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Open Letter from USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin to Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee

December 20, 2018


Open Letter from USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin to Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee



Washington, D.C. –

Dear Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee,

I am writing to you in my capacity as the Vice Chair on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). I know that the Iranian authorities may never allow this letter to reach you, but the deep injustice of your case compels me to reach out.

You have long been an advocate for human rights, in particular women’s rights. For this you have unjustly been persecuted by Iranian authorities. In 2014, they arrested both you and your husband and then raided your home. They have mistreated you both, threatening you with execution and keeping you in isolation. What the authorities have done to you and your husband is abhorrent. And all this when the “strongest” piece of evidence they have used against you is an unpublished story they found when they raided your home.

I was shocked to discover that the brief respite you had in January 2017 was abruptly ended on your way to visit your husband in the hospital. It demonstrates the maliciousness of a state that disregards human rights and views human rights defenders as its enemies. It is heartbreaking. As someone who has found strength and courage standing together with my husband for what we believe in, I could not imagine the distress and pain you felt as the Iranian authorities held you, and continue to hold you, keeping you from your husband in his poor health. Through all of these hardships you have remained resilient and brave. You have not given up hope despite being tortured at Evin Prison. When you were transferred to Qarchak Prison, you went on a hunger strike, boldly standing up to the authorities even to the point of death. Now you are back in Evin Prison, where you have been consistently denied visits from family.

I know that you do not need reminding of your situation or the depths to which Iran’s government has fallen. Still, I know that Iran, a country with a rich history, is filled with people who, like you, know that their government can and should be better. It is in this hope, and in the hope that you will find justice and peace, that I promise to do whatever I can to advocate for your release.

I and all of USCIRF continue to hold you and your husband in our hearts.


Gayle Manchin