نظر به ابلاغ فوری محاکمه
آقای کارن وفاداری و خانم آفرین نیساری در دادگاه انقلاب اسلامی در
روز دوشنبه 28 فروردین مطابق با 17 آوریل؛
نظر به این واقعیت که زوج
نامبرده (مزدوج قانونی در دادگاه مدنی در ایالات متحده)، صاحبین یک گالری هنری مستقل
، از تاریخ امرداد ماه 1395 (ژوییه 2016) بازداشت گردیده و در زندان اوین برخلاف
روند مقتضی قانون در حبس بسر می برند؛
نظر به تابعیت دوگانه این
زوج، که گناه نمی باشد و با علم به این که تابعیت مضاعفدر تبلیغات سوء از سوی دستگاه های امنیتی، مقننه، قضائی، اجرائی و نشریات حاکم در
کشور می باشد؛
نظر به تعهد کارن و آفرین
برای ارائه، ترویج و پیشرفت هنر و فرهنگ ایران توسط گالری "آن" و بنیاد
نظر به این حقیقت که کارن
وفاداری از اقلیت زرتشتی بوده و دین زرتشت در قانون رسمیت دارد؛
نظر به بردن این زوج جهت
تفتیش غیر موجه منزل مسکونی آن ها ، چند روز پس از بازداشت، بردن آقای کارن
وفاداری به خارج از منزل و نشاندن در ماشین مامورین، و سپس فیلم برداری و عکاسی از
خانم آفرین نیساری از سوی مامورین امنیتی، تجاوز زشت به حریم خصوصی زنان برای لکه
دار کردن آنان و تولید خوراک تبلیغاتی؛
نظر به منع حضور و دستور به
عزل وکلای آقای کارن وفاداری و خانم آفرین نیساری در تاریخ ۲۲ /۱۲ /۹۵ در جلسه
"تفهیم اتهامات" در جلسه دادگاه تحت ریاست قاضی شعبه ۱۵ دادگاه انقلاب
نظر به مواجه شدن این زوج با
اتهامات سیاسی ساختگی "جاسوسی" و "براندازی حکومت"، در حالی
که کارن و آفرین سیاسی نبوده، هرگز برای هیچ حکومتی کار ننموده و به هیچ شغل
حکومتی اشتغال نداشته و ندارند؛
نظر به تغییر تدریجی و
اختیاری اتهامات خطرناک "جاسوسی" به "تلاش برای براندازی
رژیم"، به "مشورت و توطئه علیه امنیت ملی" جهت جلوگیری از صدور
مجوز تامین وثیقه و ادامه بازداشت غیر قانونی این زوج؛
نظر به قرار دادن خانم آفرین
نیساری در شرائط ناگوار زندان و بازجویی و فشار جهت جاسوسی برای اطلاعات سپاه
پاسداران علیه دوستان، مشتریان و حتی همسر خود؛ مخالفت نامبرده و تشدید شرائط حبس
نظر به اِعمال اجبار در
بازجوئی از این دو زندانی با چشم بند و روبه دیوار طی روزهای متمادی، بازرسی منزل خصوصی آنان به صورتی که اثاثیه و
مایملک آن ها زیر و رو شده، تفتیش گالری و
ضبط کامپیوترها و تلفن های دستی آنان ، و تجاوز به حریم خصوصی زندگی که به کشف
مدرک خلاف نمی رسد؛
نظر به این واقعیت که خارج از
اتهامات بی پایه جاسوسی، مدارک دستگاه امنیتی سپاه علیه این زوج را دو بطری مشروب
و معدود آثار هنری "غیر مجاز" که در تجاوز به حریم خصوصی خانه آنان توسط
مامورین "کشف" می شود؛ معدود آثار هنری که گفته می شود از کلکسیون خصوصی
صدها اثر هنری موجود در منزل نامبردگان بدست آمده است و معلوم نیست که این آثار
هنری به صاحب خانه و یا مامورین امنیتی تعلق دارد؛
نظر به این کهمصرف مشروبات الکلی از سوی اقلیت زرتشتی و برخی دیگر از
ادیان و برای بسیاری امری عادی است و قابل تعرض از سوی حکومت و تعقیب قانونی نمی
نظر به اتهام برگزاری "مجالس
مختلط" و "اشاعه فساد و فحشاء"، و با علم به این واقعیت که میهمانی
مختلط در میان زرتشتیان، دیگر اقلیت های دینی، و همینطور بسیاری از شیعیان و اهل سنت
بدیهی و متداول بوده و جرم نمی باشد؛
نظر به اتهام رفت و آمد با دیپلمات ها و با علم به این که مشتریان
آثار هنری در ایران از سه حال خارج نبوده، یا هموطن یا توریست یا دیپلمات هستند و
کسبِ هنر از این نظر مانند همه کسب های دیگر بوده وجرم نیست؛
نظر به لغو "جزیه"
از دوران سیادت قاجار در اواخر قرن نوزدهم، قریب یکصد و سی سال پیش، علیه اقلیت
زرتشتی، و با علم به عملکرد سپاه پاسداران و دادگاه های انقلاب اسلامی در ضبط
