About 2,800 environment protection academics, lawyers and artists have written to Iran’s chief justice, asking him to reconsider the case against a group of environmentalists detained since 2018.

In their letter to Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the public figures and civil society actors said that given the replacement of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) Intelligence Organization Chief Hossein Taeb, their cases should be reviewed and called on him to consider the legal possibilities of a parole for them.

The signatories emphasized that the four-member committee of the former administration to examine the issue, comprised of ministers of interior, intelligence and justice as well as the legal advisor to the president, had found no evidence to prove charges of espionage against them. 

Nine environmentalists and ecologists were arrested 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. Kavous 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.

Iran International published a compilation of four investigative reports on torture and abuse of these prisoners on June 21.

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