Urgent Action for Imprisoned American-Iranian Scholar


Here is the latest on imprisoned American-Iranian scholar- Dr. Haleh Esfandiari from the American Islamic Congress:

Dear Friend:

I write to you today from a women’s rights conference in Kuwait with troubling news: Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, an American-Iranian scholar who heads the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, was arrested last week in Iran while visiting her elderly mother.

Haleh’s ordeal began on December 30 when, while visiting her 93-year-old mother in Tehran, she was attacked by three armed men. Her life was threatened and her passports (both Iranian and American) were stolen. After spending four months under virtual house arrest and undergoing eight hours a day of interrogations, she was placed in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison last Tuesday.

Evin Prison is notorious for its harsh conditions. In 2003, Iranian-Canadian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi was killed during her interrogation in the prison. Amnesty International announced Monday that they fear Dr. Esfandiari may be tortured in order to elicit a ‘confession.’

Ironically, Haleh has been criticized in Washington for bringing lecturers to the Wilson Center who were sympathetic to the Iranian government. Neither Haleh nor the Wilson Center are connected to the US government’s Iran policy, yet she appears to be held as a hostage in a larger geo-political stand-off.

Haleh has done so much to help the American Islamic Congress over the past few years that we cannot remain silent while she sits in Evin Prison. On Friday, we launched the “Free Haleh Campaign” via the website www.FREEHALEH.org and a letter-writing campaign. Several international organizations joined us in launching the campaign.

Already, over 1,000 people have sent letters to Iranian authorities calling for Haleh’s immediate release. Please join them, and please help secure Haleh’s release by signing the PETITION and forwarding this E-Alert to whomever you can.

The online PETITION will be sent to President Ahmadinejad; Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei; and the Iranian UN Ambassador, Javad Zarif. Our hope is that sustained pressure will secure Dr. Esfandiari’s freedom.

Please join our campaign via www.FreeHaleh.org.

Ma’asalaama (“in peace”),

Zainab Al-Suwaij
Executive Director

In related news… Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Friday that the US is going to FREE the Iranian diplomats (spies)!

UPDATE: Iran says to quit meddling in Esfandiari Case!

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