Imprisoned blogger and human rights activist, Housein Ronaghi Maleki, has written a letter to Tehran Prosecutor General (Jafari-Dowlatabadi) describing the hardships of ward 350 in Evin prison and the illegal actions of IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) in not allowing him needed medical furlough.
Following is translation of his letter to Jafari-Dowlatabadi as was provided to, and published by, The Human Rights Activists News Agency:
With greetings and respect,
On July 29, 2011 you summoned me so I could describe my physical health condition and my problems to you. You promised that within two to three weeks you would personally visit ward 350 and personally probe the problems and difficulties that exist in this ward.
I would have liked it if you had kept your promise, so I could have personally handed you this letter and not relied on an indirect manner of letting you see and read this letter.
I and my fellow inmates waited to see you, but you like some of the other officials of the Islamic Republic, you did not keep your promise.
Dear Prosecutor, I remember at the time when you took charge of the Prosecution office, interviews with you were published in Mardomsalari, Etelaat and Hemayat newspapers. In those interviews you emphasized the point that you would stop the influence of the intelligence agencies on the Judiciary.
At the time, those words indicated a great transformation awaited the Judiciary. None of the existing laws governing the country allow any legal way for the security agencies and the police to influence the Judiciary.
However, my doubts about the reality of your remarks arose when, in August of 2010, my furlough order issued by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court under a $300,000 bail was canceled by the IRGC.
These doubts, however, later became a certainty. You had indicated that the Prosecution had agreed with my medical furlough. However, IRGC objected to it and has said that, even with a one million dollar bail, I, Housein Ronaghi Maleki can not be released on furlough.
Do you remember, you said the Prosecutor’s office could not do anything if IRGC opposed the furlough? Do you remember, when I told you about the tortures in the detention centers of the Intelligence Ministry and IRGC?
I explained to you all the violations of the Prison Bureau’s rules and regulations, violations of the Constitution and violations of the Islamic penal code in these detention centers.
You said, these issues do not pertain to you and there is nothing that you (the Prosecutor) can do about them. Do you remember you said that you are not involved in these matters?
Do you remember, I explained to you about my poor physical condition as a result of two kidney operations, my gallbladder stone, my heart angina and my broken teeth which was a gift from the interrogators?
Do you remember, I was transferred back to prison against the strict instructions by the specialist doctors at Hasheminejad hospital, in spite of the instructions by Dr. Rezvani Head of west Tehran Medical Examiners office given in the memo No. 16820 dated May 11, 2010 recommending my transfer to a hospital outside of prison, and the repeated recommendations by the Medical Examiners office in memos dated June 28, 2011 and July 31, 2011 regarding the need for my transfer to a hospital outside of prison?
But against all of these recommendations, I was transferred back to prison.
Do you remember I told you about my lack of access to proper nutrition, medicine, specialized doctors and a calm environment needed for my recovery. Do you remember what your response was? The only response you had was, due to IRGC’s objection, you could not grant me a furlough.
Do you remember in our previous meetings, you indicated that, if the Medical Examiner’s office approved my furlough, you would grant me a furlough?
After what you told me, I researched and found out that the Medical Examiner’s office had approved my medical furlough 3 months prior to your excellency’s conversations with me and had already sent you their letter of approval.
I told you at the time of our conversation that it is the security entities that decide who and how someone will receive medical treatment.
I don’t know why, but I think your knowledge about ward 350 is not very accurate. Do you remember when I talked with you about in-person visits and told you this has become like a dream for my friends and I?
Do you remember, you replied that the previous Monday I, Housein Ronaghi Maleki had an in-person visit?
Do you remember I told you that who ever is giving you information is not your friend, for I have not had any in person visits for five months, and to this date have not had any.
Do you remember, you simply replied, “Write a request now and I will approve it.”?
Your excellency, the Tehran Prosecutor General,
Do you remember I told you about the shameful food quality in prison and I stressed that not even five percent of the food standards indicated in the Bureau of Prisons rules and regulations are followed? In reply you said, “You provide yourselves with plenty of high quality food, you even eat pistachios.”
Do you remember, I explained to you abut the sub-standard sanitary conditions in ward 350? I told you that for every 30 prisoners there is one bathroom facility and one working toilet.
I told you that, now that we pay for our own food, let us pay for providing ourselves with proper bathroom and toilet facilities. Your reply was, “What would people say if we allow this.” I remember very well what you said. You said that you would pursue this matter yourself. To this date we have not seen any result in this matter.
Mr. Dowlatabadi, remember when you said that all the political prisoners are granted furlough, and I replied that only a limited number are granted furlough.
Do you remember I told you that every month 30 to 40 letters are sent to you but you do not reply to them?
You replied, “Where in the world does the Prosecutor meet with the prisoners directly?”
I said, everywhere in the world, the prosecutor is not an unreachable authority and the citizens can freely go to his office and visit with him.
I also remember that you said, “In cases like yours (the political and security defendants), Judiciary is not the ultimate decision maker”.
Of course, considering your remarks, I am puzzled by you telling me to write a letter requesting pardon so you can reduce my sentence.
Do you remember, in reply, I told you that both you and I know that my 15 years prison sentence is unjust and is political because the maximum punishment for my charges under the Islamic Republic’s penal code is six years in prison?
Do you remember I told you my only request is a for a just trial, without the influence of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Intelligence Ministry?
Dear Mr. Prosecutor, remember I that told you, we are the children of this nation and we should not be treated as enemies.
I remember I told you that before I was imprisoned, I was accused of slander and propaganda against the system. This when. in fact, we do not want anything out of, or beyond the laws of the Islamic Republic.
Dear Prosecutor, I wanted you to come to ward 350 and see for yourself that the yard space for prisoners per capita is less than 2 square meters per person.
I don’t know how they have explained to you that in this 2 square meter there is enough room for recreational facility and sports facility.
Remember. I told you what they call recreational facility is a few dumbbells in the yard, and this is the only available body building equipment for ward 350.
Remember, I told you that the political prisoners, despite their high potential and high knowledge of political, cultural and scientific matters are deprived of all the usual cultural facilities that are provided to those convicted on financial misconduct and drug charges.
Remember I told you that the newspapers that are provided to people convicted on financial misconduct charges are not provided to the political prisoners in ward 350.
I wish you would just come to ward 350 and see for yourself the unequal treatment that we receive here.
Dear Prosecutor, it was interesting to me that you made me give you a letter of guaranty to accept all the charges for my surgeries, hospital costs and post-operation care.
I thought to myself then, if an inmate is covered by the prison provided insurance, why should pay all the costs incurred for my health care?
Of course, it became more interesting after I realized that Hasheminejad hospital that charged me $14000 for my surgeries is covered by the Prison Bureau’s insurance.
What does it really mean to put such financial pressure on families of the prisoners and force them to pay especially when a hospital accepts Bureau of Prison’s medical insurance?
Dear Prosecutor, my silence to date was due to my decency. I tried to avoid resorting to the leverage of the media and public opinion to obtain the rights that you speak about.
Aren’t your statements so far an indication that the current methods are ineffective and won’t have any actual results? Don’t all of these lead me towards changing my actions? For various reasons, I hope that it is not so.
Housein Ronaghi Maleki
Evin ward 350