Family of 19 year old Amir Yousefzadeh, who was killed during July 2009 post-election protests in Tehran, breaks their silence after 26 months.
July of 2009 during the anti government protests, a number of students were protesting around Enghlab square and Tehran university. They were attacked and beaten by batons resulting in injuries that sent many of them to hospital.
Amir Yousefzadeh was one of the severely injured students who was taken to the hospital but lost his life and died there.
In the last 26 months, despite all the threats to remain silent, many families who lost loved ones have spoken up and gave interviews to the media. However, there are still families that, due to threats and pressures, do not feel safe enough to speak up and give details of how their children died.
These are mostly families that have other sons and daughters living in Iran and have been repeatedly threatened with their arrest if they speak up.
Families of 50 people who died during the post-election unrest have spoken up by giving interviews to the media and giving details of how loved ones died.
Included in the families that have spoken up are the families of: Ali Fatahian, Lotfali Yousefian, Housein Akhtarzand, Ramin Aghazadeh-Ghahremani, Amir Housein Toofanpour, Alireza Eftekhari, Bahman Jenaei, Naser Amirnejad and now, the family of Amir Yousefzadeh.
These are families who broke their silence after two years and joined the families of the martyrs who had given details of their loved ones deaths.
The assassinated Dr. Soudbakhsh’s family has also recently spoken up in interviews with both Jaras and Rooz news sites saying that his assassination was due to his treating the post-election protesters who were victims of rape at Kahrizak prison.
Now, the father of Amir Yousefzadeh speaks to Jaras and says, “I, as the father of Amir, will seek justice for my son as long as I am alive.”
Amir was our entire life, we have been destroyed
Amir Yousefzadeh’s father says, “My son was an electronics major at Tehran university, he was only 19 years old when they did this to him and we lost him.”
He adds, “I wish the same pain upon the people who inflicted this unbearable pain upon myself and Amir’s mother.”
When asked about how he found out about his son’s death in July of 2009, he replied, “Amir had gone to the university, he never came back. We received a phone call telling us he is in the hospital.”
His reply to our question of if he was able to see Amir in the hospital before he died and see what happened to him, was, “Many people witnessed where Amir was and what happened to him. When we reached the hospital he was already dead and his body was in the hospital’s morgue. We asked them to let us see his body but they refused to allow us and said he is already gone.”
When asked, why they reported heart failure as his cause of death? He replied, “Let them say what they want, it does not matter, but you write what the truth is. Amir was our everything, he was our entire life. Not only was he a great help to me, but he was everything to our family, we could lean on him, he was our everything……everything……”
In regards to pursuing his case with the Judiciary he said, “We filed a complaint after we lost Amir but they refused to accept our complaint. But, I will seek justice for my son as long as I am alive.
Amir had not done anything wrong, he had not said anything wrong. He had gone to the university when protests erupted. He, like many other students joined the protest. He didn’t do anything wrong but they (Judiciary officials) won’t listen to us and they won’t accept our complaint.”
Families should not allow the officials deny the death of their loved ones:
In an interview with Jaras, Parvin Fahimi, mother of 19 year old Sohrab Arabi who was shot and killed during peaceful protest of June 15, 2009 said, “I have seen Amir Yousefzadeh’s family at lot 257 of Beheshte Zahra (Tehran cemetery) many times.
They are elderly parents that sit at the grave site of their son in deep pain, in silence. But breaking their silence is an indication that other families will follow and do the same eventually.
There are many others who are buried in the same area that our children are buried. They will also one day break their silence.”
Mrs. Fahimi reminds us that according to Amir’s family he died as a result of being beaten with batons and, the sad thing is that only few days before he died he had received his organ donation card.
Mrs. Fahimi continues, “According to Amir’s family and as far as I know, because Amir was carrying his organ donation card with him, they removed his organs right there and then in the hospital.”
Parvin Fahimi tells us, “In the early days of the unrest and protests, after my son went missing, I searched everywhere for him and visited many hospitals where I saw 40-50 severely injured protesters. Now, is there anyone who can tell us what happened to these severely injured people? What became of them?
Many people after they died were buried quietly in Beheshte Zahra and their families remained silent due to pressures and not feeling safe.”
She said that the silence of families of those killed allows the authorities to deny that there were any mortalities during the mass protests. She hopes for the families to break their silence and not allow the rights of those killed be trampled on.
With regards to the recent denial of the officials that no one was killed during the protests and at the same time, their concern over the protesters in London, Mrs. Fahimi said, “I at times feel that it is unfortunate that some of the families have remained silent and the officials are exploiting their silence.”
We, who go to Beheshte Zahra, see the graves of many who were killed. We know the number of people killed is much higher than they admit. Of course, the officials won’t give any data, they even deny there were any mortalities. For example Mr. Larijani (Judiciary Chief) said there was only one mortality during the protests.
People in Iran know that there were many killed but unfortunately many families have chosen to stay silent. This silence is a betrayal of those who were killed.”
Amir’s classmates have also Inevitably remained silent:
The question may be asked that, if the families of the protesters who were killed have remained silent, then why their classmates and their friends have also stayed silent.
This very silence about those killed has allowed the officials to exploit the situation and deny any deaths in the regime’s official media. They have said, “How is it possible that a person is killed but none of their classmates or friends have published a single picture of them on the Internet.”
One of Amir’s friends, who recently provided a picture of his grave site, told Jaras, “In the early days they also told us that he died of heart failure. We went to Beheshte Zahra and witnessed the moans and groans of his mother, cries of his father and the tears of his brother and family. There, his family told us that he was killed as a result of being beaten with batons.”
In reply to the question of why Amir’s friends have stayed silent and have not spoken up, he said, “Amir’s death was back breaking for us, we could neither tolerate the pain nor would Amir come to life again.
At the same time, they had told his family that he died of a heart failure. His family may have not felt safe to talk. We decided not to speaks up so we don’t cause any danger to his family.”
He adds, “A poem in Turkish is inscribed on Amir’s grave stone, a poem that Amir always recited. I can tell you with certainly that Amir was not afraid of dying, he died with love and awareness.”
Amir is buried between Ashkan and Sohrab
Ladan Mostafaei, wife of martyr Ali Hassanpour ,talks about 19 year old Amir who was killed during the 2009 post-election events. She said, “I sometimes go to the grave site of other martyrs, and see Amir’s parents who sit at his grave site and quietly cry. It is heart breaking to see this broken family, but there is neither a picture of Amir during the protest nor is a video showing Amir being beaten.
Despite the fact that my husband’s picture with a gun shot wound to his head was publicized, the officials continue to deny Ali’s death. You can imagine how easy it is for them to deny the death of a student that no pictures of him were published.”
She, like Sohrab Arabi’s mother believes that the families should brake their silence and speak up so the rights of the Green martyrs are not trampled upon.
With this belief, she says, “It is our duty to be the voice of those innocent people who were murdered.”