Tag Archives: Political Prisoner

Imprisoned activist Bahareh Hedayat From Evin Prison: “This is illegal sir!”

Bahareh Hedayat and her husband Amin

Prominent women’s rights and student activist, Bahareh Hedayat has written a letter from prison to her husband Amin Ahmadian.

Bahareh penned this letter after finding out that despite the fact that under the new Penal Code she had completed her sentence, and a release order had been issued for her by the Court of Appeals, the prosecution illegally had kept her in prison and had illegally enforced a two year suspended sentence which dates back to 2007.

Following is the translation of Bahareh Hedayat’s letter to her husband Amin:

It was in the afternoon, I was sleeping, a sleep as if you put your body in a corner and told it, “Stay right here, I’ll be right back”, and then you yourself went wandering in the alleys of your mind’s imagination; imagining a simple life…

“Get up Bahar, you must go to the sentence enforcement office”.

While my body got dressed and went down the stairs, I myself also reached the bottom of the stairs & said, “We’ll go in together….”

In the sentence enforcement office they showed me a hand written letter that said my release order had been issued four days ago, and just today my two years suspended sentence was enforced….

I am sitting down and looking at the letter but my body is standing up speaking with the man behind the desk: “My release order was sent here on Saturday and you did not implement it?! Then under what sentence have you kept me here in the last 4 days? By a collective magic trick?”

“This is illegal sir!” No not illegal, it’s a fraud affecting our lives….Just as usual.

“See Mrs. Hedayat, even if they had released you, with this same sentence, they would have re-arrested you, so what would have been the point?”

“No they couldn’t have, it had legality issues”…

“How long is two years, Amin? How many missing you? How many wandering around? Anyhow, it’s not mister so and so’s fault either. They have given him instructions, he is just following orders.

I get up and go stand by the window…You are somewhere out there, somewhere close, in one of those streets…

“I will file a complaint about this man”.

“You have the right to file complaint about anyone you wish”…and then he laughs. And I think about our lives.

“See my dear, the prosecution had initiated this case in mid June, and a few days would have not made any difference.”

If our lives had a shape, it would have been a sine curve. A tangent graph with two irrelevant axes. An axis that moves step by step; 4, 5/4, 5, do you see the line? You can see the beginning and the end: 6, 7, 8; Step by step, point by point, year by year.

I put my finger on 6 and draw a line to 8: two numbers, two years: one can read books, can write, can translate, you can even play around the entire time.

Even if you don’t do anything, the time will pass. But that one is a scary axis, a progressive continuity. An endless line with no visible end to it, it seems that it goes to the deepest part of the chambers of the heart, to all the invisible yearnings, home, light, routines, countless small dreams.

The teacher says, “leave it be, there is no end to it, it’s infinite, an endless line has no number”.

I hear the Judge’s voice from afar, clean cut, & prayers performed, “Well this is it, goodbye”.

I think about you, and all the light switches that you will have to turn on by yourself….

The teacher says, “The weight of your change is in this axis…it has no numbers…you can only imagine it”.

The office hour is over, the prison compound is quiet, everybody is on the way back to their homes: “Is there anything you want?” They get some fruit, bread, tomatoes…

“I am here”,
“You are back”…

Weightless words, a simple joy, and a voice that asks, and a voice that answers, in a home with lights turned on…

Where are you now Amin? How have you been enduring this, damn it?…

“Let’s go Mrs. Hedayat”. My body and the guard are going back to the ward…I remain behind right here…by the window…in the alleys of my imagination…

Bahareh Hedayat
Evin prison
August 22, 2015

Source: Keleme

Retired IRGC Commander Hossein Farzin Summoned, Arrested And Moved To Vakil Abad Prison

Hossein Farzin

Political activist, retired IRGC Commander (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), former city of Mashshad deputy mayor and television program director, Hossein Farzin, was summoned by the Revolutionary Court, arrested and then moved to Mashad’s Vakil Abad prison for the implementation of his 15 month imprisonment and the 20 lashes sentence.

Hossein Farzin was arrested by IRGC’s Intelligence Unit, on October 12, 2010 in a raid of his home. He was released after 3 months in detention on 300 Million Tomans bail.

