Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, a member of the Swiss Parliament and Representative of the Committee for Secularism and Democracy in Iran, delivered a powerful speech at the Free Iran World Summit on July 1, 2023. Joined by her colleagues Yvonne Ferry, Eric Vorue, and Christiane Perregot, she expressed Switzerland’s firm support for the defense of human rights and the establishment of true democracy in Iran, while emphasizing the importance of unity in achieving a democratic, secular, and inclusive society for the Iranian people. The Swiss MP also highlighted the importance of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s visionary Ten-Point Plan and called for the abolition of the death penalty.
The translated text speech of Mrs. Laurence Fehlmann Rielle follows:
Madam President-elect of the NCRI, dear Madam Rajavi, ladies and gentlemen, in your titles and positions, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to speak briefly after this long afternoon filled with inspiring and committed speeches.
Allow me to introduce the Swiss delegation, one of my colleagues, Yvonne Ferry, who is a parliamentarian from the Swiss-German side, and myself representing the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Behind me is Mr. Eric Vorue, a former parliamentarian, and also with us is Ms. Christiane Perregot, a tireless advocate for the cause of a free Iran and a dear friend of the Rajavi family.
As a member of the Swiss Parliament and representative of the Committee for Secularism and Democracy in Iran, whose members I have introduced to you, I have come to express our firm support for the defense of human rights and the establishment of true democracy in Iran. This country, as you all know, has been living under a religious dictatorship for over 40 years, and any opposition has always been fiercely repressed.
The uprising that followed the murder of the young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, has seriously shaken the regime, contradicting the propaganda of the mullahs, who want to make us believe that their power is deeply rooted and cannot be overthrown. However, the opposition exists, it is alive and strong, it is embodied notably by the NCRI, and it must expand to include all components that advocate for the building of a democratic, secular, and inclusive society.
I commend Mrs. Maryam Rajavi‘s 10-point plan, which advocates for the abolition of Sharia, the elimination of all forms of discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, and religion. It calls for the autonomy of different population groups that make up this beautiful country called Iran, such as the Kurds, who have been struggling for decades to have their existence recognized, not only in Iran but in all the countries where they reside.
Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Member of the National Council of Switzerland @FehlmannRielle:
There is a strong opposition to this regime symbolized by NCRI which works for an inclusive society. They have a 10-Point Plan that puts forward equality, secular government, and the autonomy… pic.twitter.com/KI9WVncfYs
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) July 11, 2023
I also emphasize the need to unite our forces for the abolition of the death penalty, which has claimed numerous victims, especially during the recent uprising. Let us remember that Iran is one of the countries with the highest number of death sentences and executions in the world. I believe that since 2023, there have already been around 320 executions, according to various sources, including official sources and particularly Amnesty International. The international community must not settle for condemning the executions through statements alone but must truly pressure Iran to abolish this barbaric practice. Switzerland must also intervene more firmly, as it places the abolition of the death penalty at the center of its foreign policy concerns, with its strategy aiming for no more death penalty by 2025. We are already halfway through 2023, so time is running out.
I also want to highlight the courage and immense commitment of Iranian women, who pay a heavy price in the fight against religious fascism. I have had the opportunity and the honor to visit Ashraf 3 in Albania, in Tirana, at least three times. I have had the chance to discuss and witness the extent of the commitment of many women who stand alongside the NCRI and who dedicate their lives to this cause so that the residents can finally live in Iran free from all this barbarism. Most of these women have shared heart-wrenching stories of their families being imprisoned, their loved ones being tortured, and ultimately executed. If you visit the museum in Tirana within the framework of Ashraf 3, it is absolutely poignant. I believe many of you have had the opportunity to visit, and it is something truly moving but also terrifying.
Our committee was shocked by the violent attack on Ashraf 3 by numerous Albanian police officers, an attack that resulted in the death of Ali Mostacheri, numerous injuries, and considerable damage. We applauded Albania’s humanitarian gesture in welcoming the many Iranian refugees whose lives were threatened in Iraq. It is essential that an independent investigation be conducted into this tragic incident, that the Albanian authorities be held accountable, and that the responsible international institutions for exiled individuals demand respect for the rights and protection of Ashraf residents.
There was the failed Villepinte bombing during the 2018 gathering. I imagine that many of you were present. This failed attack was orchestrated by the Iranian intelligence services, as you know, and the mastermind was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Unfortunately, after 5 years, he was exchanged in Iran for another Belgian prisoner. We must avoid at all costs allowing the Iranian regime to continue its terrorist activities on European soil or in other regions.
I will conclude by saluting once again the courage and tenacity of the opponents of the Iranian regime, especially the members and activists of the NCRI under the leadership of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, and we assure them of our full solidarity.