DW Duke

DW Duke is a California trial attorney and an author of eight books.  He is a human rights activist, the President of The Institute for Children’s Aid, former Director of Legal Affairs of Stop Child Executions, and co-founder of 70 Nations, Jerusalem, which are organizations devoted to securing the inalienable rights of children and others throughout the world, in nations where human rights abuses occur.

Nazanin Afshin Jam MacKay

Nazanin Afshin Jam MacKay is a recording artist, human rights activist, a writer and an actor.  She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia and a Master of International Diplomacy from Norwich University.


Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi spent 11 years in an Iranian prison. His crime? He stood for the right of Israel to exist.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi is the son of Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Kazemeini Boroujerdi who died under suspicious circumstances in an Iranian prison in 2002. His father was one of the leading religious leaders of Iran in the Pahlavi government and published over 30 books. He was widely respected in the Western world as well as in Iran and he refused to support Ayatollah Khamenei’s efforts to establish the Islamic regime in 1979. As a result of his refusal, he was persecuted and imprisoned in an Iranian prison where he eventually died.

The younger Ayatollah Boroujerdi, a Shi’a Muslim cleric, became openly critical of human rights abuses of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1994. For over a decade he spoke to his supporters about the need to peacefully promote their views and he was opposed to violence in any form. He supported the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion in Iran, and thought that the repressive government of Iran did not practice true Islam.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi in 2006, before his arrest (Image Credit: aish.com)

Boroujerdi taught, contrary to the position of radical Islam, that the Quran not only teaches that Israel belongs to the Jews, but that all faiths are to honour and respect the Jewish People. He further maintained that the Nation of Israel has a God-given right to exist which is not to be impeded by any other people or nation. This position was deemed to be treason by the clerical court, and for his crimes he was facing a probable sentence of death by hanging.

Despite his wide popularity, and millions of followers, on October 7, 2006, Boroujerdi was arrested along with many of his supporters who had gathered at his home. Witnesses say that they were incarcerated and subjected to torture in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran.

During his arraignment before trial, the government of Iran would not provide any information concerning his prosecution and detainment. In a special clerical court, without representation by legal counsel, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was initially sentenced to death. Due to appeals and international pressure, the sentence was changed to eleven years of imprisonment in exile in Yazd. He was then coerced, under threat of torture and injury to his family, to give a statement in which he confessed to certain acts. This forced confession was televised nationally to humiliate Boroujerdi and others who shared his belief in the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.

After his first humiliation, the mullahs brought Boroujerdi back to denounce the crimes to which he had previously confessed. When they gave him the microphone on live national television, instead of confessing to crimes, he denounced the government of Iran as heretics perverting Islam. They immediately cut the microphones and whisked him off the stage. That one moment, live on national television, became a rallying cry for the Green Movement that today seeks to peacefully persuade the current regime in Iran to abdicate.

After his release from prison (Image Credit: aish.com)

During his incarceration in Evin Prison Boroujerdi was brutally tortured, resulting in serious injury to his vital organs. He was repeatedly refused medical treatment by his captors, and his family and followers underwent brutal torture. His wife was brought into his prison cell and forcibly raped in his presence. He and his family were victims of incomprehensible cruelty at the hands of this tyrannical regime.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi committed no crime. He is a peaceful man who does not advocate violence, nor did he threaten the government of Iran in any way. All he did was advocate for the inalienable right of the individual to hold personal religious beliefs and to exercise freedom of speech and for the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign nation. For this he was subjected to imprisonment and torture under continuous threat of execution.

Boroujerdi and his family (Image Credit: aish.com)

After serving his term, Boroujerdi was released to house arrest where he remains to this day. While in prison, he defrocked himself and voluntarily surrendered his title “ayatollah” in protest of the Iranian state. Boroujerdi no longer advocates the Islamic faith or the Shi’a sect. Today he leads a movement that he established in 2018 called “Monotheism Without Borders.” He supports a monotheism that is not corrupted by Sharia law and seeks a common understanding among people of all monotheistic faiths and nationalities, embracing our commonality and eschewing that which divides us.

Boroujerdi and millions of others in Iran have been denied the basic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of thought, laid out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They have been arrested, held in confinement, and tortured because of their beliefs and for expressing their views on political matters. Many of them support Israel but are too afraid to express their solidarity. They feel a special kinship with Israelis because of their historical Persian leader, Cyrus the Great who, during the time of Mordechai and Queen Esther, ended the Babylonian exile, encouraging the Jews to return to the land of Israel and helping them rebuild the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

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