Tuesday, January 25, 2011

132 Intellectuals from Across the Globe Call on Khamenei to Release Ebrahim Yazdi & All Other Prisoners of Conscience

Tuesday January 25th, 2011 - According to reports by Tahavole Sabz in a letter addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei, 132 intellectuals, writers and university professors from across the world call on the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi and all other prisoners of conscience held in the Islamic Republic of Iran whose sole offense has been to speak out peacefully against the policies of their government, for their continued incarceration would be considered in clear violation of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic and the international obligations of Iran.

The signatories of this letter include Richard Falk, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and other intellectuals and university professors such as Noam Chomsky, Juergen Habermas, Rashid Khalidi, John L. Esposito and Cornell West to name a few.

The full content of the letter addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei by 132 intellectuals, writers and university professors from across the world and provided to Tahavole Sabz is as follows:

The Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Sayyed Ali Khamenei

January 24, 2011

We are writing to appeal to you for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi and all prisoners of conscience in the Islamic Republic of Iran whose sole offence is to speak out peacefully against the policies of your government. Their detention and abuse is an unjustifiable violation of internationally accepted norms of human rights and international law and is surely an affront to all religions that are based on the principles of justice, legality, and compassion. Furthermore, the detention of these prisoners of conscience is in violation of Iran’s own constitution and laws as well as Iran’s international obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, both of which the Islamic Republic of Iran has formally endorsed.

Ebrahim Yazdi is a man of honor who has for over 60 years devoted his life to democratic reforms in Iran and the promotion of respect for human rights throughout the Muslim world. Before the revolution, for two decades, he lived in exile where he worked tirelessly to expose the abusive rule of the Pahlavi monarchy. After the 1979 Revolution, he served with dignity and loyalty as Iran’s Foreign Minister under Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan. While in office, these two exceptional political leaders, opposed on principle the summary and arbitrary executions of enemies of the Iranian regime being carried out at that time. They later resigned in protest against the seizure of the US embassy in November 1979. Ebrahim Yazdi is today the Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran (Nehzat-e Azadi Iran). He and the Freedom Movement have unequivocally insisted that their activities rely only on legal and non-
violent methods of political opposition. He opposed the continuation of the war with Iraq after the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Iranian territory in 1982. As a believer in national reconciliation he has devoted himself to dialogue and mutual respect between Iran’s various political and social groups and has championed social and political reform and minority rights. For over thirty years, Ebrahim Yazdi has been a voice for moderation inside Iran, rejecting all initiatives by Iran’s governing elites that lead to violence, cause enmity within the society, and involve denials of human dignity. He has bravely criticized illegal government actions and the concentration of power in the hands of a few.

Dr. Yazdi has been arrested three times since the 2009 presidential election in Iran. At the time of his most recent arrest on October 1, 2010, he was attending a prayer service in a private house in the city of Isfahan. Police violently attacked the home and took him and several others into custody under the pretext that this was “an unauthorized prayer service”. Ebrahim Yazdi is now 80 years of age and in poor health. Indeed, at the age of 80, Dr. Yazdi is the oldest political prisoner in Iran and one of the oldest captives held anywhere in the world. Your government has subjected him to repeated and lengthy imprisonment as well as debilitating interrogations, definitely contributing to his need for emergency open heart surgery. Continued imprisonment may result in further severe deteriorations in his health.

We respectfully appeal to you to instruct your government to release Ebrahim Yazdi and all other non-violent prisoners of conscience in Iran, including Nasrin Sotoodeh, Mohammad Nourizad, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdullah Momeni, Majid Tavakkoli, Farid Taheri, Emad Bahavar, Bahareh Hedayat, Jafar Panahi, Leila Tavassoli, Mahdiyeh Golroo, Mohsen Mirdamadi, Feizullah Arab Sorkhi, Emaddedin Baghi, Mansour Osanloo, Issa Saharkhiz, Masoud Bastani, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Hoda Saber, Nazanin Khosravani, Mohsen Safaii Farahani, Reihaneh Tabatabai, Sajedeh Kinoush Rad, Mohsen Aminzadeh, Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, Farzaneh Roustaii, Mehdi Mahmoodian, Zhila Bani Yaghoob, Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, and Fariborz Raiis Dana.

We appeal to you to end this disregard for human rights that will eventually destroy all trust between your government and Iran’s citizens and block national dialogue and reform through reliance on the democratic institutions and practices of civil society. Wherever normal political activities of citizens is prevented and punished, other less peaceful means of change become inevitable. The regime of the late Shah of Iran is a telling example of the political consequences of such a degeneration of the Iranian governing process. Against all odds, with admirable courage, and at great human sacrifice, the people of Iran were ultimately successful in removing Shah’s powerful, yet abusive regime. The goal of the Iranian Revolution was to realize its inspiring vision of independence, freedom, constitutional governance, and popular sovereignty. Again, we appeal to you to release all prisoners of conscience in your prisons and to start a forthright dialogue with the Iranian people to bring that noble vision back to life and turn it finally into a reality. The
people of Iran deserve nothing less.

Richard Falk
Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
Research Professor, Global Studies, University of California-Santa Barbara

A copy was sent to:
Ayatullah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Head of the Assembly of Experts and Expediency Council, Islamic
Republic of Iran
Ayatullah Sadeqh Larijani, Head of Judiciary, Islamic Republic of Iran
Dr. Mahmood Ahmadinejad, President, Islamic Republic of Iran
Dr. Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Majlis, Islamic Republic of Iran
Mr. Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United Nations

