To: The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, Louise Arbour, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mohmoud Ahmadinejad and The Head of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED hereby Petition the above Honorable Dignitaries for the immediate exoneration and release of Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi from imprisonment in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
RELEVANT FACTS: Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi is a Shi'a Muslim cleric who supports the freedom speech and the free exercise of religion in Iran. On October 7, 2006 Ayatollah Boroujerdi was arrested along with many of his supporters who had gathered at his home. Although no crime had been committed, witnesses say that they were incarcerated and subjected to torture in section 209 of Evin Prison.
In a special clerical court, without representation by legal counsel, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in exile. Ayatollah Boroujerdi was then coerced, under threat of torture, to give a statement in which he was forced to confess to acts he did not commit. This forced confession was then televised nationally in Iran in an attempt to humiliate Ayatollah Boroujerdi and others who share his belief in the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi has committed no crime. He is a peaceful man who does not advocate violence nor does he threaten the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way. All he has done is to advocate for the unalienable right of the individual to hold personal religious beliefs and to exercise freedom of speech. For this he has been subjected to imprisonment and torture under continuous threat of execution.
STANDARD OF LAW: Article 56 of the UN Charter requires that all member nations pledge to "take joint and separate action in cooperation with the Organization (UN) for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55." Article 55 includes several paragraphs most notably here "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion."
Article 18 Section 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, provides that:
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
Article 19, Sections 1 and 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provide that:
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides in pertinent part:
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
APPLICATION OF LAW AND ARGUMENT: Ayatollah Boroujerdi has been denied his rights under each of the above referenced Articles and sections of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He has been arrested held in confinement and tortured because of his beliefs and for expressing his views on political matters.
On September 24, 2007 Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke in the United States at Columbia University. In response to the introduction from Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, President Ahmadinejad said the following:
“I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all."
"Certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak, and that's fine with me. We'll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that's given to us in this country.”
In his words, which have been communicated to billions of people throughout the world, President Ahmadinejad expressed his belief in the freedom of speech and the right of people to “speak their mind.” Yet, within the nation of Iran people are arrested and tortured for “speaking their mind.”
Now the world is watching to see if Iran will live up to the high standard set by these words of the President Ahmadinejad. Will Iran release Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, who has done nothing more than exercise his right to “speak his mind,” as President Ahmadinejad said, so that “truth is eventually revealed by all.”
THE UNDERSIGNED RESPECTFULLY REQUEST: 1. That the sentence imposed upon Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi be commuted immediately;
2. That the case of Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi be thoroughly reviewed in a manner consistent with the provisions of the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
3. That Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi be released from prison forthwith, that the sentence against him be reversed and that all charges against him be dismissed;
4. That the Islamic Republic of Iran honor its commitment to the United Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the high standard of freedom of religion and speech as has been promised by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his speech at Columbia University.