Retired commander Farzin was in charge of advertising during the 8 year Iran-Iraq war at IRGC’s Khatam Alanbia Headquarters. He is also a disabled veteran suffering from respiratory complications resulting from chemical weapons.

Source: HRANA

Human Rights Activist Kouhyar Goudarzi Writes Of His Asylum Status In Turkey And UNHCR Bureaucracy

Kouhyar Goudarzi

Prominent Iranian human rights activist and journalist, Kouhyar goudarzi, now living as a refugee in Turkey, facing a 5 year imprisonment sentence, fled Iran in March of 2013 after he was released on furlough from prison.

Kouhyar Goudarzi was first arrested in March of 2006 during a peaceful rally on International Women’s Day. He was arrested again in May 2006 on International Worker’s Day while attending a meeting at the Tehran Bus Company rally.

Subsequently Goudarzi was arrested twice in 2009 after the disputed presidential election and sentenced to one year imprisonment. He was kept in solitary confinement for 10 months and was later released on December 14, 2010 after completing his one year sentence.

Goudarzi was once again arrested in July 2011 in a raid of his home. For three months the authorities refused to acknowledge the arrest of Kouhyar, and his whereabouts remained unknown.

On April 12, 2012 after nine months imprisonment, 3 months of which his status and whereabouts were unknown, and 2 months of which were in solitary confinement under intense interrogations and torture, Goudarzi was released on bail pending his appeal.

In March of 2012, Kouhyar Goudarzi was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment to be served in the city of Zabol. He was convicted on charges of “Propaganda against the regime” and “Assembly and collusion with intent to act against the national security”.

In 2010, Kouhyar Goudarzi was the recipient of the John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award from the National Press Club.

Goudarzi’s arrest brought about an international outcry from various human rights organization demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

Following is translation of a post on Goudarzi’s Facebook written on January 3, 2014 speaking about his current situation as a refugee in Turkey:

It was last winter that I made my decision, and my reasons convinced me to leave Iran. Since then I have not written anything, nor have I complained about my situation. It’s been some years now that I have learned not to complain and to take the ups and downs of life with a sense of humor. This kind of attitude is what probably helped me the most during my incarceration years.

But sometimes one must speak out and speak of the pains. I made my decision and put my fate in the hands of the human smugglers, and the freezing cold weather and snow of Azarbaijan and crossing of the border.

After eight days of being a hostage in the hands of the human smugglers, in a sheep-pen in a village, walking through ice and snow, my personal effects stolen, and holding forged papers, I finally reached Ankara and the administration office that handles the refugee matters, where I registered and filled out an application. I did not have a passport nor any official identification papers, and this was my biggest problem.

Now almost one year has passed and I am still in Turkey, and not only have I not received acceptance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and a third country, but I have not even been given an interview to start the process of my asylum request.

My current situation is: About 4 months ago I went for an already scheduled appointment to the office of UN High Commissioner in Turkey, an office that’s laden with a thousands bureaucracy & procedural problems.

It took me seven hours to travel to the High commissioner’s office in Ankara. When there, they did not allow me to enter. At the time I assumed that my lack of having legal documentation was the cause my losing my appointment.

However, the problem that caused my interview to be canceled, according to the UNHCR office, was the need to wait until a medical review was completed.

This was something that was recommended by a lawyer (Psychiatric counseling) after hearing a brief account of my arrests and tortures, prior to my registration request for asylum. Obviously at the time I had not expected this to become a problem so I agreed.

The use of psychiatric care once a month, with the cost of back and forth transportation out of pocket would have been very time consuming and could take some years to complete. . The UNHCR office canceled my asylum appointment 4 months ago, using as an excuse my termination of the psychiatric counseling.

This means that the doctor who was supposed to treat and deal with my emotional stress stemming from the events I suffered in prison, became himself the biggest source of stress and problems for me.

The UNHCR office’s bureaucratic management is not unique to my situation but also impacts the situation of thousands of other Iranian refugees in Turkey.

Another problem that exists is the fraudulent claims that are made. As an example, one person who in front of the UNHCR office was claiming to have been imprisoned in solitary confinement, when in fact, he had never even heard of the name Evin prison and had no valid reason for his claimed imprisonment other then being a political activist. With all this vagueness, his case was approved by the UN refugee office in about two months, just that easy, just that painful.

