Letter from Iranian Political Prisoners to Brazilian President Lula da Silva

Translator’s Note: Five Iranian political prisoners including Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Tehran Bus Workers Union and Isa Saharkhiz, a reformist journalist have called on president Lula da Silva to exert pressure on the Iranian government to release all political prisoners. Although a translated version of this letter has been published on the Internet, its substance strays in several respects from the original. I am providing my own translation for the sake of accuracy.

Letter from Iranian Political Prisoners to President Lula da Silva
Source: http://www.akhbar-rooz.com/news.jsp?essayId=31779
Translated by Frieda Afary

Honorable President Da Silva:

We the signatories and endorsers of this letter know that you have traversed a difficult road to democracy — from the grassroots level of union struggles to the level of the nationwide Brazilian workers’ federations and the arena of global politics — with the support of the votes of the democratic and freedom-loving people of Brazil.

As a group of union and syndicate activists, political activists, and activists promoting various creeds, we have been incarcerated in the prisons of the Islamic Republic solely for having performed our union and professional duties and for our votes and opinions.

We are aware that you have defended the rights of an Iranian woman and mother [Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, sentenced to death, originally by stoning] and were even prepared to offer her asylum. Having witnessed your humanitarian attitude, we were compelled to ask of you the following: In order to become better acquainted with the Iranian authorities who present themselves as your friends, ask them to take measures to observe our human rights and freedom. Although their attitude and response to [the demand] for the release of the aforementioned woman already gives you and the world a flavor of what these gentlemen consider to be respect for human rights.

Your Excellency Da Silva, as a part of the labor-intellectual representatives of various unions and professions, we ask the following of you, a member of various labor unions and federations and one of the leaders of the major nations of the world, and specifically of Latin America with its famed record of seeking freedom and justice. Ask the Iranian authorities who present themselves as your friends to free all union, labor, and political prisoners and prisoners promoting various creeds. By making such a friendly demand, you will gain a better understanding of these authorities.

In conclusion, we send you and the people of Brazil our best wishes for further success.

Long live the international solidarity of toilers and freedom fighters.

Mansour Osanloo
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi
Rasoul Bodaghi
Reza Rafie
Isa Saharkhiz

August 23, 2010
This translation was originally published by Tehran Bureau

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