This blog post was written by Cardiff Amnesty members Seth Olner and Tomos Owen.
As many of you will be aware, Iran has been on a vicious campaign of arbitrarily detaining dual national citizens for a number of years. Many detained are initially arrested on massively trumped up charges, which often have no real legal basis. The treatment that prisoners then face has come under global scrutiny and has regularly been found to amount to torture.
Mehran Raoof is just one individual that has found himself in this position. Mehran is a British-Iranian dual national and labour rights activist, who was detained last October by Iranian authorities and sent to Evin Prison. Amnesty International has been calling for his release ever since and Amnesty Cardiff has been continuing their efforts to campaign for Mehran and others in a similar situation.
The Amnesty Cardiff Group were extremely disappointed to learn that Mehran has been sentenced to a further 10 years in prison, along with Nahid Taghavi, a German-Iranian retired architect. Both were sentenced for allegedly belonging to an illegal group and spreading anti-government propaganda, as announced last month.
Mehran, a trades union supporter and labour rights activist, is by no means guilty of any crime. It is widely believed, particularly by his own family, that he is yet another scapegoat in the Iranian government’s crackdown on labour rights and trades unions, and is being used as a pawn for international leverage.
Mehran has not been granted access to a free and fair trial and continues to be held in the notorious Evin prison, where recent videos emerged of heinous abuse towards prisoners at the hand of guards. He is also being held in solitary confinement. These are not conditions suitable for any prisoner, let alone an innocent man.
Amnesty International has deemed Mehran as a prisoner of conscience, meaning he is unlawfully imprisoned simply for holding political beliefs contrary to that of the Iranian regime, and as punishment for his brave, innocent actions his life is only thrown into more uncertainty. He has already tried to take his life three times as a result of his unfair treatment and his family worry his mental health may deteriorate further.
Amnesty Cardiff continue to call for Mehran’s unconditional release, as well as the release of all other arbitrarily detained dual nationals in Iran, and demand an end to the regime’s restrictions on civil liberties, such as the freedom to unionise. It is of paramount importance that the British government continues to advocate for Mehran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori and does everything in its power to bring its people home.
If you wish to get involved with campaigning for the release of Mehran Raoof and other detained British-Iranian dual nationals, you can write letters to your MP and the Foreign Office requesting that the UK government act in reaching a resolution with Iran for the release of these prisoners. You can also tweets messages of support using the hashtag #FreeMehranRaoof and #BringThemHome.