اموال این اقلیت، لزوم توقف این مشی، بازگرداندن کلیه اموال ضبط شده، و احترام به
حقوق شهروندی زرتشتیان؛
از این رو، ما، امضاء
کنندگان، از رهبر جمهوری اسلامی و دستگاه قضائی مصرانه می خواهیم که کارن وفاداری
و آفرین نیساری را از کلیه اتهامات مبرا نموده و آزادی فوری و بدون شرط آنان را
در صورت برگزاری محاکمه، از
شما رهبران جمهوری اسلامی تقاضامندیم که تضمین فرمایید محاکمه علنی باشد، مطبوعات
مستقل در آن حضور داشته باشند، وکلای مستقل هموطن و بین المللی دفاع از متهمین را
بر عهده گیرند و هیات منصفه دادگاه مرکب از زنان، هنرمندان و زرتشتیان مستقل باشد.
our father went to Iran for his first extended trip after the revolution, I
wondered how long it would take him to finish his business, and come
home. His family was facing hardship on their livelihood and personal
belongings. I can only wonder what my brother
and sister were feeling when they got the news that Karan and Afarin were in
prison. The bureaucracy in Iran can be
brutal from what I witnessed while I stayed withKaranand Afarin for the summer of
2009. When he took me to obtain
paperwork for his business, it took my father a few hours to find the correct
person to speak with. We feel that court process so
far has been the same in a sense. Karanand Afarin
were in “temporary confinement” since July 20th, 2016. We know
for a fact that it was in solitary confinement for a period of one month.
During the time in solitary confinement, twelve of the days were spent by the
Sepah searching their house and offices in Tehran. During the stint in
solitary, Afarin andKaranwere
questioned almost continually about being spies. This is wildly
inaccurate set of charges brought upon them caused the family and us children a
lot of unnecessary stress. What the IRGIS found and did not amount to
anything which was outside of the statute of what a Zoroastrian or art gallery
owner would be allowed to have within private premises. Since evidence
for “espionage” were non-existent the interrogations were lacking, originally we
were to believe that these charges were dropped. Soon to hear that they were brought up again
by the presiding judge. Afterwards,Karanand Afarin
were moved into a slightly larger cell which was 2 X 3.5 meters. The cell had 3
blankets on which to sleep, a communal bathroom, TV, a daily newspaper and
two additional prisoners. Mind you, this is without going through the
proper channels and statutes necessitated by law. WhatKaran’s three
children, Aundia, Cyrus and myself want is the immediate release of Karan and Afarin as we know they are
kind and nice, and are certain they are innocent and have committed no crime.
In case of any trial we ask for an open trial to the public
with national and independent international lawyers to present them, with
unbiased jury (including of women, artists and Zartoshti minority), and independent
press and without pressures to influence the outcome.
If the trial comes to a head, and there is no
other option, we will bring support from friends, family and numerous other
supporters of civil
liberties and the love forKaranand Afarin.
WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari
have been set to go to trial by Islamic Revolutionary Court of Iran on Monday
WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari and
Afarin Nayssari, husband and wife (legally married in a civil court in the U.S.),
independent art gallery owners, were arrested and have been held in Tehran’s Evin
prison without due process since July of 2016;
WHEREAS; They hold dual
nationals, which is not a crime;
WHEREAS; Days after the
arrest, the couple are taken to their home and a search is conducted. Karan is
taken outside and made to sit in a vehicle. Meanwhile, Afarin Nayssari is filmed and photographed by the security agents in
flagrant violation of a woman’s privacy in order to denigrate and produce propaganda;
WHEREAS: They are denied access to a lawyer during their imprisonment or access
to the contents of the prosecution files and briefs of the baseless charges
WHEREAS: They were ordered
by the presiding judge to dismiss their selected lawyer;
WHEREAS: They are facing
trumped up political charges of “spying and overthrowing the government”; Karan
and Afarin are not political; they
have never worked for any government or had held any governmental positions;
WHEREAS: The dangerous and
trumped up charges of "espionage" were gradually and arbitrarily motified
to "attempt to overthrow the regime" to "conferring to conspire
against national security" in order to prevent them from posting bail;
WHEREAS: Karan Vafadari is a Zoroastrian religious minority recognized by the
WHEREAS: During days of duress and interrogation and while being kept in
blindfolds and forced to face a wall, investigation of their private home,
investigation of their business, and invasion of their privacy have not
resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing;
WHEREAS: Afarin Nayssari is
kept under harsh prison conditions and interrogation and pressured to spy on
behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Intelligence
Service on friends, business
clients and associates, and even her husband; her refusal worsens her condition
WHEREAS: Outside of the false
espionage-related charges, the security forces’ evidence against them consists
of two bottles of liquor taken from the privacy of their home and a number of
art pieces deemed “questionable” by authorities. It is not clear whether these questionable
items belong to their collection of hundreds of art pieces or to the security
WHEREAS: Karan and Afarin
have committed their lives to the appreciation and advancement of Iranian
culture via the Aun Gallery and the Aun Foundation;
WHEREAS: Jazieh, the
practice of infringement on rights and property of Zoroastrians has been
rescinded in Iran since 1880s, during reign of the Qajars. The current practice by Sepah Passdaran and
Islamic courts on seizing the private property of this minority is against the
rights of citizens;
THEREFORE: We, the
undersigned, urge the Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran and the Judiciary to
drop all charges brought against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari and to release
them IMMEDIATELY and UNCONDITIONALLY.
In case of any trial, we
call upon the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure that the
trial is open to the public with the presence of independent press and representation
by national and independent international lawyers and a jury of their peers to
consist of women, artists, and Zoroastrians.
c/o Mr. Gholamali
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sadeqh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, South of
New Charges Against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari
New charges against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, who have been incarcerated in Tehran’s Evin Prison in Iran since 20th of July 2016, have come to light. These charges that are of grave concern were announced during a preliminary hearing.
Karan and Afarin have been under interrogation since their arrests and accused of various trumped-up charges ranging from being a dual national and having alcoholic beverages at their house to associating with foreign diplomats; labelling their home as a centre of vice (prostitution); being spies, and collaborating with the enemies of the state.
“Attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran” was also added, as well as “recruiting and signing up spies through foreign embassies,” “assembly and collusion against national security”. Furthermore, the authorities have gone as far as also refusing to recognize their civil marriage.
After almost eight months of incarceration by Iran’s militia, Sepah Passdaran Intelligence Service, they were sent to be briefed of their alleged crimes before Judge Abolghasem Salavati. Most of the charges previously dropped by the prosecutor because of lack of any evidence, were reinstated by the presiding judge during the preliminary hearing. He did not allow their lawyer to be present at this hearing, and ordered Karan to dismiss her.
A judicial theatrical drama based on trumped-up charges where facts matter the least raise grave concern for Karan and Afarin’s marriage, their lives and wellbeing.
Arrest and Incarceration
Afarin was arrested in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Service (IRGIS) when she was about to board a plane to travel to Italy in order to jump start an important art project, which was to prepare for Mr. Bizhan Bassiri’s solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale festival as approved and certified by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and the Minister of Culture. Karan was supposed to join her a few days later on their trip, and to visit his three children who live in the US. Karan received a call from Afarin, and when he went to see her he too was arrested.
