{mosimage}Web exclusive: The Iranian Resistance held a memorial ceremony for Lord Russell-Johnston, the former Scottish Liberal leader and long-time supporter of human rights and democracy in Iran, at its headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, on 4 August 2008.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

Web exclusive

{mosimage}The Iranian Resistance held a memorial ceremony for Lord Russell-Johnston, the former Scottish Liberal leader and long-time supporter of human rights and democracy in Iran, at its headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, on 4 August 2008.

His wife, Lady Joan Johnston, and his three sons, Graham, David and Andrew, as well as UK Parliamentarians and officials from the Iranian Resistance paid tribute to the pro-European former MP at the service.

Lord Russell-Johnston was a strong supporter of the democratic goals of Iran’s Parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He was one of 35 MPs and Peers who won a legal challenge against the UK government to have the ban on the PMOI, the principal force within the Resistance, lifted.

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, paid tribute to him at the ceremony. She said: "In an era where few stand up for freedom, when the struggle for democracy is vilified, the standing of such noble men as Lord Russell-Johnston is better cherished."

“Lord Russell-Johnston is no longer with us. This is indeed a cause of great grief for me and every member of the Iranian Resistance. The Iranian nation’s movement for liberty lost a beloved friend, a man fighting for justice, and a great ally.

“And the people of Scotland and Britain lost a symbol who represented their enduring values. At this sad moment my fellow countrymen and women and the people of Scotland and Britain share the sorrow over the loss of Lord Russell-Johnston”.

Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley, a former UK law lord and judge at the European Court of Justice, told the gathering that Lord Russell-Johnston played a very important role in UK and Scottish political affairs. Lord Slynn added that the Liberal Democrat Peer also stood shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian Resistance for some three decades.

Baroness Harris of Richmond, a Home Affairs spokesperson and Whip for the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords, said that Lord Russell-Johnston was well known for his defence of democracy in the West and his dedication and commitment to human rights in Iran. “We will miss his presence amongst us, but his ideals, his principles, and his wonderful humanity will be always there”, she said.

Lord King of West Bromwich, from the ruling Labour Party, said that Lord Russell-Johnston had humanitarian qualities that went beyond party lines, such as his profound belief in liberty for the Iranian people. “Even though he is not here with us now, he will be remembered forever for his achievements,” he said.

A video clip of a separate memorial ceremony for Lord Russell-Johnston by members of the PMOI in Ashraf City, Iraq, was also shown at the Paris gathering.

David Johnston thanked Mrs. Rajavi and the NCRI for organising the ceremony in tribute to his late father.

Dowlat Nowrouzi, the UK Representative of the NCRI, read out messages of condolence by various Parliamentary committees.

Yves Bonnet, a former French MP, governor, and head of the domestic intelligence police DST, described Lord Russell-Johnston as a brave man who stood alongside justice. He reminded those present that Lord Russell-Johnston last spoke in defence of the Iranian Resistance at a gathering of some 70,000 Iranians in Paris on 28 June, calling on the EU to lift the unjust ban on the PMOI.

Lord Russell-Johnston, who was born in Skye, Scotland, passed away on the eve of his 76th birthday on July 27.

He had been knighted in 1985 and was made a life peer in 1997. He also served as an MP for 33 years, representing the Inverness area.

After he passed away Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg described the peer, who had led the party in Scotland and was a frontbench spokesman for many years, as "an institution in his own right".