Human rights defender Mr Vahid Asghari
Human rights defender Mr Vahid Asghari
Human rights defender Mr Vahid Asghari

Hassan Rouhani

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Presidency
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English)
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.


I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

Human rights defender Mr Vahid Asghari has been in ?temporary detention? since 8 May 2008, when he was abducted by Islamic Republic Guard Corps (IRGC) commandos whilst travelling to Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Vahid Asghari is a women’s human rights defender who has provided free online support and domains for human rights defenders and organisations in Iran.

The IRGC commandos demanded that the human rights defender make a confession. When he refused he was transported to an apartment owned by the Iranian secret service. One commando loaded a Colt and put it to Vahid Asghari’s head, as a way to terrorise him into confessing. He was additionally beaten for three days. Vahid Asghari was charged with hosting blasphemous websites. He was falsely accused of receiving $12 million from Google, technical support from the US-based company DreamHost, as well as a cheque from the US government through Citibank, on the basis of his acceptance by the University of Northern Iowa. Vahid Asghari was transferred by the IRGC to ward 2-A of Evin Prison.

Iranian media did not publicise additional accusations against Vahid Asghari before November 2014. These include propaganda against the Iranian regime; libel; management of the Shabtaz Human Rights News Agency; the creation of a dissident website; support for secular websites; the provision of financial and technical support to anti-regime websites; the creation of a national plan against censorship by the government; the provision of communication and technical assistance to the Persian BBC; the administration of more than 200 opposition websites; the establishment of an international campaign to promote gender equality; and online training for the Green Revolution of Iran.

The previous verdicts issued by the cleric judges at the Revolutionary Court have been cancelled and there has thus far not been a final verdict against Vahid Asghari. The human rights defender had been sentenced to death twice by the 15th Chamber of the Revolutionary Court. However, the Supreme Court of Iran overruled these verdicts in December 2014 on the basis that the death penalty verdict was invalid and libel accusation false. The commutation of his death sentence to 18 years imprisonment also remains unconfirmed.

I am deeply concerned at the ongoing detention of Vahid Asghari, which it believes to be solely motivated by his work in defence of human rights.

I urge the authorities in Iran to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Vahid Asghari, and drop all outstanding charges against him;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Vahid Asghari;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.


William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Defender & ?Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes



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