Imprisoned student activist Majid Doori has written a letter from Karoon prison in Ahvaz after he was illegally transferred there from Behbahan prison. Following is translation of his letter:
I wanted to address my letter to the wall, but I know the wall would crumble after hearing my plight…..
Behbahan is a city where I spent three years of my life, without even seeing the city. When being transferred to Ahvaz, passing the Steil and Khareston squares and….I realized how many memories I have with them without having seen them before.
I realized how much memories I have from this city, without having even walked it’s streets. How familiar are the people of this city, without having met them.
Behbahan; without a doubt, one day I will come back and walk your streets and alleys to make up for the lost time.
People of Behbahan; I wish you knew how eager I was to meet you. I received nothing but compassion and love filled messages from you.
My gratitude to you for being there for me. I thank you for the kindness you gave to your uninvited guess. I am grateful to all of you and hope to see you.
In route to Ahvaz, it was about 5:30 PM, the hottest time of the day. The road was dry and there was very little traffic. There were hills and heat as far as you could see. There were mountains and heat. There were palm trees and heat.
The security guard accompanying me (his name was Gholam), handcuffed and shackled me, I objected; he said: “I know best”.
He is right. It appears the law is comprised of what they choose to be the law, because there was another man who was there on drug charges and was in transit to the correctional and rehabilitation facility, but he was not handcuffed or shackled. It was interesting to me how this decision was made.
The shackles had injured my legs, and, even when going to the restroom, the guard refused to remove them. Where did this decision come from? Who made these laws?
Exile, transfer, it’s a torment to move from cell to another cell in a prison, much less moving to a different prison. Much less facing an additional burden. The road, the heat, shackles, long distance travel, being far away from home, missing loved ones, worries, mountains, the past, the future, mirage, hills, thorns, leg wound from the shackles, bad behavior by the guard, grief, the why of having been imprisoned, still imprisoned, handcuffs, yesterday, the now without any conclusion, tomorrow, goodbye, hello…..
During all this time, I wrote letters to every one that I should have, asking for help in my case, it all fell on blind eyes and deaf ears. Perhaps they just pretend not to hear.
Four plus years of my life have been wasted behind the walls of prison, but it is a wound never healed. It is like an open wound out of which hurt always oozes. It erupts, fixed in time, friends gone, paths traveled.
I decided to write a letter, addressed to no one. A letter to no one, not even to myself. When they don’t hear, when they don’t understand, then, who should I write to, when they consider themselves as the center of the world and the criterion of justice.
So selfish and egotistical they are, that they want everybody to become like them. Can they be more pretentious than this?
Who should I write to? To those who have inflicted this great injustice on me? Who should I write to, when, in four years no one has asked why?
Why did they not allow my defense attorney to present his case? Why did they, without proof, rule on a charge that the judge himself found baseless?
When the so-called independent judge himself said he was under pressure. Why did no one ask what kind of pressure? Whose pressure?
Why, when my sentence was overruled by the Supreme Court, less than 10 days later the same sentence was issued again?
My sentence was divided into two parts: Moharebeh (enemy of God), and propaganda. Why did the Appeals Court uphold the Moharebeh charge that I objected to, but overturned the propaganda charges that I did not object to?
Why was the issue of my formal complaint against the Judge and the prosecutor not even raised? Why did they enforce my exile? Why did they not even give me one day of furlough to attend my brother’s wedding, even after bail was posted?
Why 250 million Tomans for 2 years? Why did the Judge include in my sentence exile to Eizeh, when there is not even a prison there? You mean he didn’t know? Why exile to Behbahan? Why then exile to Ahvaz again? Why and why and tens of whys left without answers?
I spent two years and nine months in Behbahan prison. Because of the laudable behavior of my cellmates and the guards, there are few thing that I will not forget. When I came to Karoon prison in Ahvaz, how I enjoyed the courtyard and the fresh air, and the being able to see the sky, however reticulated, I couldn’t help but remember the courtyard in Behbahan prison that was covered with layers of mesh wire.
Some times in the city there was a lot of dust in the air, but we never felt it because of the layers of mesh wire covering over the courtyard. There was not much air movement there, and this made the place very hot.
Every time an official or inspectors came there, they saw that. I told them about this tens of times, but each time to no avail. Breathing fresh air was a longing and seeing the sky, a dream.
A prison that housed inmates twice to two and a half times it’s capacity. Less than the needed number of bathrooms. With more and more limitations in place everyday. More control everyday. Even prison visits became more & more limited.
A prison with no library. Cultural activities stopped for lack of 100 thousand Tomans. Even though there was no space to hold classes, receiving furlough was based on attending and completing classes.
When 10-12 people were in the courtyard and more then three hundred people trying to use the restroom facilities, there was hardly any space to walk. The number of the inmates who had to sleep on the floor increased daily.
Guards that made arbitrary decisions to confiscate books and other items, even under garments, and stopped them from reaching the prisoners.
They closed the concession area. Smoking was no longer permitted, but then, after objections, they were selling Winston cigaret for 6000 Tomans a pack. Favoritism in giving points towards receiving privileges, but making it harder to receive points. Non-separation of the inmates according to their crime.
The efforts of prison officials trying to remedy the problems was fruitless, due to failure to receive enough budget. Not enough space. Increased number of prisoners, without providing rehabilitation.
Very low quality of food from trying to save money, and from the purchase of low quality and cheap food. Items that, even with the prisoners trying hard to make them tasty, it was not possible and not really edible.
Officials and inspectors usually only came for visits during winter months when the weather was in better condition. Their visits never resulted in anything positive. It only created more limitations, closer monitoring of the prisoners so they couldn’t disclose anything. And, if they did, they faced exile or loss of their furlough privileges. All of this was apart from all the special preparations that were done, just prior to the inspectors’ visits.
I wanted to address my letter to the wall, but I know the wall would crumble after hearing my plight. So I decided to address a specific audience. Because all of these might be some peoples’ criteria for human rights standards, and I might unwillingly question and/or harm the human rights criteria of these gentlemen, which according to them has become the international human rights standards.
At this time, I am in Ahvaz. Karoon prison. Another city. Courtesy requires me to first say hello to Ahvaz: Hello Ahvaz! Would you like an uninvited guest?!
Karoon prison, Ahvaz
On Monday, July 27, Majid Dori, an Allameh University student barred from continuing education, was suddenly, and without knowledge of the Judiciary officials, transferred from Behbahan prison to Karoon prison in Ahvaz.
Majid Doori, member of Right to Education Committee, was arrested in Ghazvin on July 9, 2009/ He was tried later that month without having a defense attorney present, and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, plus exile to another city. The Appeals Court later overturned that sentence and gave him 5 years imprisonment plus exile to city of Eizeh.