It is with great shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of Sir David Amess MP, the co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF).
PARIS, FRANCE, October 17, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) released a statement regarding the criminal stabbing of Sir David Amess MP, the co-chairman of the BCFIF.
“The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) condemns this vicious attack, which was an assault not only on Sir David but also on democracy in the UK. We extend our condolences to his family, wife, and children. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, his staff and parliamentary colleagues at this difficult time, “read the statement adding:
“Sir David met on many occasions with the president-elect of the NCRI, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. He also led a strong, cross-party delegation of British MPs and Peers to several gatherings of the Iranian Resistance movement, NCRI, in Paris presenting statements of support for a free and democratic Iran signed by hundreds of parliamentarians.”
The full text of the BCFIF statement:
BCFIF statement following the passing of its co-chairman, Sir David Amess MP, after being stabbed in a constituency meeting in Leigh-on-Sea
It is with great shock and sadness that we learned of the passing of Sir David Amess MP, the co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) after being stabbed in a constituency meeting in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) condemns this vicious attack, which was an assault not only on Sir David but also on democracy in the UK. We extend our condolences to his family, wife, and children. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, his staff, and parliamentary colleagues at this difficult time.
Sir David was a champion of human rights and democracy in Iran for more than three decades. He consistently spoke in support of the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations and the Iranian Resistance movement, NCRI. During his time in the parliament, he frequently raised the many serious threats from the regime in Tehran at parliamentary conferences, debates, and in Early Days Motions advocating for a firm policy on Iran focused on human rights and holding the regime to account for its violations of those rights and terrorism.
Sir David met on many occasions with the president-elect of the NCRI, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. He also led a strong, cross-party delegation of British MPs and Peers to several gatherings of the Iranian Resistance movement, NCRI, in Paris presenting statements of support for a free and democratic Iran signed by hundreds of parliamentarians.
Sir David was among the 35 MPs and Peers who led the successful legal campaign against the politically motivated proscription of the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), in the United Kingdom in 2007. He was also relentless in his efforts to secure the safety and well-being of the combatants of freedom in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq and their safe and successful relocation to Albania and other European countries.
“One of the proudest things I have ever done in my political career is to support the National Council of Resistance of Iran which calls for the Iranian regime to be replaced with a safer and more democratic government,” Sir David declared on 6th September 2021.
The day before the stabbing attack, Sir David wrote an article in Townhall highlighting the involvement of the Iranian regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran and supporting the call by the Anglo-Iranian community to arrest him if attended the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
Ultimately, Sir David passed away doing what he loved most, namely serving his constituency. He will be remembered for his kindness and commitment, missed not only by the people of Southend West but also by millions of Iranians dreaming about a free Iran, who have lost a dear friend and their champion today.
Rt Hon David Jones MP
On behalf of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF)
15 October 2021
Sir David Amess MP: Hear the voice of the people of Iran
NCRI – British lawmaker Sir David Amess MP on Wednesday urged the international community to listen to the voice of Iranian people in the major “Free Iran” gathering that will be held in Paris on Saturday, July 9. The following is the text of his op-ed in Forbes:
Don’t Ignore Iran
Guest commentary curated by Forbes Opinion.
GUEST POST WRITTEN BY
Sir David Amess MP
Mr. Amess is Conservative MP for Southend West in the House of Commons and co-chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.
In Iran, punishment for breaking the law is brutal. In May, 30 college students were sentenced to 99 lashes for having a co-ed party—but consider them lucky.
Over the past three years alone the Iranian regime has carried out over 2,400 executions, more than at any period since the revolution. This startling rate of executions was enough to give the country the title of top executioner per capita in the world. And Iran’s current and supposedly “reformist” President Hassan Rouhani, described these executions publicly in 2014 as “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belongs to the people.”
Yet this rate of executions, which disproportionately targets opposition figures and ethnic minorities, and the barbaric punishments inflicted on its own citizens, which also includes forced amputations, has elicited little more than a shrug from the West. Especially in Washington D.C. there has only been lip service and no action. This type of “concern” over “action” approach is good for short-term political gains, but the people of Iran, the Middle East and those across the globe will continue to pay a high price in real terms.
We can’t ignore Iran
Our history books are littered with examples. The decision to not get involved in Rwanda enabled genocide, the decision to not act decisively on North Korea left a growing nuclear threat and the decision to ignore Syria helped the Assad regime on one end and extremist groups on the other, including ISIS. We must not ignore Iran.
The Iranian regime’s ideology, combined with their continued push towards nuclear weapons [via public ballistic missile tests], their unabated sewing of turmoil and sponsorship of terrorism in the region, along with their domestic abuses make them a particularly worrying case vis-à-vis inaction.
So what’s next?
We can certainly agree what Iran should not be and that is another Iraq war. A simply militaristic approach with a top-down aim of imposing democracy from the outside, combined with a long military occupation is a very bad idea. Luckily, there are many avenues of involvement, all of which involve empowering the Iranian people themselves to embrace a democratic system we already know they support.
