A Daughter’s Plea: Free My Father from Prison in Iran
My father, an Iranian blogger, is being psychologically tortured and imprisoned—all for blogging about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At this very moment, my father, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, also known as Siamak Meher, is being detained in Karaj Prison in Iran. He was arrested by security forces two months ago in Orumieh and was held in solitary confinement for 14 days by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was subjected to harsh investigation and psychological torture. His interrogators repeatedly threatened him with the death. Once transferred to Karaj Prison, he spent an additional 15 days in solitary confinement.
For a month after his arrest, my family had no idea where my father disappeared to. We were terrified. My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system, attempts to leave the country illegally, contacts with Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Iran, contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.
My father is a blogger—not a criminal. In March, my father, who suffers from cardiac arrest, diabetes and kidney stones, wrote, “When the intelligence agents of the Islamic regime first broke into my apartment they beat me to death and took me for interrogations. I was put in a solitary confinement completely cut off from the outside world without even enjoying basic prisoner rights. I was constantly threatened to death.” He was taken into a room, blindfolded and led to believe he was going to be hanged.
My father continued, “All these sufferings only because I tried to share articles 17 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with my fellow citizens; all these because I tried to make my fellow citizens aware of the rights reserved for them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” He rightly observed that, “My fate as a blogger and a prisoner of conscience is only one example of the thousands of the victims of human rights violations in Iran.”
What makes his current detainment even more heartbreaking this time is that he was recently released after serving four years in prison. He was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced prison for propaganda against the State, insulting the Supreme Leader and defamation of Islam.
During the first days of my father’s interrogation, security officials asked him to convince me to return back to Iran. They assured him that should this happen, many problems would be resolved. The majority of the questions they asked were related to my work and activities.
From prison, my father noted that he was jailed “as a result of voicing my criticism and concerns at the injustice and the violation of human rights and freedom violations in my country.” He rotted in a 21-square-meter cell where he was kept with 40 other inmates “most of whom are murderers, rapists, child molesters, smugglers, robbers and psychotic patients.”
My father’s voice has been silenced by a cruel regime and so I pass on his message to the world: “The people of Iran are now ensnared in the hands of a religious, medieval and extremely backward regime that has no respect for the values the civilized world has been seeking out for the past four centuries,” he wrote. “The totalitarian regime of the Islamic republic harshly represses the public so not even one single individual or the media can freely expresses their opinion on the conditions of the country and its people…”
The Iranian regime has refused to release any updated information about my father despite repeated requests. My father and I always had a very close relationship. He took care of me throughout my life. I dream that one day he will be free. He is always in my thoughts.
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