They were initially told by the judge on duty that due to the fact that there was no proof of “espionage” they would be freed with a minimum amount of bail. But they were not, and instead they were sent to Evin Prison, building 2-A, operated by IRGIS, and were kept there for a month. Karan and Afarin were told by the security agents that they had films of everything that had been going on their house, accused them of being “spies”, and locked them up in solitary confinement.
During this time their home was searched for 12 full days, including their offices and place of business for additional unknown number of days. The security agents tore down and destroyed some art pieces, and took some others away with them. They then sealed their home and art gallery.
Hoping the misunderstanding would be cleared up quickly, their families had been patiently waiting to see them return home and had no clue of the horrendous circumstances the two were subjected to. The initial interrogations were surreal. An art gallery presenting Iranian art to the international community in Tehran has clients that are from various countries. The Intelligence officials put Afarin under pressure repeatedly to become their spy in that art milieu. She was told to spy on all her friends including her husband Karan. She was returned to solitary confinement due to her refusal.
On 2nd of August, 2016, Tehran’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Jafari Dowlat-Abadi, without mentioning their names, publicly announced that “the best news of the last two weeks” was the arrest of “the two with dual citizenship” whose home was a “centre of immorality and prostitution”, for having “alcoholic beverages”, and having “mixed gatherings” with “foreigners” as their guests. This was followed by a public announcement by Deputy Hadji Deligani, a member of Iran’s parliament from Shahin Shahr, a city far from Tehran, in which he called the detainees by their first names, referring to them as “the young couple” and repeating the same baseless slanders and adding the charge of “extortion”.
After being in the temporary prison ward for five months Karan was moved to general section. Afarin was moved to the women’s detention center with minimum facilities and under tight security.
Because of the lack of any evidence almost all the charges were dropped by the prosecutor, but as mentioned above reinstated in the preliminary hearing by judge Salavati of the Revolutionary Court. The charges could carry up to 21 years imprisonment, in addition to cash fines, confiscation of their house, other real estate properties, and their automobiles.
Afarin is mentally and physically under a lot of stress. She has expressed her situation as intolerable and has told her mother that she would prefer to be dead if they continue to keep her in prison. Public Support
On December 1st, 2016, in a letter to Islamic Republic Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed ‘Ali Khamenei, Kateh Vafadari, Karan’s sister, explained how her brother and his wife had been detained and framed with baseless charges, and she urged the Supreme Leader to order their release. In her letter she said that their arrest is a violation of the couple’s right to their private life and the privacy of their profession. She stated that they have been framed for vice and financial extortion—to seize the home and other properties of a religious minority (Karan is Zoroastrian, one of the recognized religious minorities of Iran).
In a public letter, Roberto Toscano, former Italian Ambassador to Iran, condemns the arrest and detention of dual Iranian-American citizen Karan Vafadari and his wife, whom he refers to as being among “the most dignified people” he had met during his five years in Tehran as ambassador. The Ambassador continues: “And the home that I visited more than once was certainly not a den of vice and debauchery.” Ambassador Toscano further noted that “it is thanks to people like them that foreign diplomats posted in Iran have had the opportunity of gaining an appreciation of Iran’s culture, both traditional and contemporary, and of Iranian society.”
Some two hundred Iranian artists and intellectuals who recognize the significance of this case to the welfare of the artistic community, stepped forward and signed a letter to the Head of the Judiciary of Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, asking for Karan and Afarin’s immediate release. In their letter they state “the couple have been engaged with presenting artworks in “Aun” gallery, which functioned in the direction of freedom of art, an endeavour that requires the support of the government and not imprisonment of this honourable couple and not sealing and closure of their gallery. Methods of arrest and incarceration and the spreading of rumors and slander against the imprisoned by security forces is well-known in our homeland and all over the world for a long time and are rejected by all. These actions, arrest and incarceration for art, tarnish not only this honourable couple but the entire art and artistic community, society, freedom and independence of the motherland.” (Karan and Afarin were also accused of organizing the writing of this letter that was signed by Iranian artists while inside the prison, a charge they have rejected.)
Who are Karan and Afarin?
Karan Vafadari, was born in a Zoroastrian (an ancient and now minority religion) family in Iran. He has 3 children who live in the United States.
