Defense of human rights in Iran: meetings and debate in Vire Normandy


Isabelle Innocenti

Published on

May 26, 2024 at 3:30 p.m.

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No brightly colored clothing, no visible hair, no pet dog, no first name other than Iranian… the list of prohibitions imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran (whose president, Ebrahim Raïssi, died on 19 May in a helicopter accident) is particularly long. She placed the lives of Iranians in a process of ordinary violence described in the film “Chronicles of Tehran”.

A nation held hostage

Thursday May 16, 2024, in Vire Normandy, the Basselin cinema and the Vire Amnesty International group offered a special evening. On site, the collective Freedom for Iran was present including Tara Savalehi. An Iranian activist who lives in France and defends in particular the rights of women who are particularly hampered in this country. “I have lived in resistance since I was very young,” she explained at the end of the session to the few 70 people came to meet her. For her, no doubt:

“the Islamic Republic has taken the nation hostage”.

Photos of the 2023 Nobel Prize are collected to create a wall. ©Isabelle INNOCENTI

If she was able to leave the country at 18, she explained the current difficulties to leave Iran and start a new life in a democracy. On site, three other refugees, who prefer to keep their identities secret for security reasons, are waiting to know if they will also be able to live like her in Caen. A terrible journey, which the four women were able to share with the curious and interested public.

International pressure

The secretary ofAmnesty InternationalAlain Bihel took advantage of the evening to discuss the action of the Virois group to defend the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize, Narges Mohammadi. This human rights activist is currently imprisoned. Many people from Vire were kind enough to pose with his photo, as did the deputy mayor of Vire, Marie-Claire Lemarchand. These photos will join others to constitute a complete wall in tribute to Nargès Mohammadi.

Alain Bihel and his Virois group from Amnesty International defend Nargès Mohammadi. ©isabelle INNOCENTI

Currently, 8 French Amnesty groups took charge of the Nobel Prize file. Letters were sent and forwarded to his family. “It is essential not to stop putting a international pressure to make it clear that she is not forgotten. We are in contact with his family. We know that in 88% of cases, we manage to obtain a release from prisoners“, assured Alain Bihel. In other territories, elected officials, parliamentarians and doctors are always contacted to defend Nargès Mohammadi. She was named honorary citizen of the city of Lyon in December 2022.

In Vire, the group’s action continues. The town hall seems to have given its approval for the planting of a rose bush in the colors of Amnesty. The operation will take place in the fall. In the meantime, members of the group will return to Caen on Thursday May 30. Amnesty Basse-Normandie will benefit from the passage of the Olympic flame to explain why the algorithmic video surveillance put in place for Olympic Games problematic.

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