February 28, 2024

In the bleak winter of 2007, I met Keyvan Rafiee in Ward 209 of Evin Prison. He had been transferred to my prison cell from solitary confinement. He was a young man consumed with a passion for human rights in Iran. As the cell door opened and he entered, I noticed he was carrying a few paintings that depicted the human rights struggle in which he fought so vigorously and for which he had been imprisoned.
Despite all the dangers of the time, Keyvan Rafiee was determined to let the outside world hear the voices of the political prisoners. Back then, the reach of social media was not as widespread as it is today and those like Keyvan, with the little they had, wanted to ensure that political prisoners would not be forgotten. In the absence of the kind of universal social media influence of modern times, political, civil, and human right activists would often have been imprisoned and nobody would have known. As a result, many were completely forgotten and faced a bitter fate. I believe this is why Keyvan and his friends thought of establishing Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA). This organization has become the neutral voice of numerous groups and various spectrums of people fighting against the pervasive practice executions by the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose methods have often terrified the global society. HRA regularly publishes articles about the cruelty endured by members of various political and ideological groups and details the suppression and pressure on the civil society and its activists in Iran.