Death row political prisoner’s son unveils mullahs’ deception

May 24, 2010

May 19 – Voice of America interviews son of Jafar Kazemi, a political prisoner on death row.

VOA– One of the people on death row is Jafar Kazemi whose son resides in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. Camp Ashraf residents face many problems and we have reported on this in the past. But today, this is not our discussion.  We will now go to Mr. Behrouz Kazemi (Jafar Kazemi’s son).

Behrouz Kazemi: Hello to you and your dear viewers.

VOA: Mr. Kazemi, as an Iranian who lives outside Iran and who lives in a place like Camp Ashraf, with whatever beliefs and opinions you have, which is not what our discussion is about, as a human being who has heard the news of your father’s sentence, what are your feelings?

BK: When I heard of my father’s death sentence, for me as his son, it was extremely difficult to hear that he was arrested and sentenced to death after visiting me in Camp Ashraf. The news was very difficult for me to hear.

VOA: What is he being accused of? We hear that one of his ‘crimes’ is that he visited you.

BK: Yes. As you know, the regime has sentenced six people to death and one of them is Jafar Kazemi.

My father was arrested on Qods Day demonstrations. For two weeks, we did not have any news of his situation. Eventually we found out that my father was held in Evin prison. Approximately four months after that, in a show trial, my father was sentenced to death. We learnt about it through his lawyer, but the sentence was confirmed without the knowledge of his lawyer. During this time, the regime made every effort to sentence my father to death by referring to a false case. The only reason for my father’s death sentence is because he visited me in Camp Ashraf two years ago. This means that the regime cannot tolerate the basic rights of a person to visit family. For this reason, he was arrested, accused of being Mohareb, and they issued him a death sentence. It is ridiculous that the regime doesn’t tolerate family members visiting us in Camp Ashraf. Additionally, it has been for more than 100 days that with the help of the Iraqi government, the regime has brought family members of Ashraf residents [from Iran] to the camp to psychologically torture them.

VOA: That’s a different topic. What is your wish from the world in relation to your father’s sentencing? Meaning, what is it you would like from the United Nations? Do you think the world is paying attention to this and it is just the regime that doesn’t care?

BK: In an attempt to save my father’s life, I have written letters to the UN and other organizations. Maybe the world will become aware and open up their eyes to the crimes that are taking place in Iran against innocent people, one of them being my father. Maybe the world will open their eyes and see that there are so many people that receive death sentences. As you know, five other people, who were so dear to all of us, were recently executed.

The main reason for these crimes [of imprisonment and execution] is to instill fear and intimidate the population leading up to the anniversary of the people’s uprising, which is coming up at the end of Khordad (June 12, 2010). The regime is extremely afraid of these demonstrations, so they commit crimes against political prisoners.

VOA: So your father has been accused of acting against the security of the nation? This is what the government of Islamic Republic of Iran is saying. Isn’t this charge, without a doubt, unfair? So, they see your father visiting you as a threat to national security?

BK: Exactly. As I mentioned before, by issuing an execution sentence, the regime is proving that a basic human right of visiting family is considered an action against national security. How can a family visit be considered as a threat to the national security, but at the same time, the regime brings family members to Camp Ashraf and tries to get them to speak against us. This is the contradiction of the regime.

VOA: Thank you Mr. Behrouz Kazemi – a resident of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, which is residence of the followers of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. With many thanks to you.

BK: Thank you for giving me this time. Much gratitude and with thanks to you.

VOA: You are welcome.

BK: God bless.

VOA: God bless.


UN Secretary General’s quarterly report to Security Council stresses on Ashraf residents rights

May 24, 2010

UN Secretary General in his quarterly report to the Security Council pursuant to Resolution 1883, Ban Ki-moon, stressed the rights of residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, for protection against arbitrary displacement in Iraq or forced extradition to Iran.

Pressures on incarcerated PMOI supporters and families of Ashraf residents continue to mount

May 24, 2010

On Wednesday, May 19, the clerical regime, during a kangaroo court, tried Mr. Hamid Haeri, a 60-year-old political prisoner, on charges of “moharebeh” (waging war against God), supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), persistent political activity and propaganda against the regime. He was arrested in a raid on his house by the regime’s intelligence agents on December 6, 2009 on charges of visiting his child and brother in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The raid took place while he was in bed recovering from a serious car accident.

He was then transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison.

The regime’s interrogators and torturers have placed Mr. Haeri under continual physical and psychological torture, threatening him that if he refuses to comply with their demands, they will also arrest his wife and daughter and place them under torture.

The regime’s show trial took place even as Mr. Haeri was in critical condition and could hardly walk. There were signs of torture evident on his face, and he looked to be suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Having been a prisoner in the 1980s, he is also suffering from the remaining effects of tortures from that period as well as heart problems. He has had two heart attacks so far.

Despite intolerable physical complications, his firm stance, resistance, and high morale drew the ire of the henchmen present in court.

