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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shiva Mahbobi: A Voice of Hope for Political Prisoners

"Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself.
 Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt 
their pain in your own bodies."
                     (Hebrews 13:3)

 The writer of Hebrews reminds us to never forget Christians being persecuted for their faith in prison. In fact he wants us to "feel" their pain in our prayers so much so as if it were actually happening to us!
Shiva Mahbobi understands that level of pain. At age 16, she was arrested by the Islamic regime and put in Iran's most deadliest prison for three and one half years of intense torture because she spoke out against the evil atrocities of her government.
When Shiva was finally released she vowed to never forget the cruel treatment of fellow prisoners. She has dedicated her life to being a voice of hope for Iranian political prisoners.
Just recently, Shiva was a guest on my blog talk radio program, "The Cross in the Desert," live from London, England via Skype. Shiva explained her role as Spokesperson for the Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) as an outreach of compassion, hope and awareness about the unjust treatment of Iranian political prisoners. One such example of unjust treatment, is Zeinab Jalalian, a political prisoner that she features on her TV program and Facebook page. Zeinab was originally arrested by Iran and scheduled for execution. After much political pressure from human rights groups her sentence was downgraded to life. However Zeinab is suffering from a serious eye disease complicated by periods of intense torture and is being refused any medical treatment. Unless she receives immediate medical treatment she will go blind. This is where Shiva and the CFPPI come in. They begin by sending emails, letters, creating petitions, producing TV programs and making their case known worldwide throughout the media. Shiva interviews the parents, friends and loved ones of the prisoners on her television program, speaking out for their injustices and calling for their freedom. By creating worldwide awareness, CFPPI puts pressure on the Iranian regime and in some cases they listen and slowly respond by providing adequate medical care for the helpless prisoner.
"Don't let their heartbeats stop," is a recent media campaign with videos featuring political prisoners like Zeinab who are in hopeless conditions. Iran subjects most of its prisoners to what is called, "silent death' where they gradually let them die from lack of medical care and deplorable prison conditions. In this way the regime can plead  "innocent" because they didn't directly execute them.
Shiva told me that we must be relentless in sending letters and emails, organizing rallies and keeping the case of political prisoners in the media spotlight so they are never forgotten. She tells anyone who wants to be involved that
 the most important thing they can do is donate their time and their voices for these helpless prisoners who have no voice of their own.
The passion of what Shiva does comes from an unforgettable experience she had while in Evin Prison in 1984. Right before her eyes she witnessed her best friend being executed!
Shiva has never forgotten that experience. She has dedicated her life to being a voice of hope and compassion to the voiceless.
The write of Hebrews reminds us to never forget those who are in prison. Shiva has not. Her prison house of suffering became the catalyst for her mission in life. Shiva has dedicated and sacrificed her life for those behind bars in Iran.
She is calling us to join her in the cause. What will you do?

For more information or to become involved. Click on this link.