history books as an accessory to crimes against humanity. Mr. Prime Minister, thus far, you have remained silent. For the sake of humanity, and to stop the cycle of abuse and atrocities, please break your silence.
Mr. A. Afshin Jam
Mr. Afshin Jam is an Iranian-Canadian pro-democracy and human rights activist. He fled Iran and settled in Canada in 1980, after being tortured and imprisoned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran.
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