Amnesty International USA Group 49 in Rhode Island is the oldest AI group in the state. Each year they hold a massive write-a-thon at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, and the rest of the year the group works on prisoner-of-conscience cases on behalf of those imprisoned for non-violent political crimes around the world. This group in many ways represents all of Rhode Island to the outside world. It is very likely that the leaders of Belarus of Iran have never heard of our little state, until a letter arrives requesting the release of a prisoner.
Group 49 is Rhode Island’s ambassador to the world, and deserves our support. Now there is a small way in which you can help us with our important work.
Fully aware of the limitations of online petitions, but desperate to increase the visibilty of this forgotten case of human rights abuse, Group 49 has posted a petition on Change.org that we are asking all Rhode Islanders of good conscience to sign.
From the petition:
“Arzhang Davoodi is an author, poet, and Director of the Parto-e-Hekmat Cultural -Educational Centre in Tehran. He was arrested in October, 2003, after he assisted in the making of a TV documentary called “Forbidden Iran,” in which he spoke about the plight of political prisoners at the time. Arzhang Davoodi, a man whose principle is non-violence, has been severely punished for his exercise of his right to free, peaceful expression. Amnesty International has named him a prisoner of conscience. After his arrest, he was sentenced to 15 years and 70 lashes in prison. In 2011, an additional 14 months was added to his sentence, and new charges were brought against him. Now, his sentence has been lengthened yet again, this time to 20 years and eight months. Yet during all this time, he has been in prison, often in solitary confinement, incapable of any act of violence, without even the means of conveying his peaceful nonviolent thought to the public outside prison.
“The government of Iran is surely responsible for those whom it holds in custody. We ask you to bring to the attention of the prison authorities in the several prisons where has been held (Evin, Reja ‘I Shahr, and now Bandar Abbas) that this elderly man has been severely wounded while in their custody. While in detention, his shoulder and his jaw have been broken, several of his teeth have been broken, and he has been harshly and repeatedly beaten on the eyes and ears, as a result of which his hearing and his sight are impaired. He is in urgent need of medical attention.
“A new charge has been brought against him, despite the fact that having been in prison for all these years, he has been unable to commit any act of any kind. Not only has he never been allowed to see his original conviction order, or the official verdict, but now we understand that these new charges have been brought against him without having been specified.
“Amnesty International USA Group 49 in Providence has been working on Arzhang’s case for many years, sending letters and asking Iranian officials to release Arzhang Davoodi. This petition is an attempt to raise the profile of this sometimes forgotten and overlooked case, and hopefully get some action on this miscarriage of justice.”
Thank you for your help with this important work.