Simultaneous with demonstrations in Iran, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom held a meeting in committee room 10 of the House of Commons to announce the formation of the ‘International Committee of Jurists in Defence of the Victims of Crackdown on Iran Uprising’.
Panellists included former Solicitor-General Rt. Hon. Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, Brian Binley MP, Lord Cotter, Lord Wedderburn of Charlton QC, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Baroness Harris of Richmond, LibDem deputy leader Lord Dholakia, Baroness Verma, Lady Slynn, former Lord Advocate for Scotland Rt. Hon. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, Baroness Turner of Camden, Lord King of West Bromwich, David Vaughan QC, Steven Powles (barrister), David Amess MP, Stephen McCabe MP, Jacqueline Macalesher and Masoud Zabeti (lawyer) and Dowlat Nowrouzi the UK Representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and Deputy Chair of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee.
Sir Geoffrey Bindman announced his co-presidency of the International Committee of Jurists in Defence of the Victims of Crackdown on Iran Uprising. He stated: “The recent events in Iran are a major challenge to the rule of law. There are legal steps and challenges that need to be taken against the Iranian regime. A new international committee has been established to support the victims of the recent crackdown by the Iranian regime and to prosecute those responsible.”
Brian Binley MP said: “Were anyone to have doubted in the past three decades the illegitimacy of the Iranian regime, the events of the past 6 weeks leave no room for doubt. In the face of bullets, batons and Bassijis, the Iranian people have continued to gather to demand democracy and freedom. The international community must not allow this blood to have spilled in vain. The Iranian people want an end to this regime in its entirety and we must support them. I believe Mrs Maryam Rajavi has been at the forefront of the women’s demonstrations.”
Lord Archer spoke of the Iranian regime’s appalling human rights record. “The Iranian regime has been condemned on 54 occasions by the UN for its blatant disregard for human rights. The Iranian regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and calls for the repatriation of the residents of Camp Ashraf are further illustration of its contempt for the rule of law.”
Baroness Harris said: “The Iranian government is an appalling government and the international community has borne witness to this over the past few weeks. We have to get our government to show the Iranian regime up for what it is. We have to stop any of our politicians and members of the Government from going over there and appeasing what is going on there. I hope our European colleagues will not go over and support what the regime has been doing.”
Lord Dholakia stated: “ordinary Iranians are taking to the streets of Iran in their thousands to protest against the sham elections and the validity of the mullahs’ rule. The British government must stand with these brave men and women of Iran. We must be in partnership with the Iranian Resistance as they will have a hand in the future of Iran.”
Baroness Turner said: The people of Iran are laying their lives on the line for the most basic of freedoms and the least we can do is to do all we can to support their campaign for democratic change. The role of the Iranian Resistance and its leader Mrs Rajavi has been critical throughout the current uprising and we must praise their incredible efforts both inside Iran and in exile in highlighting the Iranian people's democratic ambitions.
David Amess MP urged the UK government: "Do not recognize the mullahs' sham election. Sever diplomatic ties with the regime, implement comprehensive sanctions against it and impose a ban on foreign visits by its officials, until such time that suppression has ended, all political prisoners are freed, and a UN-supervised election is held."
Baroness Verma stated that “what is happening in Iran is genocide of a kind. Sadly the world has let it happen in the face of visual footage. Western governments must be more vocal in their condemnation. We are allowing tyranny to take place by people who purport to be men of god. The tide has turned and our policy on the Iranian regime must also change.”
Lord Fraser stated: “As Mrs Rajavi has said, something has stirred in the people that cannot be suppressed. We had hoped that regime change would take place without bloodshed but it is evident that this is not going to be the case. I give my support to the formation of this international committee of jurists.”
Steven McCabe, MP said “Neda Aghasoltan, a young girl shot through the chest by the regime’s henchmen is Ahmadinejad’s legacy. I want to see free elections in Iran where Mrs Rajavi can participate. We need to stand beside the Iranian people in their calls for freedom and democracy.”
Jacqueline Macalesher of the Bar Human Rights Community said she was in attendance to show the support of the BHRC for the committee that has been set up in support of the victims of the Iranian regime’s recent crackdown on the people. “We show our solidarity with this committee and welcome the special rapporteur on torture stating his desire to visit Iran on a fact finding mission. We call on the UN Security Council to stand up and condemn the human rights abuses that are taking place in Iran.”
The NCRI’s Dowlat Nowrouzi said: “Leaders of the international community must understand that Iran has passed a critical juncture. The numbers of demonstrations by the people and their resistance have shown that the totality of this regime must be overthrown and freedom and democracy must be established in Iran. There is an internal crisis taking place at the heart of the regime and the so called religious leader cannot prevent it. This is the time for the international community to support Mrs Maryam Rajavi, the President elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Furthermore and until we witness an end to persecution, the release of political prisoners and free elections under the auspices of the UN, the UK government and international community must end all diplomatic and trade relations with the Iranian regime.”
Iranian Resistance President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi sent a video message to the conference, urging MPs to pressure their government to adopt a right course of action.
"I call on you to urge the UK government to suspend its political and commercial ties with mullahs’ regime until the suppression ceases”, she said, adding: “I call on you to urge UK government to refer the dossier of suppression and killing of the Iranian people and political prisoners to the United Nations Security Council.”
"Those responsible for killing and suppression, including Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, must be brought to justice in front of an international court”, Mrs. Rajavi said.
The nationwide uprising against the theocratic regime has entered its sixth week. The International Committee of Jurists in Defense of Victims of Crackdown on Iran Uprising, consisting of prominent European lawyers and jurists, was formed to save the lives of those under torture and facing death in Iran for taking part in anti-government protests since 12 June. At today’s meeting, it was announced that Sir Geoffrey Bindman would be co-President of the Committee.
The lawyers plan to lodge a complaint at the international court against the Iranian regime's officials for perpetrating crimes against humanity.
Since the protests erupted, the regime has killed some 300 people, arrested10,000 and injured thousands of others. The formation of the new committee of Europe’s top legal minds offers great hope to those under torture in prison and looking for international support.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
21 July 2009
Note to editors:
The all-party British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, comprised of 120 MPs and Peers in the House of Lords, is chaired by Labour peer Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. It has the backing of a majority of MPs and over 200 Peers.