July 2020 Virtual Meeting

Group 11 member Lara Price reported on a new group she is working with, Justice and Dignity for the Women of the Sahel. Lara, the group’s Volunteer Technical Adviser, has put together a list of JDWS’s needs. Interested Group 11 members should refer to our Sahel page.

Daria, our Group 11 colleague who is now in Canada, joined this month’s Zoom call and reported on Iran.

Zeynab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner on whose behalf AIUSA Group 11 has been campaigning for years, may have contracted COVID-19 virus in prison in Iran. Zeynab had a history of serious and untreated medical problems during her long imprisonment in Iran, which puts her life at high risk if she tests positive for coronavirus. Zeynab was moved to Gharchak Prison in Shahre Rey in June, and her relatives struggled to locate her and get in touch with her. It is unclear what exactly she is now and what her current condition is. Please mail a letter in support of Zaynab to the Iran Mission in NYC.

In July 2020, the UN called on Iran to release human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who was reportedly showing suspected COVID-19 symptoms, and other arbitrarily detained individuals. The authorities are putting Narges’ health and life at risk by denying her health care and holding her in inhumane conditions. She is held solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be released immediately and unconditionally. Please sign an AI Canada’s petition in support of prisoners in Iran here.

Your social media actions matter! We often overlook the opportunity to use social media for our activism in favor of more trusted channels like appeal letters, paper petitions, and demonstrations. While the latter ones are important, in the times of pandemic social media provides great platforms for online campaigning. Your social media posts can make change! For example, last week a social media storm saved the lives of three men: Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajab. The men participated in November 2019 protests erupted following a change in the petrol price policy, and reportedly were tortured in detention following their arrest. Thanks to hundreds and thousands of people who joined the protest and condemned the scheduled execution, the execution was postponed and may be halted, as the activists demand an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture, followed by the prosecution of perpetrators if the allegations are well-founded.

And our colleague Nick Ogutu from the Bronx reported on the plight of international students in NYC:

Due to the pandemic, many international students are stranded here in New York City and other cities across the nation. The schools are closed and most of them have run out of money. Many of them are currently being assisted by our Amnesty International  chapter in the Bronx but it’s an overwhelming task. We would appreciate any donations in cash and in kind to help them.

1. Cash to buy supplies, subway tickets, international phone cards to connect with their families back home.
2. Food vouchers
3. Subway/bus tickets
4. International calling cards

You can send money or gift cards to AIUSA Group 11 in Manhattan or to Nick Ogutu of AIUSA Bronx chapter CashApp ($Nickombeyi) or Venmo (@nick-Ogutu)