In 2010 and on the anniversary of the 2009 presidential election, the then U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, mentioned in a speech the names of seven human rights activists, including myself, and asked for their release from prison.

However, from these same American officials that even have my records of my high school for the gifted and talented students, no attempt has been made on my behalf in helping with my asylum case .

And my many influential friends who at the time of my imprisonments did not forget to use my pictures and my name, are now so preoccupied with their daily lives that they don’t even have time for a small conversation.

I could have left Iran many years ago. When you are a student at Sharif University, there are easier ways to leave Iran. I also could have left after my previous arrests. But when what happens to you is the result of choices you have made, it makes it easier to accept the situation.

On month six of my fifth arrest, to pass the time in my cell, I calculated that if I live to be 50, I will have spent one percent of my life in prison. This percentage ultimately became four percent with my last arrest.

The hardships during all those months, however difficult they may have been, I have accepted and endured as the results of and the price for the choices I have made. But it is hard, to have left my homeland for the right to continue my education that I was deprived of in my country, and now in a limbo situation, to hear sometimes that all of this was for me just to obtain asylum.

I didn’t write all of this to complain about my situation. Prison and solitary confinement’s biggest benefit is that you come to realize there is nothing more valuable than time, and that even in the worse of situations, one must not let their life become futile.

During my time here, I have completed an accredited online degree, and in a few months will be taking my TOEFL test.

My reason for writing this is because lately some friends in Iran asked me how is life the United States, and in which state do I live. Apparently most thought that I am in the U.S. Also I wanted to give an account of the procedural situation of the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees and it’s bureaucratic system.

Kouhyar Goudarzi
January 3, 2014

Source: Kouhyar Goudarzi Facebook

Judiciary Official to Imprisoned HR Activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki: You Will Eventually Die In Prison

A Judiciary official, answering Hossein Ronaghi Maleki making a complaint about the authorities neglecting his and other political prisoners’ situation, responded: “You will eventually die in prison, and after a few weeks of the media noise, everything will become quite.”

The Kaleme website describes a short meeting that the incarcerated human rights activist, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, had with a Judicial official. They said Maleki received a harsh reaction when he pointed out the problems with poor nutritional quality of food, lack of proper and specialized medical facilities and medication, and the ignoring by authorities of his and other ill prisoners’ situations, being kept in an Improper and unsafe prison environment.

This Judicial authority in response to Hossein Ronaghi’s request for medical furlough said that the Attorney General’s office has not so far received a letter from IRGC Intelligence agreeing with his furlough. This, while many senior Judicial officials have repeatedly spoken of the independence of the Judiciary!

According to medical specialists, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, in addition to suffering from kidney ailment, has also recently encountered prostate disease and bladder inflammation and in order to continue his treatment requires a stress free environment that provides adequate nutrition along with easy access to doctors and specialists, and specialized facilities.

In recent days, due to the lack of specialized facilities, the lack of access to his treating physicians, and lack of proper nutrition, Ronaghi has encountered gastrointestinal bleeding and has not been able to take his needed medication for his prostate and kidney diseases.

According to previously published reports, while Ronaghi was on a medical furlough, prior to the presidential election, despite his suffering from kidney malfunction and prostate and bladder inflammation problems, he was ordered back to prison by the Attorney General’s office.

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was among those arrested after the 2009 disputed presidential election. He was arrested by IRGC Intelligence and tried at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Pirabbasi, and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Last August, while Ronaghi was on his first medical furlough, he, his brother and father, Ahmad and Hassan Ronaghi, along with 33 other earthquake aide workers, were arrested at the Sarand earthquake relief workers’ camp in the earthquake-stricken area of Azarbaijan (here).

In that case, Ronaghi was sentenced to 2 years and six months imprisonment on the charges of “Assembly and collusion with intent to act against the national security in the earthquake-stricken areas”, “Threat to public health through distribution of moldy bread”, and “Disobeying police orders”, thus, making his sentence increase to a total of 17 years and six months imprisonment (here).

Source: Kalemeh