Separately, the clerical regime has once again arrested political prisoner Hadi (Homayoun) Abed Bakhoda, who is 50 years old. Mr. Bakhoda, who suffers from a fractured spine, was returned to Rasht prison.

He was previously arrested on November 8, 2009, but the henchmen were forced to release him after five months as he was suffering from a variety of illnesses, which seriously deteriorated due to intolerable pressures and prison conditions and could not be treated in the absence of the minimum required medical resources in prison.

Mr. Bakhoda has been a PMOI supporter since the 1980s, and was crippled after being shot by an agent of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Even while he was recovering from his wounds, the regime kept him in the prisons of Evin and Qezel Hesar under the most cruel forms of torture and pressures. His brother, Hormoz Abed Bakhoda, was also arrested for supporting the PMOI and executed by a firing squad in 1982 when he was just 20 years old.

Iran attempts to arrest Kamangar family

May 14, 2010

According to reports, three days after the execution of Farzad Kamangar (political prisoner), judicial officials still refuse to hand over the body of this teacher and other executed political prisoners to their families. On the third day that the Kamangar family gathered outside Evin Prison, security forces attempted to arrest Saltaneh Rezayi (mother), Mehrdad Kamangar (brother), Suror (sister in law), Shirin Kamangar (sister) and Javid Kamangar (15 year old nephew). But attempts for their arrest were met with resistance from the people on the scene and the members of the Kamangar family were removed from the scene by these people.

Prison guards torture prisoner to death in Sari Prison

May 14, 2010

Hadi Aravand, a death row prisoner in Sari Prison was killed under torture.

The head of this prison has claimed that he committed suicide with a sheet but the forensics doctor said he died after being choked.

The signs and bruises from torture were clearly evident all over his body to the extent that one of his hands was broken and his back was injured. There was also a 1 cm cut around his neck which cancels the probability of suicide. A person close to him has announced that the cuts around his wrists show how much pressure he was under while dying.

 “Hadi was transferred from his cell on April 30 at about 5 pm and a few hours later, his injured and wounded body was at the Sari Hospital”, this person added.

According to the forensics doctor, his feet were crossed and shackled while his hands were tied from behind while he was killed and he did not have any opportunity to commit suicide. In this position, he was choked with a plastic strap which was placed around his neck.

According to other prisoners, since the arrival of a new warden named Abedi, there were four instances of suspicious deaths in this prison in the past 7 months which shows the bad conditions under which prisoners are kept in Sari Prison.

Hadi Aravandi, 23, was sentenced to death and would have been executed three months from now. He committed murder in a street fight on March 19, 2008 and was buried last Sunday in the cemetery in Surak which is a few kilometers from Sari.

Mahdieh Golroo Writes Letter in memory of executed prisoner Shirin Alam Hooli May

May 13, 2010

Mahdieh Golroo, an imprisoned member of the Right to Education Council, has written a letter in memory of her cellmate executed political prisoner Shirin Alam Hooli.

You were with us and now you are gone without us; like the scent of a flower. Where did you go? We spent Saturday night without Shirin. It was the most bitter moment of our imprisonment. It was a dark and dreadful night. Every second seemed to last forever for us who longed to see Shirin again. The telephone line in the women’s ward was disconnected from Saturday afternoon, which only added to the distress. We were all together in a room that belonged only to us.

Shirin liked it like that. She had suffered more than us and liked the seclusion, but she was the first to leave this room. That night, even those who had been detained in Evin prison for a long period of time, recalled their memories of the people who suddenly vanished in the dark of night to reach the eternal light of freedom. We spent our time talking about the bitter memories of those whose comrades were sent to the gallows. We admired the resistance of these women who tolerated the pressures of their friends’ deaths to bring about better days for the next generations.

Alas, the circle of injustice continues, and it was not long before our patience was called to task when Shirin was abruptly separated from us without having time to say goodbye; as if the noose was calling her name, hoping to see a glimmer of fear in her eagle eyes. But I know well that Shirin’s courage was ridiculing that stark Evin night and the harshness of the noose. What a futile dream. The circle of injustice continues to test our level of patience with the abrupt separation of Shirin from us. It was as if the gallow’s rope was calling her name and hoped to see a glimpse of fear in her eagle eyes. But we know well that her bravery had made a mockery of that night in Evin and the noose. Every second that passed was hard.

We were waiting to hear about Shirin. When they took her away, they used the excuse that her father’s name was written incorrectly in their records. It did not cross our minds that that moment would be the last we would see her. Shirin’s enthusiasm for life and progress and the effort she put into her studies resembled someone who had just entered prison and was about to be released soon.

