One of the people I have been supporting for some time is the Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki. In this post, I give you some information about him and – more important – invite you to join a Tweet Storm for him on Monday, 18 January 2016.
Please join and share the post. We want as many participants as possible. Please read the post and continue to support him even when the Tweet Storm is over.
1. Who is Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki?
Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki is a 30 year old blogger from Iran. He was arrested in December 2009, because he had protested earlier in 2009 against the results of the Iranian presidential elections. In addition he was a member of Proxy Iran, a Committee against Censorship.
He and his brother were arrested, they were kept in solitary confinement and both were mistreated and tortured. His brother Hassan was not involved in any protests or political activity, but was only targeted to put pressure on Hossein.
Hossein was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The charges were:
- Membership in the Committee against Censorship in Iran (10 years)
- Insulting President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader (4 years)
- Propaganda against the regime (1 year)
Hossein is prosecuted because he defended freedom of speech. He is a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International reports that in June 2015 his sentence was reduced to 13 years.
Hossein developed problems with his kidneys. These were a result of the torture he had to endure during interrogations added to long periods in solitary confinement. Because he did not get proper medical care, his condition became worse and he lost a kidney. His health condition is still critical and he cannot get proper medical treatment in prison.
2. Why shall I participate in the Tweet Storm?
On 17 June 2015 Hossain Ronaghi-Maleki was given furlough on medical grounds. Initially the furlough was only given for one week, but then extended. He and his family had to endure constant pressure and harassment during the furlough, because the authorities asked him to return to prison.
On Monday 11 January 2016 he was ordered back to prison. There are serious concerns that his health will deteriorate further, if he returns to prison. The Medical Examiner has found him unfit to serve his sentence because he has multiple medical problems.
3. When does the Tweet Storm take place?
The Tweet Storm is effectively a Twitter Day and it takes place on Monday 18 January 2016.
You can start sending tweets after midnight in your time zone and tweet during the whole Monday until midnight. Tweet as much as you can, if many people from different time zones take part, we have hopefully tweets during the whole of Monday.
Please join, even if you have only time for a few tweets at a specific time. It is a team effort and we all work together.
4. What shall I tweet?
- Send tweets to @HosseinRonaghi with words of support. You can tweet that you stand with him and that you will campaign for him until he is released and similar messages.
- Send tweets to Iran, in particular to Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran [@HassanRouhani (English account) or @Rouhani_ir (Persian account)] and to Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader @Khamenei_ir and ask them to reverse their decision and to quash the judgement against Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki.
- You can also tweet to politicians in Europe and the US, e.g. Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country. Feel free to tweet in your own language.
- Send tweets to raise your followers’ awareness for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. You can also send tweets to journalists and newspapers and ask them to report about him.
5. Is there a special hashtag?
Please use for all your tweets (irrespective of the language in which you tweet) the special hashtag #NoJail4Hossein. If everyone does, it is easy to find and retweet the tweets of others.
6. Suggested tweets
You can write your own tweets, but if you need some inspiration here are some suggested tweets:
- #NoJail4Hossein. We ask #Iran to release @HosseinRonaghi immediately. He is a prisoner of conscience and not a criminal.#FreeHosseinRonaghi
- .@Khamenei_ir quash the unfair sentence against @HosseinRonaghi and don’t send him back to prison. #NoJail4Hossein #FreeHosseinRonaghi #Iran
- .@HassanRouhani Do everything to impede that @HosseinRonaghi is sent back to jail. He needs medical care outside of jail. #NoJail4Hossein
- Please @FedericaMog intercede for @HosseinRonaghi #Iran. His health will be at serious risk, if he has to return to prison. #NoJail4Hossein
- Please @guardian write about @HosseinRonaghi #Iran. His life is at risk, if he has to return to jail. He needs medical care #NoJail4Hossein
- Please be assured @HosseinRonaghi that we stand with you and will campaign for you until you are free at last. #NoJail4Hossein #Iran
- We will keep shouting: #NoJail4Hossein #FreeHosseinRonaghi until #Iran finally releases @HosseinRonaghi unconditionally
- We will not be silent or turn away, but continue to demand #NoJail4Hossein #FreeHosseinRonaghi as long as it takes. @HosseinRonaghi
7. Where can I find more information about Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki?
If you want to know more about Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki there are some useful websites:
a) The website “Journalism is not a crime” has a good summary article about him with links to current articles and an Amnesty Urgent Action.
b) Laleh writes a blog about human rights in Iran. She writes often about Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki. It is also worth following her blog.
c) Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki has also a blog. Most of his posts are in Persian, but some have an English translation.
d) Here is a link to a letter in which Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki describes the actions towards his family and him during the first 24 hours of his detainment in 2009.
e) Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki’s father spoke with IranWire in March 2015. Here you can find the article “I will set myself on fire.”
8. Can I do anything after 18 January?
Please do not stop supporting Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki when the Tweet Storm on 18 January 2016 is over.
Amnesty International will hopefully update their urgent action for him. If they do, you will find a link here once the updated action is online. PEN International has also actions for him on their website: here a link to the English action and here a link to the German action. Write to Iran on his behalf.
As always, if you are on Twitter or in other Social Media, please continue to raise his case and make other people aware of it. If you like the suggested tweets, just continue to use them.
Show your support and show Iran that we will not forget Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki and will campaign for him until he is free.
9. Addendum (23 January)
In the meantime Amnesty International has updated their urgent action for Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki and also Pen International had done so.
Here are the links:
Please follow the links and speak up for Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki.