Thursday 25 March 2010

Open letter to Japanese people

Please read the Open Letter to the Japanese people by Maria Rohaly from Mission Free Iran:

Dear Friends in Japan,

As you are aware, the Islamic Republic continues to openly arrest, torture and execute political activists within its borders. What you may not be aware of is that the Islamic regime has been seeking international assistance in capturing and silencing anti-regime activists living abroad. In a move that has surprised many of us, we have learned that the Japanese government is supporting the Islamic Republic’s efforts by initiating deportation procedures against prominent Iranian dissident and human rights activist Jamal Saberi (Jalal Amanzadeh Nouei), a resident of Japan for the past 20 years.

Japan’s effort to forcibly return an Iranian political activist constitutes a violation of the international principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits forcibly returning a person to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. Mr. Saberi has a well-founded fear of persecution by the Islamic regime: if he is returned there is no question that he, like all other dissidents who fall into the hands of this regime will be detained, tortured, and likely executed. He therefore warrants recognition as a political refugee and merits protections under UN agreements on the Status of Refugees, to which Japan is a signatory.

The Saberi case has global implications: If Japan flouts human rights standards and international principles on the status of refugees, consequences for refugees worldwide will be dire. We consider especially the impact of Japan’s actions on thousands of new Iranian refugees surviving precariously in Turkey, which has in the past violated the principle of non-refoulement and has begun systematic though unofficial persecution of this new wave of Iranian refugees.

By this open letter, we are making a citizen-to-citizen request of the Japanese people to demand that their government adhere to their international and domestic legal commitments to the principle of non-refoulement, release Saberi from prison, stop the deportation proceedings, and grant Mr. Saberi the refugee status that he has long ago applied for.

If the Japanese government delivers Saberi into the hands of the Islamic Republic, Japan will be held responsible not only for Saberi’s inevitable torture and execution in Iran, but for setting a barbaric and inhumane precedent that will have dire consequences for all of the world’s asylum-seekers.

We hope that the Japanese people will join with the global peoples’ movement that demands that Saberi be freed and recognized as a refugee from a murderous government, and as a human being.

Maria Rohaly
Mission Free Iran

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