Threats against his life meant Iranian activist and refugee, GH, had to flee his country. Support from Prisoners of Conscience is now helping him and his family survive.
Iran’s people are warm and friendly; its art, culture and literature are among the oldest and most celebrated in the world. But for those Iranian citizens who believe in, and stand up for, human rights, it is also a very dangerous place to live.
You may have read about the horrific executions, arrests and lethal force being used to crush the current uprising. This assault on the rights of the Iranian people is nothing new. Thousands of people have been, and continue to be, unjustly imprisoned, beaten and worse at the hands of the government. Their crime: standing up for their human rights.
GH (not his real name, for security reasons) knows just how terrifying it is to be on the wrong side of the Iranian government. In 2010, he began blogging about human rights in Iran, including sharing stories about prisoners of conscience and their families. Soon after, he was summoned to the IRGC intelligence service, the Iranian intelligence agency within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“I was arrested two times due to my activities as a human rights activist and blogger. Seven years ago, when these threats of the Iranian regime toward me and my family intensified, we were forced to leave Iran and come to Turkey as a refugee,” says GH.
Determined to continue raising awareness of the situation in Iran, GH resumed his blog and took on a role with an organization that broadcast the latest news about human rights, prisoners of conscience and Iranian regime crimes in general, including about the recent protests. It did not take the Iranian government long to find him and intimidate him again.
“These activities caused the Iranian regime to threaten me and my family in Turkey. Due to the notorious history of this regime, our life is in danger,” he explains.
GH’s situation is even more precarious due to his health. Since moving to Turkey, Ashraf developed heart disease and was required to have surgery. He has been unable to work since.
“My cardiologist prevented me to return to work because the work can lead me to death, thus our family is in a severe economic condition. During these years, a friend of mine introduced me to the Prisoner of Conscience organization that help refugee people and political activist like me.”
The generosity of our supporters has enabled PoC to support GH and his family. Three hardship grants have been provided to meet critical living, food and health needs and PoC is working with GH and other NGOs to help him and his family reach a country where he can continue his human rights work in safety.
The financial and emotional support received has been much appreciated by GH, who describes how it gives him hope for the future:
“PoC always is such a ray of hope in our difficult situation. PoC grants help alleviate my life’s problems and help me to afford my daily life costs in Turkey. We hope after these years, with help of PoC and other organizations, we transfer to a third country to be safe from these criminal regime threats, and my family has peace.”