An alternative to Iran’s current theocracy
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is the largest organized opposition to Iran’s current theocracy. They are led by Maryam Rajavi who espouses the idea of a free and democratic Iran that fosters separation of church and state, a moderate and progressive Islam, friendly ties with neighbors and the international community, and an embrace of international norms including abolition of capital punishment. The NCRI had advocated for real-world solutions in order for the international community to help the Iranian people achieve this goal, solutions that include heightened economic sanctions on the theocratic leaders and those responsible for human rights abuses in Iran, a recognition of Iran’s human rights record and violent foreign policy, along with approaches vis-à-vis the nuclear program that are more well adapted to an Iran that has time and again deceived the international community.
The People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MeK), the principal Iranian resistance movement, is at the core of the NCRI. Actually it was PMOI activists who exposed the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear sites, alarming the world about the threat of Iran’s secret program to acquire nuclear weapons.
Let the Iranian voice for democracy be heard
On July 9 the Iranians will hold an important international event aimed at making Iranian voice for democracy heard. The event, entitled “Free Iran” will be attended by hundreds of international dignitaries, including a stellar bipartisan list of American dignitaries, a unique phenomenon given the polarized election season in the U.S. As the U.S. is moving towards choosing a new president, having the right policy on Iran will be a daunting challenge for whoever will be at the Oval Office this time next year.
It is up to us in the West to fight for the rights of those who do not have a voice around the globe and perhaps nowhere is that more important and with more of a potential positive effect than Iran.
To not speak up and defend moderate Islam against extremism would be letting evil triumph.
The following is the text of his op-ed in Town Hall Posted: Oct 14, 2021:
Reverse a Pattern of Appeasement by Arresting Iran’s Genocidal President
Human rights activists have recently joined with persons affected by the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses in order to issue formal requests for the arrest of Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran. Raisi assumed office in August following months of protests by Iranian citizens and expatriates alike over his role in severe human rights violations, including the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the main opposition, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) in the summer of 1988.
Public demands for his arrest intensified in the wake of the announcement that Raisi is expected to attend the COP26 climate change conference that is scheduled to take place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. Iranian dissidents have long criticized Western policymakers for maintaining ordinary diplomatic relationships with the Iranian regime in spite of its ongoing commitment to terrorism, suppression of dissent, nuclear proliferation, and other malign activities.
It has been evident in recent years that the European Union and certain member states have remained publicly committed to preserving and restoring a nuclear agreement that provided Iran with wide-ranging relief from economic sanctions, even as the regime’s behavior grew worse in various areas. Discussions over the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have overshadowed more and more examples of that behavior as time has gone on, and the worst consequences have been borne by the Iranian people.
Raisi’s appointment to the presidency is a vivid affirmation of those consequences, as well as a “grim reminder of the impunity that reigns supreme in Iran.” This was the language used by Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard in a statement responding to that appointment. It emphasized that instead of ascending to the presidency, Raisi should have been investigated at the international level for “the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance, and torture.”
The calls for such investigation, as well as the calls for Raisi’s arrest, are naturally focused on the 1988 massacre, but those calls are made especially urgent by Raisi’s more recent history. In 2019, as an apparent stepping-stone to the presidency, he assumed leadership of Iran’s judiciary upon the order of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In that capacity, Raisi oversaw key aspects of the crackdown on the nationwide uprising of November 2019, which saw 1,500 peaceful protesters killed in a matter of days, after which thousands of arrestees were subjected to torture over a period of several months.
That crackdown naturally helped to fuel protests against Raisi’s candidacy, but his “election” was effectively orchestrated in advance by the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council, prompting the overwhelming majority of eligible Iranian voters to boycott the polls. That protest denied Raisi the legitimacy he sought at home, so it is all the more shameful that Western powers have so far refused to deny him that legitimacy on the international stage.
Although Raisi has only held office for just over two months, his invitation to COP26 is already part of a larger pattern. His August 5 inauguration featured attendance by international dignitaries including the deputy political director for the European External Action Service, and in September the United Nations General Assembly screened a pre-recorded speech by the new Iranian president. That speech sparked simultaneous protest rallies by NCRI supporters across Europe and the Americas, which reiterated the call for Raisi and other Iranian human rights abusers to be held accountable rather than legitimized by the international community.
Fortunately, the European presence at Raisi’s inauguration appears to have inspired only limited confidence in the new administration. This is to say, Raisi’s decision not to attend the UNGA in person may reflect his fear of arrest under universal jurisdiction – something the NCRI and its allies have earnestly sought to promote.
The rallies against Raisi’s speech were accompanied by a conference in Stockholm, which highlighted the fact that at least one Western nation has resolved to live up to its reputation for defending human rights. In 2019, Swedish authorities arrested the former Iranian prison official Hamid Noury after he arrived for a visit to the country. Noury is accused of helping to carry out many of the executions that comprised the 1988 massacre, and he is currently on trial in Sweden for war crimes and mass murder.
Such prosecution is made possible by the principle that allows for severe violations of human rights to be prosecuted by any legal authority, even if the crimes actually took place in another jurisdiction. If this principle applies to Noury’s case, then it certainly applies to that of Ebrahim Raisi, whose role in the 1988 massacre was much larger and whose subsequent human rights abuses have been much more shocking and escalatory.
Such a figure has no business standing among other heads of state at an international conference in the West. If he is permitted to enter the United Kingdom next month, it should only be so that the Police in Scotland may execute an arrest warrant and launch an investigation for crimes that may include attempted genocide against moderate Muslims who challenged the regime’s fundamentalist theocracy more than 33 years ago.
Sir David Amess is a Conservative Member of the British House of Commons from Southend West.