Defenders Under Threat
Narges Mohammadi's Plea from Zanjan Prison: In the Face of Death Sentences, Let Us Not Keep Quiet
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
September 6, 2020
The death sentence of Mr. Navid Afkari, a wrestler and fellow Iranian, has been sent for implementation. While a number of other young people in this country have been sentenced to prison and death over widespread protests against poverty, corruption, and tyranny which have brought the country to the depth of ruin and brink of collapse, the state brings our hearts and consciences to grief by setting up gallows and holding cells.
Iran’ security, intelligence, and un-independent judicial systems have arranged for an organized, coordinated crackdown: by executing these young people, they seek to make these rightful protests look fruitless and to raise the cost of protesting to the level of street massacres and executions. The state imagines that cinching a noose around the neck of a protester can silence the voice of the people, but putting to death exhausted young people will only make the flame of our rage burn brighter.
Poverty, inflation, and economic instability in Iran are the product of systematic corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, and a lack of freedom of expression and popular oversight which has ruined the reputation, dignity, and esteem of the Iranian people, wrecked homes, and driven families apart. No path to keep living remains but that of popular protest, and unfortunately no response is to be seen but the state’s violence, massacres, and executions. If there was once a time political protesters went to the gallows so that human beings could be free, ours now is a time when protesters go to the gallows for the sake of poverty and hunger.
In this grief-filled place of exile, I -- as an Iranian woman in prison, with ten years of my sentence handed down because of opposition to the death penalty, who was forcibly transferred from an ordinary prison with physical violence following my protest against the massacre of November 2019 protesters -- announce my own concern and protest regarding the poverty and helplessness of the Iranian people, the repression of popular protests and the death sentences for those who went into the streets, and the flaunting of these tyrannical death sentences.
Let us demand that Iranians, as well as those who seek freedom and justice all over the world, be the voice of protesters like Navid Afkari as long as a noose hangs over throats raw from crying out.