Freedom for Middle Eastern Political Prisoners Seeking Social Justice & Democracy
Below are brief biographies of 17 political prisoners who represent some of the courageous fighters for social justice and democracy in the Middle East today. Most have been imprisoned by authoritarian regimes. Some have been abducted by religious extremist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. There are at least 100,000 political prisoners in Syria, mostly in the Assad regime’s dungeons. Over 50,000 people have been detained by the Erdogan government in Turkey during the past 17 months. 60,000 political prisoners languish in Egypt’s prisons. There are 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel. Iran holds hundreds of political prisoners. Saudi Arabia continues to repress any expression of dissent. Against this background, many on the US and European left are selective in their condemnation. Worse still, some self-declared leftist and anti-war organizations openly defend the Assad regime.
Some are silent about repression in Iran.
In the face of this situation, the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, along with various socialist and labor activist organizations and individuals have initiated a new campaign in solidarity with Middle Eastern political prisoners.
The aim of this campaign is four-fold: 1.To shine a spotlight on the political prisoners who are labor, social justice, feminist, anti-racist and human rights activists opposed to war, imperialism, occupation, authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism and extremism. 2. To oppose all the global and regional imperialist powers in the Middle East: The U.S., Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and Iran. 3. To demand that both state actors and non-state actors responsible for perpetrating war crimes in the Middle East be put on trial. ( We support initiatives meant to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity by enforcing universal jurisdiction, such as the cases filed in Spain, Germany, France and other EU states by local and Syrian lawyers.) 4. To show that demanding the mmediate release of political prisoners in the Middle East is a crucial part of fighting the rise of authoritarianism
and racism at home. What can you do to help? If you wish to take action to express your solidarity with these prisoners, you can do the following:
1. Invite a speaker from the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists to address your union or organization or classroom
2. Choose a prisoner and write about them in your blog/website or your local newspaper
3. Join the sponsors of this campaign in organizing activities that connect labor, social justice, feminist, anti-racist, and LGBT struggles in your country to similar causes in the Middle East.
For More information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For a partial list of initial endorsers of this campaign, see the last two pages of this brochure.
Initial Endorsers of the Campaign in Solidarity with Middle Eastern Political Prisoners
Omar Abbas, Syrian student, U.S.
Frieda Afary, producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation, U.S.
Said Afshar, Radio Hambastegi (Radio Solidarity), Sweden
Saleem al-Beik, writer from Palestine
Leila Al-Shami, writer and activist, Co-Author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
María Álvarez for Convergencia-La Verdad (CS-LV) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self Determination, U.S.
Urayz Aydin, Excluded (for political reasons for signing a peace petition) University researcher, Turkey
Joey Ayoub, founder of Hummus For Thought and regional editor of Global Voices
Alejandro Benedetti for Regrupamiento hacia El PST (rPST-Buenos Aires,Argentina)
Jairus Banaji, Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London
Clay Claiborne, Director, Vietnam: American Holocaust, Linux Beach Productions, U.S.
Joseph Daher, Swiss-Syrian academic & activist and creator of Syria Freedom Forever, Europe
Alex DeJong, Co-director, International Institute for Research and Education, Holland
E la liberta, Greece
Ann Eveleth, member, Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self-Determination, Revive the
Peace Movement Network, and Syria Solidarity International.
Bob French on behalf of News and Letters Committees, U.S.
Shiyam Galyon, Syrian American writer and campaigner
Razan Ghazzawi, Syrian Palestinian scholar and activist, Europe
Stanley Heller, member American Federation of Teachers (retired) and Administrator, Promoting Enduring
Peace and Host, The Struggle Video News
Rohini Hensman, author of Workers, Unions and Global Capitalism , India
Monica Hill, Editor of Freedom Socialist Newspaper, on behalf of Freedom Socialist Party, U.S.
Mohammad Abd Al-Hakim Ibrahim, Researcher, Egypt
Elizabeth Juarez, Latina Feminist and Independent Activist in U.S. and member of Feminicidos en Mexico: Esta
Es La Verdad Que Se Oculta (Femicide in Mexico: This is the Hidden Truth)
Yusef Khalil, Middle Eastern socialist, International Socialist Organization, U.S.
Rima Majed, Sociologist, Lebanon
Peshraw Mohammed, leading activist from Socialist Center Review in Iraqi Kurdistan & Germany
Piergiorgio Moro, labour activist – Melbourne, Australia
Yasser Munif, Syrian sociology professor, U.S.
Dorothy Naor, Israeli peace activist
Oakland Socialist, U.S.
Khury Petersen-Smith, scholar and activist, U.S.
Bahram Rahmani, Member of the Council of Iranian Writers in Exile, Sweden
Beesan Ramadan, Activist, Occupied Palestine
John Reimann, Former Recording Secrretary, Carpenters Local 713, U.S.
Fouad Roueiha, Syrian Italian journalist, Europe
Ahmed Shawki, author of Black Liberation and Socialism and Editorial Board of Haymarket Books
Dilip Simeon, Author, historian, public intellectual, India
Erek Slater, Ten-year Veteran Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver, -Elected Shop Steward and Executive
Board Member or the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 241 (10, 000 active and retiree transit worker
members in Chicago and 200,000 active members in US and Canada)
Tristan Sloughter, Democratic Socialists of America, San Diego
Ashley Smith, Writer for Socialist Worker (U.S.), Member of Editorial Board of International Socialist Review
F. Taban, Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar-e Rooz
Farooq Tariq, Spokesperson,Awami Workers Party, General secretary Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee
David Turpin Jr. , International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134., U.S.
Cliff Willmeng, Registered Nurse, Steward, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 7, UFCW Local 7 Vice
Siamand Zandi, Iranian author, translator and producer of The Campaign in Defense of Prisoners of Conscience, Canada