Appeal’s Supporting Names and Signatures

Douglas Allen
Professor of Philosophy, University of Maine
Alice Amsden
Barton L. Weller Professor of Development Economics, MIT
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im (from Sudan)
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Laurance S Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values,
Princeton University; President, PEN American Center; Chair, Board of Officers, American Philosophical
Sibylle Appuhn-Radtke
Professor for the History of Arts, University of Erlangen, Germany
Andrew Arato
Professor in Political and Social Theory, New School for Social Research
Stanley Aronowitz
Distinguished Professor of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
Talal Asad
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Anthony Barnett
Founder, Open Democracy
Robert N. Bellah
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Ronald Beiner
Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto
Seyla Benhabib
Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy Yale University
Richard J. Bernstein
Vera List Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research
Michael Bérubé
Paterno Family Professor in Literature, Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities,
The Pennsylvania State University
Michael Bordt
President of the Munich School of Philosophy, Germany
Rony Brauman
Professeur at Sciences Po (Paris), former president of MSF ( France)
Stephen Eric Bronner
Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University
Rainer Brunner
Directeur de recherche, CNRS, Paris, France
Ian Buruma
Henry R. Luce Professor, at Bard College, New York
Charles E. Butterworth
Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland
Craig Calhoun
University Professor of the Social Sciences, Director, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University
Craig Campbell
Director and Professor, Public Safety Management Program, St. Edward's University
Richard Caplan
Professor of International Relations
Director, Centre for International Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
Jose Casanova
Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, at Georgetown
Peter Chelkowski
University Professor
Partha Chatterjee
Professor of anthropology, Columbia University, New York
Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor (retired), MIT, Cambridge MA, USA
Simon Critchley
Chair Department of philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York
Fred Dallmayr
Chair and Professor of Philosophy and Political Science, Senior Fellow of the Kroc Institute
for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Joyce Davis,
President of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg and an independent journalist and media consultant
Ariel Dorfman
Author, Distinguished Professor, Duke University
Shadia Drury
Professor of Philosophy, University of Regina
Martín Espada
Professor of English, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
John L. Esposito
University Professor and Founding Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim
Understanding, George Town University
Roxanne L. Euben
Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College
Michel Feher
Patrick Franke
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Bamberg, Germany
Edward Friedman
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Johan Galtung
Founder TRANSCEND, Professor of Peace Studies
Robert Gassmann
Prof. em. of Chinese Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Todd Gitlin
Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Chair, Ph. D. Program in Communications, Columbia University
Jürgen Habermas
Philosopher and Social Thinker
Gerd Haeffner
Professor of Philosophy, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany
Michael Hainz
Institute of Societal Politics, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany
Thomas Harrison
Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
W. D. Hart
Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Seamus Heaney
Professor, Previously Teaching at Harvard
Sonja Hegasy
Vice-Director of the Center of the Modern Orient, Berlin, Germany
David Held
Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science, LSE, United Kingdom
Dick Howard
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, SUNY at Stony Brook
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
David B. Ingram
Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
Mark Juergensmeyer
Director Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies University of California, Santa Barbara
M.H. Kaldor
Prof. of Global Governance, London School of Economics
Otto Kallscheuer
Political Philosopher, University of Sassari, Italy
John Keane
Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB)
Thomas Keenan
Professor, Bard College
Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies Department of History, Columbia University
Anke von Kügelgen
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Bern, Switzerland
Mirjam Künkler
Assistant Professor in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Timur Kuran
Professor of Economics and Political Science and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University
Ernesto Laclau
Emeritus Professor at Essex University, UK
Joanne Landy
Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
Robert D. Lee
Professor of Political Science, Colorado College
Jesse Lemisch
Professor Emeritus, History, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Zachary Lockman
Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and of History, New York University
Claudio Lomnitz
Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
Steven Lukes
Professor of Sociology at New York University
Cecelia Lynch
Professor of Political Science, and Director, Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies, UC Irvine
Alan Macfarlane, F.B.A.
Professor of Anthropological Science, Emeritus, University of Cambridge
Mahmood Mamdani
Professor and Director, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
and Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Columbia University, New York
Ulrika Mårtensson
Associate professor, Religious studies, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Brinkley Messick
Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
Pankaj Mishra
Tariq Modood, MBE, AcSS
Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, Director, University Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity
and Citizenship and Founding Co-editor of Ethnicities (Sage), University of Bristol, UK
Ebrahim Moosa
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religion, Duke University
Rosalind Morris
Professor, Anthropology, Columbia University
Chantal Mouffe
Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London
Johannes Müller
Prof. Dr., Institute for Social and Development Studies (Institut für Gesellschaftspolitik) at the Munich School of
Philosophy, Germany
Anne Norton
Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Claus Offe
Dr. rer. pol. Dr. h. c. Claus Offe, Dipl.-Soz., Professor em. of Political Science
Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany
Friederike Pannewick
Professor of Arab Studies, Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Universität Marburg, Germany
Philip Pettit
L.S.Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values, Princeton University
Philip Pettit
Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
Katha Pollitt
Noah Porter
Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University, Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in
Culture, University of Virginia
Hilary Putnam
University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
Joanne Rappaport
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Georgetown University
Joseph Raz
Thomas M. Macioce Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
Stefan Reichmuth
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Bochum, Germany
David Rieff
Maurus Reinkowski
Professor of Islamic Studies and the History of the Islamic Peoples, University of Basel, Switzerland
Friedo Ricken
Professor em. of Philosophy at Munich School of Philosophy and University of Salzburg
William R. Roff
Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University, New York
Hon. Professorial Fellow, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Visiting Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University
Stephan Rosiny
German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Institute of Middle East Studies, Hamburg, Germany
Sara Roy
Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
Sharon Stanton Russell, BA, MA, MPA, PHD
Research Affiliate at Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and, in 1974-1975
Academic Year, Consultant for Manpower Policy, Planning and Evaluation of the Kavar Village Health Worker
Project, from the Department of Community Medicine, Pahlavi University School of Medicine, Shiraz, Iran
Alfred Stepan
Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University
Malise Ruthven, Ph.D.,
independent researcher and writer based in London UK
Joe Sacco
Saskia Sassen
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Reinhard Schulze
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Bern, Switzerland
Christoph Schumann
Professor for Politics and Contemporary History of the Middle East, University of Erlangen, Germany
Jillian Schwedler
Associate Professor and Honors Program Director Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts
Richard Sennett
School Professor of Sociology, emeritus, The London School of Economics
Martin Shaw
Professorial Fellow in International Relations and Human Rights, Roehampton University, London
Research Professor of International Relations, Sussex University
Samer S. Shehata
Assistant Professor of Arab Politics, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
David Schweickart
Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
Tamara Sonn
Wm. R. Kenan Professor of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies, College of William & Mary
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,
University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Christian Steineck
Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Alfred Stepan
Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University
Jeffrey Stout
Professor of Religion, Princeton University
Charles Taylor
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University
Mary Ann Tetreault
Cox Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Trinity University
Justin Tiwald
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, San Francisco State University
Chris Toensing
Executive Director, Middle East Research and Information Project
Michael J. Thompson
Professor, William Paterson University
Andreas Trampota
Munich School of Philosophy, Germany
Stephen Van Evera
Ford International professor of Political Science, MIT
Johannes Wallacher
Professor for Social Sciences, Economics and Ethics, Munich School of Philosophy, Germany
Michael Walzer
Professor (emeritus) of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, co-editor of Dissent
Wolfram Weisse
Director of the Academy of World Religions, University of Hamburg, Germany
Cornell West
Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
Stefan Wild
Professor em. of Semitic Languages and Islamic Studies, University of Bonn, Germany
Nicholas Wolterstorff
Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University; and Senior Fellow, Institute for
Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
Reinhard Zintl
Professor of Political Studies, University of Bamberg, Germany
Michael Zirinsky
Professor of History, Boise State University
Slavoj Zizek
Co-Director, International Institute for Humanities, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
Sami Zubaida
Emeritus Professor of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck, University of London

Link to text in Farsi by Tahavole Sabz : http://www.tahavolesabz.net/item/13074

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