Former political prisoners speak at CSUF about need for human rights reform in Iran

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Lauren Diaz   |   March 4, 2018

The California Women’s Society for Democracy in Iran held its annual conference Sunday at the Titan Student Union to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote change for women’s rights in Iran.

“Women are the forefront of the opposition to the tyranny in Iran,” said Nasser Sharif, president of the California Society of Democracy in Iran.

“Women, A Pivotal Force for Change,” featured messages from activists and a performance from Iranian singer-songwriter Hellena Rezai.

In the past 30 years, 120,000 people have been executed in Iran. The country has been condemned by the United Nations for violation of human rights 64 times because of medieval punishments such as gouging eyes and amputating arms, Sharif said.

“Iran is the number one executioner per capita in the world,” he said.

Former Iranian political prisoner Mitra Samani spoke about her time in prison where she said women were raped, deprived of sleep and flogged on the soles of her feet.

“The practice of rape of female prisoners has been a systemic form of torture,” Samani said.

The organization seeks the immediate release of all prisoners and political support from the U.S. for Iranian people, Sharif said.

The Iranian protesters need support, with about 8,500 currently in prison, Sharif said. The main goal of the organization is to educate the public on these issues.

Sharif said that even after waging a tough, uphill battle, there still have not been any improvements in the Iranian government.

“We’re trying to bring justice for the victims and victims’ families,” Sharif said, “You can’t force people in the 21st century what to think, what to wear, what to do. The change is coming.”


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