Yesterday, the Namazi family was informed that on Tuesday August 22, 2017, the 36th Branch of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld the convictions of both Siamak and Baquer Namazi, which had sentenced each to 10-years imprisonment for “collaboration with a hostile government,” the United States. While the notification came from the court, no written appeals decisions have been provided to the family.
I condemn in no uncertain terms the cruel and unjust decision of the Tehran Appeals Court. The Namazis are innocent of the charges on which they were convicted and they are prisoners of conscience, detained in Iran because they are American citizens. In recent weeks, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif brazenly claimed to the world that out of humanitarian considerations Baquer Namazi had been moved from Iran’s notorious Evin prison to house arrest. This was an utter fabrication. For the Appeals Court to now uphold their convictions shows unequivocally that this was just more psychological torture by the Iranian government designed to create great hope in the Namazis and then utterly destroy them.
Baquer Namazi’s health is deteriorating rapidly. He is 81-years-old, previously had a triple bypass surgery, has lost 30 pounds in prison and suffers from shortness of breath, dizziness, bouts of confusion, and recently lost his hearing in one ear. Siamak Namazi has spent most of his detention in solitary confinement and has been interrogated relentlessly, beaten, and tased.
Only July 25, Babak Namazi, Siamak’s brother and Baquer’s son, was in Washington testifying before the Congress about the plight of his family. The next day, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.Res.317, which called for the release of the Namazis and other American citizen hostages in Iran. In addition, the White House issued a statement on July 21st, stating “President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned Americans are released and returned.”
In recent weeks, the state-run media in Iran has been complaining vociferously about alleged actions by the United States to have a number of countries in the region detain Iranian nationals and on his recent trip to New York, Foreign Minister Zarif claimed to be interested in an exchange of prisoners between Iran and the United States on humanitarian grounds. If the Government of Iran really wants engage in such discussions, then time is running out rapidly before it will have lost all credibility to be believed that it actually wishes to resolve on these cases on humanitarian grounds.
Founder, Freedom Now
International Counsel to Siamak & Baquer Namazi