Karan attended Tehran’s prestigious Alborz High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from New York University in Computer Science. Simultaneously he achieved a second Master’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1987, and in 1989 he received his MBA in Business Administration and Management from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in California.
Afarin is an architect who runs their art gallery for a living; a small business which has been shut down and sealed ever since their arrest. Aun Gallery was established in 2009 in accordance with all necessary rules and permits, to promote talented young Iranian artists and to support their contribution to Iran's rich tradition in the arts and culture.
Besides the art gallery, Karan and Afarin hold a permit from the Ministry of Culture & Islamic Guidance for Hookht publication, “Aun Negarestan” (publication for contemporary visual arts) with the aim of promoting Iranian art and culture by building a better understanding and relationship between artists and intellectuals in Iran and at the international level.
What is at stake?
In regards to the espionage and sedition charges: according to Iran’s current policy dual nationals are barred from holding government posts. The government and judiciary of Iran often equate dual nationals and dual citizenship with spying and seditious activity. Violating a citizen’s right based on identity and equating dual nationality and citizenship with being a spy and with sedition charges is a miscarriage of justice. The entire government and judicial campaign against so-called “spies” renders false the truth of national development and sovereignty which is open, transparent and all embracing. Besides, Karan and Afarin are private citizens and do not work for the Iranian government or indeed any government. They ran an art gallery. A small business which is established with all the legal permits. Two patriots devoted to presenting Iran’s independent art.
In regards to possession of alcoholic beverages: Zoroastrians are a recognized religious minority in Iran, and alcoholic beverages in a Zoroastrian home are like any other beverage and there is no basis for besmirching them on that basis, as it is legal for Zoroastrians to keep and consume alcohol in their homes.
In regards to their marriage: Karan and Afarin have been married since 2002. They married in the state of Nevada. Karan was born in a Zoroastrian family and Afarin in a Muslim. Their marriage was settled in a civil ceremony that issued the marriage license. There is no basis for the prosecution, and for the judiciary to revisit and question this bona fide marriage. There is no basis to violate the couple’s right or to question their existing marriage.
Karan and Afarin are accused of having “un-ethical and inappropriate art” and associating with non-Iranian clients: good, or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, the subject of art lies with the artist and the customer. Karan and Afarin present independent art by individual artists destined for individual buyers. Art policing is against the peoples’ achievements of the 1979 revolution, and against accepted international norms with regards to the development of art and culture. To present Iranian art, they worked with Iranians and non-Iranians alike.
All charges against Karan and Afarin are baseless. Their arrest and detention is a blow to religious freedom. It is an attack on citizens’ private lives. It is in the opposite direction of Iran’s right to self-determination and its road to national independence.
Release Karan and Afarin
Karan and Afarin have committed no crime, and
Karan’s two sons and his daughter are worried and desperate to see their father.
They are both respected small business art gallery owners.
They have never held any government positions nor have they worked for any government.
Karan and Afarin have devoted their lives to promoting Iranian art and culture in Iran and beyond.
Karan and Afarin are generous and kind.
Karan and Afarin have helped those in need.
Karan and Afarin believe in family and family traditions.
At the very least, Iran’s judiciary must release Karan and Afarin, who represent no danger to Iran or Iranians, on bail. Allow them to hire a lawyer to defend them based on legal proceedings and a fair trial.
Iran’s judiciary must allow an unbiased, independent, international lawyer to represent Karan and Afarin.
How You Can Help
All those who stand for civil liberties, artistic freedom, minority rights, and Iran’s right to self-determination; all those who know Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, friends, family, artists, anywhere you are, in any language, please write letters of support asking for Karan and Afarin’s immediate release.
Happy Birthday Karan!
Free Karan and Afarin!
Kateh Vafadari, 8th of March 2017
Please send your letters to: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com c/o Mr. Gholamali Khoshroo Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor New York, NY 10017, USA email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com AND to: Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, South of Serah-e Jomhouri Tehran 1316814737 Islamic Republic of Iran Copies to: President Hassan Rouhani email:firstname.lastname@example.org Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection Tehran, Iran AND to: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Email: email@example.com Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bagh-e Melli Tehran, Iran