Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement in support of the Iran180 Hero Awards, which were presented today at a ceremony in New York City.  The awards were presented almost two years after Iran’s elections led to the controversial re-election of President Ahmadinejad.  Rep. Engel was one of several leaders who questioned the legitimacy of that election. 

Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, "It takes immense courage to stand up to an oppressive and murderous regime. Iran is a serious threat to international peace and stability, and the actions of these four heroes serve as an example for those who seek freedom in Iran. They have demonstrated bravery in the face of a tyrannical government and are well-deserving of today's recognition."

The honorees included – Homayoun Mobasseri, Hon, David Kilgour, Shabnam Assadollahi, and Ahmad Batebi. 

•           Assadollahi is a veteran human rights advocate who spent 18 months as a political prisoner in Evin prison at age 16.

•           Batebi, as a student involved in the July 1999 protests at Tehran University, appeared on the cover of The Economist holding the blood-stained shirt of a fellow protester. He spent 8 years in prison where he was tortured until he escaped in 2008.

•           Mabasseri is a former member of the Iranian Working Group for the Establishment of the International Criminal Court, which led to the formation of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran, on which he served as a board member

•           Kilgour is a former Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons.  He has brought the issue of human rights in Iran to the forefront of the political agenda in Canada and abroad.