May 20, 2009

The Martin Ennals Award 2009 goes again to a Human Rights Defender from Iran

http://www.martinennalsaward.org/index.html
The Martin Ennals Award 2009 goes again to a Human Rights Defender from Iran

Embargo: 20 May 2009, 09h00 GTM
Madrid, 20 may 2009

Today the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) announces as the 2009 Laureate.
Emad Baghi, a leading Iranian human rights defender based in Tehran. He founded the Society for the Defense of Prisoners' Rights, and has been a vigorous and outspoken opponent of the death penalty in Iran. His campaigning includes a scholarly examination of Islamic law (shari`a) on the subject, in which he demonstrates the absence of any doctrinal requirement for maintaining capital punishment. In addition, Baghi's inventory of death row prisoners in Iran, including juvenile offenders, has been an important resource for UN human rights bodies as well as human rights groups outside the country. Baghi has spent four years in prison over the past decade for his campaigning against the death penalty and other rights activities. Currently out of jail, he still faces charges relating to his work for the defense of prisoners rights. Baghi suffers from serious heart and kidney ailments; in August 2008 prison physicians declared his condition critical.
The Chairman of the Jury of the MEA, Hans Thoolen, describes the laureate as “an exceptionally brave man defending human rights despite imprisonment and poor health”.
The Ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award will take place in Geneva in November 2009.
MEA: the main award of the human rights movement. The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide. The Jury is composed of the following NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS. Previous laureates : Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Uzbekistan (2008); Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Burundi and Rajan Hoole-Kopalasingham Sritharan, Sri Lanka; Akbar Ganji, Iran and Arnold Tsunga, Zimbabwe; Aktham Naisse, Syria; Lida Yusupova, Russia; Alirio Uribe Muñoz, Colombia; Jacqueline Moudeina, Chad; Peace Brigades International; Immaculée Birhaheka, DR Congo; Natasha Kandic, Yugoslavia; Eyad El Sarraj, Palestine; Samuel Ruiz, Mexico; Clement Nwankwo, Nigeria; Asma Jahangir, Pakistan; Harry Wu, China.
Patrons of the Martin Ennals Award: Asma Jahangir, Barbara Hendricks, José Ramos-Horta, Adama Dieng, Leandro Despouy, Louise Arbour, Robert Fulghum, Theo van Boven and Werner Lottje†.


Short Biography

http://www.martinennalsaward.org/en/press/bio_baghi.html


Hivos news
Martin Ennals Award for Iranian Human Rights Defender
Posted on 27/05/2009


The prestigious Martin Ennals Award 2009 will go to the Iranian human rights defender and journalist Emadedin Baghi. Baghi (1962) is a journalist and human rights activist. Since the 1980s he has been involved in peaceful efforts to improve the human rights situation in Iran, to achieve better treatment of prisoners and to abolish death penalty.
Emad Baghi pleads for abolition of the death penalty. For years, Baghi has been collecting information about all executions since the 1979 revolution, which he estimates to be more than 10,000. He published numerous articles and books about a variety of topics, including democratic interpretations of Islam, and death penalty and executions. In his book Right to Life Baghi demonstrated that neither the Quran nor Islamic jurisprudence pose obstacles toward abolition of the death penalty. The Iranian authorities banned Right to Life.
Baghi was sentenced in 2000 to 7,5 years imprisonment for blasphemy, but he was released in 2003. In 2007 Baghi was arrested again and sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment for undermining national security (publishing confidential governmental information) and for propaganda against the Islamic Republic, because he had written articles about the bomb attacks in Khuzestan in 2005-2006. He was released in 2008, after international attention for his health problems.
Baghi is president of Society for the Defense of Prisoners Rights, member of the Central Council of the Society for Defending Press Freedom, co-founder and board member of the Pacifist Association and co-founder of the Guardians to the Right to Life.
The Chairman of the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, Hans Thoolen, described Emad Baghi as “an exceptionally brave man defending human rights despite imprisonment and poor health”. The award ceremony will take place in Geneva in November 2009.

Source: http://www.hivos.nl/eng/content/view/full/5097



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