Mr. Speaker, I rise to highlight the grave plight of two courageous Iranians emblematic of the criminalization of innocence in Ahmadinejad’s Iran.
The first is Ronaghi Maleki, one of the first Iranian bloggers, sentenced in 2009 to 15 years imprisonment for blogs critical of the regime. Maleki has suffered from kidney disease since his imprisonment, aggravated by abuse from prison authorities, and is on a hunger strike to protest his conditions, his life hanging by a thread.
The second is Abdolfattah Soltani, a distinguished Iranian human rights lawyer sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Tehran revolutionary court for co-founding the centre for human rights, on trumped-up charges of spreading anti-government propaganda.
These charges are reflective of the massive human rights violations in Iran today, of the persistent and pervasive state-sanctioned assault on the human rights of the Iranian people, as well as on those who would defend them.
We call on the government of Iran to release Mr. Maleki for urgent medical leave and to drop all charges against Mr. Soltani.
I hope that members of the House will join in solidarity with these two courageous Iranians and with the courageous Iranian people.