Incarcerated blogger and human rights activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has written a letter to imprisoned rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Nasrin Sotoudeh launched a hunger strike on October 17 protesting violations of her legal rights, and mistreatment of, and pressures put on, her family by the Judiciary.
Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh’s husband, in an interview last week with Kalameh, announcing Nasrin’s hunger strike, said, “I urged her to change her mind and not go on a hunger strike, but she was adamant saying there is nothing else that she can do while imprisoned, my last resort to voice protest is to launch a hunger strike.
Just imagine, a defense attorney who must resort to writing her own defense on a piece of napkin, then for it to be confiscate it, telling her that she has committed an illegal act, and from that date, being denied face-to-face visitation with her children.”
I am concerned for my wife. She has already become so thin and weak that she is unrecognizable to those who have not seen her in some time. Imagine how much worse will it be after she goes on a hunger strike.”
Nasrin Sotoudeh has been imprisoned since September 4, 2010. She was tried and convicted on charges of acting against the national security, propagating against the regime, and membership in The Defenders of Human Rights Center. She was sentenced to six years imprisonment, banned from practicing law and banned from leaving the country for 20 years, and also fined 50,000 Tomans for not observing the Islamic code of attire (Hijab).
Complete text of the letter written by Hossein Ronaghi as provided to the Kalameh site is as follows:
No one is thinking about the flowers
No one is thinking about the goldfish
No one wants to believe
That the garden is dying
That the heart of the garden is inflamed under the sun
That the garden’s mind is slowly, slowly
Emptying from the green memories
And it seems that the garden’s senses
Are something incorporeal, that have rotted in loneliness of the garden
The yard of our home is alone
The yard of our home is yawning, awaiting rain from an unknown cloud
And the pond in our home is empty.
Dear Lady Nasrin,
On the difficult path to liberty, the freedom seeking people inevitably endure much pain and suffering, and the aberrant pain of injustice and oppression. But these sorts of pain and hardships that we, side by side, for our common purpose, have endured for our beloved Iran, is not fruitless.
The Self Sacrificing Lady,
It has been some days since you launched a hunger strike, and I know the reason; to achieve your basic legal and human rights – symbolizing the rights of all of us – which you have been deprived of – just as we have been denied those rights.
Therefore, I do not know if I, like others should urge you to halt your hunger strike or not? If I do, am I not vindicating silence before what is deemed unjust? If I do not, then why do I not join you in your quest? Then why am I so meekly complaining? Why when we see you, see myself and others, do we not speak up?
The Steadfast Lady Of My Land,
You told me one day, in this same prison, that you firmly believe that our work is not in vain. That we are on the right path that will not be without results. And all of our struggles will bear fruit.
You said that in this era of mass communications, no secret will remain hidden, victory will be ours. You told me about Aung San Suu and other freedom fighters as examples. All those who long suffered but steadfast stood, and did not lose faith in the whirlwind of disappointments.
We stand by your side, and believe in our goal. Is it not so that we all share the same pain and joy? How could we not be heart broken by the tyranny and oppression that is inflicted upon you.
Yes, we all have been afflicted with pain and sorrow, but there is another fact. The fact of being imprisoned, which is deemed most honorable if it is for defending the rights of others, for defending the honor of others, and for the protection of liberty and justice, the national interest and the progress of our homeland, however unjust and suffering it may cause. That is why we are proud of you and prison-mates such as yourself.
Today, I have decided to exercise my rights; to protest and object to the injustice and oppression that now rule, and the appalling events that have become normal policy, that are occurring under the shadow of lawlessness and against the rule of law.
It is obvious that acts of deception, hypocrisy, lies and repression no longer work, and the people’s awareness has disabled the weapons of threats, enticement and deception.
In the end, and inevitably, the foundations of tyranny will collapse, oppression will cease, and liberty will dawn.
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki