To the Editors of The Crimson:
Less than two years since the executions of two writers and poets, and the execution of 200 others, an AP dispatch from Tehran has informed us that the government of Iran is planning to execute ten political opponents of the Shah by firing squad.
So far the names of seven individuals were given by the government and there was no mention of a trial, military or otherwise. They only evidence cited by the government against the seven was based on "confessions" extracted by Savak, the Shah's secret police, from the defendants.
It is doubtful if any trial actually took place. At best, a secret military tribunal was convened where the prosecutors and court-appointed "defense" lawyers each received their instructions from Savak and after the defendants were made to "confess" in Savak torture chambers. This has been the pattern of previous trials, as has been noted in the international press. (London Sunday Times, January 19, 1975).
While the world responded with outrage, and protests spread throughout Europe in response to the executions in Spain, the news of executions in Iran have received almost no press attention. It is time that the American people heard the truth about the situation in Iran. We are also outraged at the execution of Ms. Manijeh Ashrafzadeh Kermani, the first Iranian woman to be executed by firing squad under the present regime.
Human decency and respect for human life dictates that the Shah stay the execution of the ten Iranians. We the undersigned urge that the Iranian government stop the execution of the ten defendants and permit the case of the ten to be remanded to the custody and protection of the United Nations Human Rights Charter, of which Iran is a signatory. Noam Chomsky Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn Congressman Michael Harrington Denise Levertov State Representative Elaine Noble John Roberts, ACLU Joshua Rubinstein, Amnesty International Ruth and George Wald Professor Howard Zinn Marjorie Swann, Executive Secretary, American Friends Service Committee