The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) strongly condemns the new sentence against the Iranian political prisoner, Mr Saeid Sangar, 47.

According to reports, Iran’s Judiciary recently sentenced Mr Sangar to another 11 months in prison in Urmia after he had served the earlier arbitrary conviction of 20 years in prison, without a day of furlough, for supporting the Iranian pro-democracy opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Mr Sangar was interrogated and tortured in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for three years after his arrest in 2000 and reportedly subjected to 13 mock executions during his time in prison.

This sentence against one of Iran’s longest imprisoned political activists follows an ongoing trend of increasing number of executions, pressure on political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and mass arrests across Iran since December 2020.

This alarming development shows once again that the Judiciary in Iran, headed by Ebrahim Raisi, a known perpetrator of the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners, is a tool in the hands of Khamenei to further suppress the people and crush legitimate opposition and popular protests demanding change.

For this reason, Iran’s Judiciary is incapable and cannot be trusted to address the serious human rights violations in the country and deliver justice for the growing number of victims, as demanded by the UN General Assembly in its latest resolution on Iran in December last year.

The situation clearly requires an international intervention since the regime in Iran continues to ignore the international condemnations and shrugs off pleas and recommendations to improve the human rights situation.

We strongly believe that any relations or push for negotiations with Iran must be contingent upon verifiable improvements of the human rights situation in the country.

Failure by the UN and its member states to do so and ratify current situation risks to subvert the rules based international system and undermine international human rights laws and UN conventions.

We call on the UK Government to demand the immediate release of Saied Sangar as well as other political prisoners, those detained during popular protests in Iran and dual nationals imprisoned under bogus charges.

Furthermore, we urge the Government to impose sanctions, under the UK Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations, on regime officials, like Ebrahim Raisi, who are responsible for systematic and serious human rights abuses.

The Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) should take steps to turn the promise that a Global Britain will promote and defend the rules based international order into actions by working with our allies in the EU and UN to demand the establishment of an international, independent inquiry into the regime’s current and past human rights violations and request the UN to urgently dispatch a delegation to Iran to visit the prisons, meet with political prisoner and detained protesters and investigate reported cases of torture.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

26 January 2021