FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2018
Vice Chair Manchin Adopts Two Religious Prisoners of Conscience
“…concrete examples of the Iranian regime’s abysmal treatment of those who seek to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”
Washington, D.C.—Gayle Manchin, Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), today announced that she is adopting two prisoners in Iran, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Mohammad Ali Taheri, as part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.
“The cases of Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Mohammad Ali Taheri demonstrate Iran’s complete disregard for human rights and its targeting of anyone who doesn’t share the state’s narrow interpretation of Islam,” said Vice Chair Manchin. “I am personally committed to highlighting their plight whenever I can, as concrete examples of the Iranian regime’s abysmal treatment of those who seek to exercise their fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”
Two years ago, on October 24, 2016, Iranian security forces broke into Ms. Iraee’s home to take her to the notorious Evin Prison, where she is currently incarcerated. She was convicted of insulting religion and spreading propaganda and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, based on an unpublished story she wrote that was deemed critical of the official policy of stoning women to death for adultery.
Seven years ago this month, on October 30, 2011, Mr. Taheri was sentenced to 74 lashes, a fine, and imprisonment for, among other charges, insulting religion. A university professor and the founder of a spiritual movement, Mr. Taheri has been convicted repeatedly on various charges for his religious views and has been sentenced to death several times. He is currently serving a five-year prison term imposed in March 2018.
USCIRF has recommended that Iran be designated as a “country of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act for engaging in systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom every year since 2000. The State Department has designated Iran as such repeatedly since 1999. For more information, see USCIRF’s 2018 Annual Report chapter on Iran.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.