In a speech delivered by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, May 13, 2017, the recently reelected leader speaks about political prisoners and the supposed importance of the regime of showing respect for the rights of Iranian citizens. Rouhani says, the way that we want to choose is respect for the citizenship rights of all Iranian citizens
The crowd can be heard chanting, “Political prisoners must be freed! Political prisoners must be freed!”
Hassan Rouhani speaks, saying: “Say ‘Hi’ to reconciliation, say ‘Hi’ to freedom!”
The footage then changes to show some of the young people participating in a rally for Rouhani on Monday, May 8, 2017, also chanting, “Political prisoners must be freed! Political prisoners must be freed!”
It then shows part of a speech by Rouhani, in which he says, “There are people who, throughout these 38 years [of the regime’s rule] have only known prison and execution.”
A massive crowd at a Rouhani campaign rally chanting, “Political prisoners must be freed! Political prisoners must be freed!”
This is followed by another clip of a crowd at a Rouhani campaign rally on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, cheering as he tells them, “We want freedom! We want civil and political liberties! We want freedom of speech and thought!”
Next, the footage shows a few of the thousands of political prisoners languishing in unimaginable conditions in the regime’s prisons denied even the most basic rights such as access to healthcare or family visits, exposing the empty hypocrisy of Rouhani’s words.
The prisoners are described as follows;
1: Teacher’s Union leader Esmail Abdi, on hunger strike in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.
2: Atena Daemi, a human rights activist serving a seven-year prison sentence for peaceful activism, is in a “critical” condition in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison.
3: Political prisoner Majid Asadi abducted by masked agents and now in exile in Gohardasht Prison.
4: Payam Shakiba, a former member of the Islamic Society of Zanjan University and a student at Allameh Tabatabai, abducted by masked agents, now in exile in Gohardasht Prison.
5: Political prisoner Saeed Shirzad, a children’s rights defender, in Gohardasht Prison.
6: political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared, held in Evin Prison.
7: Arash Sadeghi, an Iranian human rights activist and political prisoner, in grave health condition and denied health care after a hunger strike, in Evin Prison.
8: Hossein Rabajian, filmmaker along with his brother, a musician, imprisoned in Ward 7 of Evin Prison in Tehran.
9: Prisoner of conscience Zeinab Jalalian, condemned to live in prison in northwestern Iran, needs urgent medical treatment for her eye at the verge of blindness in Khoy Prison.
10: Shahin Zoghitabar, a political prisoner being held in Iran’s notorious Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison.
11: Sheerahmad Sheernai, political prisoner threaten with death by regime agents in Ardabil prison.
12 Loghman Moradi, a Kurdish prisoner on death row, tortured into giving false confessions.
13: Zanyar Moradi, a Kurdish prisoner on death row, tortured into giving false confessions.
14: Mahdi Farahi Shandiz, a political prisoner in Gohardasht Prison.
15: Ibrahim Firouzi, a Muslim convert to Christianity in Iran, sentenced to the maximum five years in prison for “activities against national security” (for his conversion to Christianity) in Gohardasht Prison.
The text at the end asks bitterly of Rouhani: “Which freedom rights? Which citizenship rights? The political prisoners must be freed be unified!”