Imprisoned activist lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and her son Nima
Activists are worried about the negative psychological impact that the incarceration of political prisoners is having on their children
Some 350 Iranian civil activists have written an open letter expressing concern about the plight of the children of political prisoners, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
The letter -- addressed this week to Iran's Judiciary Chief, the offices of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Tehran and Jordan, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch -- describes prisoners' children as "forgotten victims" and says jailing a parent does not justify punishing his/her child as well.
One of the signatories to the letter, journalist and civil activist Fereshteh Ghazi, told Radio Farda June 8 that the Iranian authorities violate the rights of children whose parents are in prison.
Ghazi added that she has been in contact with a number of political prisoners' families in the past two years.
She said Parsa Zeidabadi, whose father, prominent journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi, was arrested in front of his eyes and is now in jail, cannot sleep at night because of anxiety and has developed a stutter.
Ahmad Zeidabadi was arrested during the unrest in the wake of the June 2009 presidential election. He is currently serving a six-year prison sentence and has not been granted furlough since his arrest.
These children are deprived of regular visits with their jailed parents, and even when they visit them, it is not in proper conditions, Ghazi said.
She noted the negative psychological impact on children of so-called "cabin visits" in which the two parties are separated by a glass partition. "They pound on the glass, trying to get to the other side to hug their parents," Ghazi said.
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