Sadegh Zibakalam, a political scientist at the University of Tehran and Islamic Azad University was arrested following a January 2018 interview regarding the December 2017 protests. He was interviewed by the Deutsche Welle Persian Service, a broadcaster that has been banned in Iran. This interview led to an 18 month sentence for “spreading propaganda against the establishment and the dissemination of lies aainst the estblishment.” He has also been banned for two years from political and social activities (i.e., giving speeches, interviews, writing and interacting on social media) Dr. Zibakalam is not in custody as he is appealing his sentence. CCS hs writen the Head of the Judiciary in Iran requesting that his conviction and sentence be overturned as he is being punished for peacefully exercising his right to free expression.
May 20, 2018
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Head of the Judiciary
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi
Above Pasteur Intersection, Vali Asr Street
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam, a political scientist at the University of Tehran and Islamic Azad University, in Iran. He was arrested following a January 2018 interview where he discussed the December 2017 protests in Iran. He gave the Deutsche Welle Persian Service, a broadcaster that has been banned in Iran since 2009, an interview. Reportedly, this interview led to his being sentenced to 18 months in prison for “spreading propaganda against the establishment” and “the dissemination of lies against the establishment.”
In addition to the jail sentence, which he is appealing, he was banned for two years from political and social activities, including giving speeches and interviews, writing, and interacting on social media. We understand that these restrictions on Dr. Zibakalam’s activities are not yet in effect as he continues to speak out in ways that have provoked considerable reaction.
We welcome the fact that Dr. Zibakalam is not in custody while his appeal is being considered. We urge you to ensure that his conviction and sentence are overturned, as he is being punished for peacefully exercising his right to free expression.
The right to freely express one’s beliefs, even if they are unpopular, is protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory. As an international community of scholars, we believe It is imperative that the fundamental rights of our colleague, Dr. Zibakalam, be respected.
We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
H.E. Gholamali Khoshroo
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran