Taher Ghadirian, Houman Jowkar, Morad Tahbaz and Niloufar Bayani were charged with capital offenses, that could result in their execution, for their work monitoring rare and disappearing whildlife using camera traps. Two of the three scientists serve on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, all four are widely respected. Five other scientists were similarly arrested and charged – one being Kavous Seyed-Emami, co-founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation who died while in custody. CCS has written authorities in Iran asking for charges to be dropped, scientists be unconditionally released, and an independent investigation be convened regarding the death of Emami.
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 four widely respected conservation scientists – Taher Ghadirian, Houman Jowkar, Morad Tahbaz, and Niloufar Bayani – who have been charged with capital offenses apparently because their work monitoring rare and disappearing wildlife involves the use of camera traps.
The four, who work with the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, were arrested in January and now could face execution.
Two of the men – Taher Ghadirian and Houman Jowkar – serve on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and all four are widely respected scientists. Five other scientists have been similarly arrested; one – Kavous Seyed-Emami, co-founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation – died while incarcerated at Evin Prison in February.
These scientists were using standard tools that are used all over the world to monitor wildlife and facilitate environmental conservation. We urge you to see to it that the charges against all eight of these scientists are dropped immediately and that they are released unconditionally.
An independent investigation into the death of Kavous Seyed-Emami should also be launched, with its results made public and anyone found responsible brought to justice.
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
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)