A number of Iranian environmentalists who are jailed in Iran by the Islamic Republic

A number of Iranian environmentalists who are jailed in Iran by the Islamic Republic

UN Environment Director Calls For Freeing Iran Conservationists


Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), called Saturday for the release of environmentalists jailed in Iran.

“We have only one earth and those that seek to protect the planet should not be prosecuted for doing so,” said the Danish environmentalist, ahead of the World Environment Day, June 5. One of those jailed, Niloufar Bayani, who was a consultant for UNEP between 2012 and 2017.

Bayani was arrested along with Morad Tahbaz, Amir Hossein Khaleghi, Taher Ghadirian, Sepideh Kashani, Hooman Jokar, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, Sam Rajabi, and Kavous Seyed-Emami in 2018 on charges of espionage. All were members of the Persian World Heritage Foundation, an NGO dedicated to conserving wildlife in Iran, and are serving sentences from four to 10 years. Seyed-Emami, the NGO’s founder, was found dead in his cell two weeks after his detention, with the authorities reporting suicide and the family denying the claim.

Human Rights Watch has reported the detainees have been subject to ‘torture’ during incarceration, and that no evidence of any crime has been produced in public, with convictions obtained in special security courts.

The family of Tahbaz, who holds British and United States as well as Iranian citizenship, has criticized the British government over an unfilled expectation he would be released when two other British nationals – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashuri – were freed by Iran in March after the British government honored a 40-year debt to Iran of £400 million ($500 million).

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