Emadeddin Baghi, human rights defender

Re: Emadeddin Baghi, human rights defender

To: His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei

From: Charles B. Davison, member of LRWC

Date: 2004-10-06

I am writing to you at this time concerning the case of Emadeddin Baghi, who has apparently been refused permission to leave Iran for the purpose of attending a conference in Montreal, Canada, in relation to the death penalty.

We understand that Mr. Baghi was to leave Iran to travel to the conference in Montreal which began today, and is to last until October 9. However, on October 4, 2004 he was refused permission to leave Tehran, and his passport was confiscated. Mr. Baghi is well-known as an opponent of the death penalty and in fact, we understand he has already been imprisoned for three years as a result of his publication of articles promoting human rights and expressing opposition to execution of convicted persons.

Restricting Mr. Baghi’s ability to leave Iran and to travel outside your country would appear to be a violation of Articles 5 and 6 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 9, 1998. Article 5 preserves the rights of human rights defenders to meet, including at the international level, and Article 6 ensures the right of all to publish and disseminate views on human rights issues and fundamental freedoms.

Accordingly, we respectfully call upon you to return Mr. Baghi’s passport to him immediately and to permit him to travel to the meeting in Montreal without delay or hindrance. We also call from the immediate cessation of all threats and harassment aimed at him and any other person defending human rights in Iran. Finally, we call upon you to ensure that your government observes and obeys the provisions of Articles 5 and 6 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, along with all other international declarations, conventions, treaties and agreements concerning human rights.