Reza Sharifi Bukani

In a message written for the Iranian New Year, Kurdish political prisoner Reza Sharifi Bukani reminds the public that hundreds of political prisoners will spend Norooz away from their families in “the dark cells” of the Islamic Republic.

In a letter that reached Zamaneh today, Sharifi Bukani writes: “As a political prisoner behind bars for over two years in Rejaishahr Prison in Karaj, I have no visitation rights. I am not allowed any furloughs or even the right to phone my family.”

Reza Sharifi Bukani was arrested in May of 2010 in an internet café in Tehran. He was primarily charged with “enmity against God” and “corruption on Earth” and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to 30 years in jail, and in a final review of the case, he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

Reza Sharifi Bukani writes that the Islamic Republic has no regard for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or human dignity. “Today, for the crime of expressing our opinions and defending liberty, democracy and human rights, together with hundreds of other political prisoners, we have to celebrate Norooz away from our families in the dark cells of the regime.”

Sharifi Bukani also speaks out against the death sentences handed to other prisoners such as Shirkouh Moarefi, Habibollah Golparipour and Shirkouh Malekpour, and urges the public to lend its support to the families of prisoners sentenced to death.

The head of Iran’s judiciary had announced that some prisoners may get a 15-day furlough on the occasion of Norooz, adding that those accused of acting against national security will not be eligible for this leave.