Monday, March 21, 2011

Days of Oppression & Resistance

From Rooz online.

365 Days of Suppression and Resistance
by Fereshteh Ghazi

[The past one] year began with the en-mass arrest of political, media, civil and public activists; the year is highlighted with executions and horrendous interrogations in which interrogators issued prison sentences on behalf of judges.

The year began with execution sentences for five members of a family. The death penalty of Motahere Bahrami, Reyhane Haj Ibrahimi and Hadi Gaemi were reduced to 19 years of exiled prison who were sent to Rajaishahr prison in Karaj, but the death sentence of two other members Ahmad and Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam were upheld. This father and son, along with Abdol-Reza Ghanbari - an arrested teacher - remain in danger of being executed.

In Ordibehesht, the second month of 1389 [April 20-May 20, 2010], 5 political prisoners were secretly executed, something that shocked Iran and the world as Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher, Shirin Elam Hooi, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili and Mehdi Eslamian left us. This marked the beginning of other secret executions that followed. The family members and parents of these prisoners were banned from holding any mourning or memorial services for them and even their bodies were not delivered to them. Some of the family members were arrested as well.

Soon, Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Haj Aghayari, Hossein Khazri and Zahra Bahrami were also secretly executed and buried, their families never seeing them or even their bodies after their disappearance and execution. Saeed Malekpour, according to his wife, and Hamid Ghasemishal face the possibility of execution. Their death sentences were suspended once.

Zeinab Jalalian, Habibollah Gholbarioour, Zonyar and Loghman Moradi, Habibollah Latifi, Shirkoo Moarefi and other political prisoners have been sentenced to death and await their fate. The death sentences of Habibollah Latifi and Shirkoo Moarefi had once earlier been suspended, but there is no certainty this would happen again.

But it was not just political prisoners who were secretly executed last year. Many non-political prisoners, particularly in the city of Mashhad, too were executed in secret.

Like previous years, 1389 was the year when “steps against national security, espionage, fighting God, propaganda against the regime, inciting public opinion, publishing lies, creating suspicion, election rigging, disrupting public order through creating chaos", etc were the charges that were made against most of the prisoners who were given heavy sentences.

In 1389, the staff of foreign embassies, journalists, civil activists, judges, political, media and civil activists, including many prominent personalities inside the regime and some even founders of the Islamic republic were arrested, and some such as Mostafa Tajzadeh and his wife Fakhrolsadat Mohtashemipour continue to remain in detention.

Most of these prisoners remained deprived of even their prison rights and had no visitation rights, telephone calls, etc. But the letters and messages of these prisoners that made it out of prison confirmed their perseverance and resistance against the cruelty inside the prison.

Some, such as Tajzadeh, Mohammad Nourizadeh, Majid Tavakoli, Bahare Hedayat, Issa Saharkhiz, also wrote public letters that exposed what went on behind bars.

Perhaps the cruelest sentence went to Jaafar Panahi, Nasrin Sotudeh, Jila Bani Yaghoob, Ahmadi Zeidabadi, Emad Bahavar, Hossei Ronaghi Maleki, and Hossein Derakhshan, the two latter ones receiving 15 and 19 year prison sentences.

During the year, “safe houses”, which are secret detention centers, once again were used against political activists.

In 1389, regime officials even feared tomb stones of those it executed and so refrained from declaring the site of burial of many of those it murdered to their family members.

These atrocities were so gross that the Kahrizak prison had to be shut. This was the site of brutal murders, rape and torture of prisoners.

Even mothers of prisoners were not immune from arrest and detention. Mothers of Saeed Zeynali and Hesam Tarmesi were arrested as they were pursing to find out the condition of their imprisoned children. These two mothers were eventually released on bail, but Hakimeh Shokri and Neda Mostaghimi, two other mothers were arrested and charged with espionage and acting against national security.

This was [also] the year the people of Iran came to the streets and called the leader of the Islamic republic a dictator and announced that he too would face what Mubarak of Egypt and Bin Ali of Tunisia faced.

The complete article can be read here ...

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