Iranian American Organizations Seek Congressional Support for Federal Hate Crime Investigation into Murder of College Student

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif.--()--A coalition of Iranian-American organizations, including Iranian Alliances Across Borders, Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, PARS Equality Center, and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, released a letter today asking Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48th), Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), and other members of Congress to urge the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out an open and rigorous federal hate crime investigation into the murder of Iranian American college student Shayan Mazroei.

“If this act of violence was directed at Mr. Mazroei because of his Iranian heritage, U.S. federal authorities should seek to prosecute or aid state or local authorities in the prosecution of this hate crime to the full extent of the law.”

According to news reports, 22-year-old Shayan Mazroei was stabbed to death by 37-year-old Craig Matthew Tanber outside a bar in Laguna Niguel on September 7th. Mr. Tanber, who is reportedly a member of the prominent Orange County white supremacist gang Public Enemy Number 1 (PEN1), is now in police custody and has been charged with the murder of Mr. Mazroei.

The letter notes that eyewitness accounts suggest the sequence of events which led to the fatal stabbing of Mazroei began after Tanber’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Thornburg, initiated the altercation with racial slurs. Allegedly, Thornburg noticed Mazroei’s Persian tattoo which reads ‘Love’ and called the Iranian-American engineering student a terrorist.

“Despite this overwhelming evidence, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office characterized the incident as a ‘fight over a girl’ and has refused both to investigate the involvement of Ms. Thornburg in the altercation and to acknowledge the racial motive in this case,” the authors write in the letter. “If this act of violence was directed at Mr. Mazroei because of his Iranian heritage, U.S. federal authorities should seek to prosecute or aid state or local authorities in the prosecution of this hate crime to the full extent of the law.”

The letter condemns the violence that was committed as a direct result of Mazroei’s Iranian heritage. It urges the members of Congress to call on federal authorities to investigate the role of bias into Mazroei’s murder and send a clear message that as Americans we will not tolerate hate crimes. “As leading Iranian-American advocacy and anti-discrimination organizations, we will continue to act to eliminate such hatred and radicalism in our communities,” the letter asserts.

For More Information Visit www.JusticeForShayan.com

Contacts

PARS Equality Center
Nazy Fahimi, Esq., 650-321-6400
nfahimi@parsequalitycenter.org
or
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans
Morad Ghorban, 202-828-8370
morad@paaia.org
or
National Iranian American Council
Elham Khatami, 202-386-6325
ekhatami@niacouncil.org
or
Iranian Alliances Across Borders
Mana Kharrazi, 404-384-8669
mana@iranianalliances.org
or
Iranian American Bar Association
Leila Mansouri, 703-283-1962
leila@iaba.us

Release Summary

Iranian American Organizations Seek Congressional Support for Federal Hate Crime Investigation into Murder of College Student

Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans