Following is a translation of an interview conducted by Fereshteh Ghazi of Roozonline with wife of condemned to death teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari.
In an interview with Rooz site, Abdolreza Ghanbari’s wife called the news of execution of her husband false and not true.
Ghanbari’s wife, Sakineh Habibi, said after meeting with her husband in prison, his case is still being reviewed by the Amnesty and Clemency Commission and she and her children are very hopeful.
In the last few days, there has been rumors about his case having been sent from the Amnesty and Clemency Commission to the Implementation Division. A letter from one of his cellmates at Evin ward 350 was also printed on some news sites indicating that Ghanbari had already been informed about his death sentence being sent to the Implementation Division.
Last Saturday, Ghanbari’s wife, in an interview with Rooz, said she has no information about the impending execution and said, after her scheduled meeting with her husband the following Monday, she can then confirm or deny the rumor.
After meeting with her husband on Monday, she can now confirm that the rumors are unfounded, her husband’s case is still at the Amnesty and Clemency Commission, and her husband has not been informed of his case having been sent to the Implementation Division.
Sakineh Habibi said, “God only knows what we went through during these days. We were extremely worried but had no way of obtaining any information, because the phone communications with ward 350 are banned, it leaves us with no news from one visit to the next on Mondays.
Yesterday during my visit I asked my husband about this news. He was surprised and said such a thing is not true and nothing has been communicated to him.”
Exploitation by Mojahedin Khalgh (MEK) for propaganda use
Mr. Ghanbari was arrested few days after Ashura in 2009 (December of 2009) at the school where he was a teacher.
He was charged and convicted of Moharebeh (enemy of God) for affiliation with Mojahedin Khalgh group (MEK). He was sentenced to death for having received emails and one phone contact from Mojahedin.
His wife denies all of these charges and says, “He had no connection with this organization, was not a supporter of this organization, but, like the rest of the people in Iran, considers them to be a terrorist organization.”
Mrs. Ghanbari explains, “In a meeting I had with the Prosecutor I told him how very unhappy we are with Monafeghin’s (MEK) exploitation of this case for their propaganda use. I am not happy about this and my husband is not happy about it either.
My husband is a teacher and an educator, he was not politically active and was not connected with any person or group or any organization, and no group or organization has the right to take advantage of his case.”
Mrs. Ghanbari points out that lately she has been hearing from people at the visitation room in prison or from friends that the Mojahedin Khalgh’s media broadcasted Mr. Ghanbari’s voice pretending he is a political activist and one of their supporters.
She explains, “We do not have any platform to voice our opinion from, we only hear these things and are very upset about these issues.
Like my husband says, if this organization had any credibility among the people they would not have had to hide behind fictitious names and when they call they would at least identify themselves.
But because they have no credibility and honor they call using aliases, then they record the voice of the person they are calling to use in their broadcast meaning, that in principle, all they are after is to exploit a situation for their political use and benefit. It’s not important to them that they are causing harm and innocent people are victims of their actions.
I hereby, on behalf of my husband, announce that we have no affiliation with, nor do we like this organization, an organization that it’s biggest achievement has been to betray their people and their country and whatever they say about my husband is an absolute lie and not true.”
Mrs. Ghanbari stresses, “Inside the country we have no outlet to be able to raise our voice, there is nowhere we can go to speak nor anywhere that we can write and say that we are not affiliated with Mojahedin. We do not accept them, but they are playing with our lives for political exploitation.
To no avail, several times, I have gone to media inside the country and asked them to publish our case. For this reason, now I have to give an interview to media outside of the country to explain our situation.
In my entire life I have not known anyone connected with this organization or anyone supporting them. They better leave us alone. They are playing with Mr. Ghanbari’s life. They are after their own interests. They want my husband to be executed so they can exploited it politically. Please write all of these things and please stop them.”
Abdolreza Ghanbari is a high school teacher in Pakdasht and also a teacher at Payamnour university. He was arrested on January 4, 2010 at the high school where he teaches.
He was charged with Moharebeh (enemy of God) and with affiliation with Mojahedin Khalgh Organization (MKO/MEK). He was sentenced to death in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavti.
According to Judiciary law, an Appeals Court does not have the authority to review Moharebeh cases and the case must be sent to the Supreme Court. Mr. Ghanbari’s case however was sent to Branch 36 of the Appeals Court presided by Judge Zargar instead of being sent to the Supreme Court. Judge Zargar upheld the death sentence of Mr. Ghanbari.
A new hearing request by Mr. Ghanbari was denied by the Supreme Court. He requested amnesty and clemency, but after one year has passed, the Amnesty and Clemency Commission has not yet given him an answer.
In an interview with Mrs. Ghanbari on Saturday August 13, 2011 regarding the email and the phone call that was used as evidence to sentence her husband to death, she said, “An email account is like a mail box; any one can write anything and drop it in the box.
Just because an email is sent to someone or to my husband does it mean that my husband or that person is guilty and should they be punished just for having received an email? Is this concrete evidence?
About the phone call, I also asked my husband. He said on Ashura day when he had gone out with our daughter he received a phone call asking him about the protests and clashes on the streets. But my husband disconnected the call and even removed the SIM card out of his phone so they couldn’t call him back.
If my husband wanted to cooperate with them, he would have not hung up on them nor would he have removed his SIM card. He had gone out with our daughter who was eight years old at the time. This is his only crime that may end up costing him his life.”
Mrs. Ghanbari said that she and her two children are very hopeful that the Amnesty and Clemency Commission will grant her husband amnesty.