Source: Silva's family at freesilva.org
On June 26, 2008, Silva's world was turned upside down when she was detained and later charged with attempting a "soft revolution" to overthrow the government. On January 19, 2009, after spending Christmas, New Year's Day and her birthday alone in jail, Silva was sentenced to three years in prison.
An appeal is underway. But at the same time, my family is working desperately to tell the world about Silva's story in hopes of adding more voices to our cause. freesilva.org is a compilation of Silva's stories through photos, letters, and other items. Please look through these items so you can get a better understanding of who Silva is and then join us in respectfully requesting that the Iranian government grant her mercy by releasing Silva to come home to her family.
Silva Harotonian is an Iranian citizen of Armenian descent. She attended the University of Azad in Tehran, studying Armenian literature. Since then, she has enjoyed a relatively simple life: she loves to help others, enjoys art and movies, has worked in a variety of administrative jobs and as a teacher at the Armenian School of Literature. As an active member of the communities she lived in, Silva also volunteered on Fridays, her days off, to teach Armenian literature to students who were not enrolled in the school. Silva is patriotic toward her home country of Iran, and was proud to be recognized for assisting in organizing Armenian-Iranian celebrations supporting the establishment of Iran's Islamic government. One of Silva's colleagues fondly remembers that Silva was proud of her Iranian origins and introduced the people she worked with to Iranian food, music and culture.
Silva enjoys a deep connection to our family's Armenian roots. When her father passed away from cancer in 2000, Silva stepped into his shoes and became the breadwinner of the family, supporting and caring for her mother. She recently moved from Iran to Armenia, where her new job with IREX was based. A faithful Christian who worked for the Armenian Prelacy in Tehran, Silva had limited life experience, but appreciated the opportunities presented by her new job. The program she worked on could help make a difference in the lives of mothers and children seeking healthcare in Iran. These goals resonated with the humanitarian in Silva. Her position with IREX provided the unique opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way while improving her homeland Iran. Her job assignments were relatively straightforward and her intentions to do a good job were strong.
Silva is by no means a political activist. Neither Silva, nor her employer IREX, intended to wrong Iran. There was no secret agenda. If you knew Silva-her smile, her gentle soul, her kind ways-you would understand how this situation breaks our hearts.
Silva's mother has been staying in Iran since Silva's arrest so she can visit the prison and see her daughter once a week. Already very ill, the past seven months have taken a significant toll on her health and well being. She continues to hope that our pleas for Silva's release will be granted.
Please help us strengthen our appeal. Please lend your voice, and the voices of your family members and friends, to our cause by clicking here.
"Although Silva made the move to Armenia, she made a point to introduce Iran to everyone around her and ensure she not forget her origins. It seems like it was only yesterday that Silva invited many of her friends and colleagues to her home to celebrate Iranian New Year. She introduced us all to Iranian food, Iranian music, and Iranian culture. We miss her honesty, her smile, and her devotion to her friends and family." - IREX colleague
"Knowing Silva for many years, I can summarize her as a person who is: loving and caring, very enthusiastic about whatever she does at the time, full of love for writing and reading world literature, filled with emotions and understanding, shy to the extent that she seldom reads her writings to even close friends, and hopelessly romantic! She is a friend who shares the good times and helps you out by listening during the bad times. However she is not too good in being on time and when she says she'll be there in half an hour, it may take her an hour!( not always though!):))" - Celine, Silva's childhood friend
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