Australian Greens Senator Barbara Pocock has announced her sponsorship of two Iranian prisoners recently sentenced to death after they participated in protests against Iran’s morality police.
Two young men, Arshia Takdastan, 18 and Javad Rouhi, 35, are now awaiting execution following what supporters say were sham trials where forced confessions were used to convict them. Both men were charged with ‘spreading corruption on earth’ and sentenced to death on 3 January 2023.
Senator Pocock has written to the Iranian Ambassador to declare her political sponsorship of both men and urging that their death sentences be revoked. Iran is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Senator Pocock requested that the men be granted fair and unbiased trials, pointing out that Mr Rouhi has a mental illness that may have affected his capacity to make decisions.
“If this was happening in Australia I, and many of my friends who attend, organise and support public protests, would likely be in jail potentially facing the death penalty,” Senator Pocock said.
“The international community, including Australia, need to increase pressure on the Iranian regime to bring these show trials to an end and stop the unjust killing of innocent Iranians,” she said.
Senator Pocock is working with the Iranian community in South Australia to provide support and advocacy for the two men. “Many Australian-Iranians are deeply distressed about the treatment of their friends and families in Iran and are desperate to enlist support for their cause,” Senator Pocock said.
“Contempt for international law and indeed for the most elementary principles of fairness and legality will further diminish the standing of Iran in the public opinion of other nations,” she said.
Mr Takdastan is accused of being a leader of the riots in Nowhahr and was convicted on the basis of a confession extracted under torture, according to his supporters in Iran. “Sentencing an 18 year old to death for participating in a protest with no more evidence than a forced confession is intolerable behaviour in any country,” Senator Pocock said.
The Australian Greens are calling on the Federal Government to expand sanctions against the Iranian regime and respond to calls from Iranian people around the world to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terrorist organisation.