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Almost 20-thousand Strong Petition Handed To Iranian Embassy In Wellington

Amnesty International is handing over 19,300 signatures to the Iranian Embassy in Wellington tomorrow morning (from 8.45am).

The signatures are across three petitions focusing on the rights of women and children. One calls for an end to the execution of child offenders in Iran, another calls for the release of human rights defender Yasaman Aryani and her mother, and one other calls for the release of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand Community Manager Margaret Taylor says Iran must listen to the voices of those speaking out.

"Every signature counts and almost 20,000 people have said they want rights to be respected in Iran. The Iranian Ambassador has advised he is too busy to see us. We can’t wait, our concerns are too pressing. We will be taking the hopes of all these people with us to the embassy. And like Yasaman we’ll be taking flowers with us."

Taylor says Iran is one of the biggest contributors to death penalty figures worldwide.

"While we are seeing a global trend away from using the death penalty, just this week a young man in Iran was secretly executed for a stabbing that occurred when he was just 15. Two other young men face imminent execution for crimes they committed as children."

She says the crackdown on those who defend people on death row and women who’ve spoken up is a double-blow for those brave voices.

"If lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was free that’s the kind of case she would have defended, as she is as staunch an opponent of the death penalty as she is a defender of women’s rights."

"So, we continue to add our support to those brave voices calling for change in Iran. Such dire consequences for unveiling must end and the right to life itself must be afforded to all people, even those charged for a crime, if we are to truly realise the dignity in all human beings."

Background

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for her work on defending those on death row and the growing number of women sanding up for their rights. In 2019 Yasaman and her mother handed out flowers to people on a train in Iran, she did not wear a headscarf while her mother did to ask that women be treated the same no matter what they are wearing. Yasaman was arrested and is serving 16 years for her campaign against forced veiling. Their action sparked many more women to emulate them throughout Iran. Around the world, it moved many more people to support her cause and the growing women’s rights revolution in Iran.

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