I excerpted this from a message sent to my wife and me by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL about the current rights situation in Iran.
I find myself upset about Amnesty USA because they've gotten involved in US politics, even though their involvement is on my side. That's damaging to the basic purpose of AMNESTY, which is to stay neutral in domestic politics as an organization so it take advantage of everybody's common feelings about human rights in the world. U.S. AMNESTY, by siding with left wing local politics, has alienated a whole range of people who share concerns about human rights in the rest of the world, however they may deal with them here.
If you want to follow up, please do so on your own. I don't want to push you one way or the other; you have a right to make your own decisions about how, where and if, and I have no desire to debate what I consider an ill-considered policy decision by AMNESTY U.S.A. There will be more information on AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL web sites if you want to write a letter speaking to folks in power in Iran about how they're handling this stuff. If you aren't interested, then you aren't interested, and I don't want to try to convince you do do something you aren't inclined to do.
Today during Iran's Victory of the Revolution Day, when words like "revolution", "independence" and "freedom" are on everyone's lips, fears of torture, repression and death still remain.
The shock is still very much palpable over the two horrific hangings that took place in Iran just weeks ago. The two hanged men became the "fall guys" for the post-Presidential election violence that consumed the streets of Iran last summer. This happened despite the fact that the accused men were nowhere near the widespread demonstrations – they were already in prison!
Now fear mounts again that 9 more men will hang based on similarly outrageous charges. Help focus Iran's attention on its real problem. Urge Iran to stop the executions!
Today as Iranians pour onto the streets once again by the thousands we can't help but fear that their fate may be the same. They are Iranian citizens who gather to peacefully protest and demonstrate against the actions of their own government. But they are corralled like cattle, beaten back with sticks and even dragged away to cages.
But even Iran must answer to someone for these human rights abuses. On Monday, the United Nations Human Rights Council will conduct an in-depth review of Iran's human rights record and recommend concrete actions to improve its standing. Even Iran, known to be strongly resistant to external parties investigating these issues, has called the Council the most competent body in dealing with human rights.
Amnesty's researchers have recommended to the Council that they include the following points in their final review of Iran's human rights record:
Halt all executions of juvenile offenders
End the use of indefinite prison sentences, torture and other forms of ill-treatment in detention
Prohibit the executive use of excessive force by riot police and Basij paramilitaries
Most importantly, we ask that Iranian authorities finally allow independent investigators into the country to observe and report on torture and other human rights abuses directly.
To date, we've relied on the brave reporting being done by citizens in Iran to give us this information. Despite the best efforts of their government to clamp down on all media and communications carrying these stories – even the most recent banning of Google's email service, Gmail – they manage to break through.
We especially can't shake the eerie memory of Neda, a young woman whose brutal death during last summer's demonstrations was captured on video and shared on YouTube – stunning and saddening viewers by the millions.
As we expected, once again YouTube videos, messages on Twitter, and blogs from those participating in today's demonstrations are surfacing – telling the true stories of what's happening on the streets of Iran.
Remember that today we're counting on you to help us raise the voice of those calling for freedom and justice in Iran by showing your support online.
All your messages, blogs, videos and emails are helping to build a stronger case against Iran's human rights record. And Iran will have to answer for it one day very soon.
Thank you for standing with us and the people of Iran,
Elise Auerbach, Christoph Koettl and the rest of the Iran crisis response team