Oh, what a night it was. The prisoner count on Sunday morning felt like a heavy burden on our shoulders. By then, we were sure that, once again, the life of a fighter and a lioness from the land of Kurdistan, whose resistance defied the mountains, was lost to the noose. It was hard to believe. We heard on the two o’clock news that Shirin had been executed and thus will never return. Even though we had heard the news of execution before in memoirs and in the writings of history, we felt the bitterness of Shirin’s loss in every cell of our body.

That night was the culmination of all the nights in our lives. We hoped for something that prisoners of twenty years ago yearned for: an end to injustice so that the future generation will not have to go through this. Four days have passed since the tragedy. A black scarf that signifies the colour of our mourning lies on her bed. I sleep on the prison cell’s floor. My cell-mates insist that I sleep on Shirin’s bed. But I cannot take the place of pottery teacher; she is irreplaceable.

Mahdieh Golroo, Evin Prison

A Letter from Death Row: Shirin Alamhoei

May 13, 2010

Recently, female political prisoner Shirin Alamhoei was executed in Iran for allegedly being a member of the Kurdish opposition organization PJAK.  Below is the translation of her letter from prison which was written on January 18, 2010. The letter describes the torture and interrogations she endured before her death sentence was issued.

Shirin Alamhoei’s Letter:

I was arrested in April 2008 in Tehran by a number of uniformed and non-uniformed security forces. I was transferred directly to the Sepah Detention Centre and held there for 25 days. The minute I entered the detention centre they began beating me without asking me any questions or waiting for any answers.

I spent 22 days on a hunger strike. During that time, I endured both physical and psychological torture.

My interrogators were all men and I was tied to a bed. They would beat me with electrical batons, cables, and would punch and kick me until I was unconscious. At that time I still had difficulty speaking and understanding Farsi. When I was not able to answer their questions they continued to beat me until I lost consciousness.

When it was prayer time they would go pray. During that time, I was supposed to think so I can answer questions. Once they returned, they continued with their beatings until I lost consciousness. Then they would drench me with cold water.

When they saw that I would not break my hunger strike, they tried to force feed me with tubes. I resisted them by ripping the tubes out of my nose. This led to great pain and bleeding. Now, two years later, I still suffer from that pain.

One day during interrogations they kicked my stomach so hard that I had severe internal bleeding. Another time an interrogator (the only one I actually saw. I was always blindfolded in the presence of the other interrogators) began to ask me irrelevant questions. When I refused to answer him, he slapped me and pulled out a gun and put it to my head. He said, “Answer the questions. I know that you are a member of PJAK, you’re a terrorist. Listen to me girl, it doesn’t matter if you talk or not. Either way we are happy that we’ve captured a PJAK member.”

Once when a doctor had come to look at my wounds I was in a mixed state of sleep and consciousness. The doctor requested that I be transferred to the hospital. The interrogator asked, “Why does she have to go to the hospital? Can’t she be treated here?” The doctor replied, “It’s not for treatment. In the hospital, I can do something to her that she will start talking.”

The next day I was taken to the hospital with blind folds and handcuffs. The doctor gave me a needle. I lost complete control and apparently started talking and answering all of their questions exactly the way they wanted. They videotaped the scenario. Once I regained control of my mind, I asked them where I was and realized that I was still lying in the hospital bed. I was then transferred back to my cell.

Apparently even that wasn’t enough for the interrogators; they wanted me to suffer more. They would force me to stand up on my feet after they had beaten my feet so bad that they were completely swollen. Then they would give me ice. I could hear screams of other prisoners day and night, and that really bothered me and upset me. Later I learned that the screams had been taped in order to psychologically torture me. Sometimes I would sit in the interrogation room for hours while drops of cold water would fall on my head for hours.

On another occasion I was blindfolded and interrogated. The interrogator burned my hand with his cigarette. On another occasion the interrogator stood on my feet with his shoes for so long that my nails turned black and eventually fell off. Sometimes they would just force me to stand up the entire day in the interrogation room without asking me any questions while the interrogators solved crossword puzzles. They did everything they could to make sure I suffered.

After I was released from the hospital they decided to transfer me to Section 209 of Evin Prison, however due to my injuries, I was unable to walk to Section 209, so they refused to accept me. They held me in front of Section 209 for an entire day and then they were finally forced to take me to the prison clinic.

I had lost all sense of time and did not know whether it was day or night. I do not know how long I stayed in the prison’s clinic. Once I was feeling a little better, I was transferred to Section 209 and the interrogations began once again.

In Section 209 they had their own special interrogation techniques, and they always played “good cop/bad cop.”

First a “bad” interrogator would come and subject me to torture and tell me that he was not bound to any law, therefore he could do whatever he wanted with me. Then a “good” interrogator would come and ask the “bad” interrogator to stop torturing me and would offer me a cigarette. Then the entire cycle would repeat itself.

In Section 209, when I was not feeling well because of the torture or internal bleeding, they would just inject me with pain killers and I would spend entire days sleeping. They would not take me to the prison clinic for treatment.

Shirin Alamhoei, Evin Prison, January 18, 2010