The Iranian holiday Nowruz (نوروز or “new day”) is an ancient holiday that takes place on the first day of spring to celebrate the new year. Each Nowruz, Scholars at Risk partners with Amnesty International for their #NowruzAction Campaign, an effort to remember prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Iran.
This year, SAR will write to Iranian prisoners of conscience Hamid Babaei and Abdolfattah Soltani to share Nowruz cheer and raise awareness about their cases. We ask that you join us by writing a brief, non-political Nowruz greeting on a spring-themed card to be sent to these courageous scholars. Nowruz is a time of renewal and letters should be sent with the intent of giving these scholars a sense of acknowledgement and hope. You may send a greeting in either English or Farsi (Persian) but please do not mention Scholars at Risk, Amnesty International, specifics of the recipient’s case, or the political situation, human rights or U.S.-Iran relations.
Before mailing your Nowruz card, take a “selfie” with your card visible, and post your photo to Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to tag Amnesty-Iran (@AmnestyIran) and SAR (@ScholarsatRisk), and use #NowruzAction in your post so we can further spread the message.
Hamid Babaei, Iran
Doctoral student of finance Hamid Babaei is serving a six-year prison sentence for allegedly “acting against national security by communicating with a hostile government.” Authorities have used the scholarship funding Me. Babei received from the University of Leige for his PhD as evidence in support of the charge. SAR is concerned that Mr. Babei was sentenced in retaliation for his refusal to spy on Iranian students in Belgium. Further, SAR is concerned about the continued deterioration of Mr. Babaei’s health as a result of improper access to medical care.
You can send Nowruz greetings to Hamid Babaei at:
Rajai Shahr Prison
Alborz Province, Karaj, Gohardasht,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Abdolfattah Soltani, Iran
Abdolfattah Soltani is a prominent human rights lawyer and co-founder, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. Mr. Soltani has been arrested on multiple occasions, most recently on September 10, 2011 on charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime” and “endangering national security,” for which he is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence. SAR is concerned about the disregard of international standards of due process and fair trial in the case of Mr. Soltani as well as his lack of access to medical treatment, legal representation, and family visitation.
You can send Nowruz greetings to Abdolfattah Soltani at:
c/o Iran Team, Middle East and North Africa Programme
Amnesty International/ International Secretariat
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW