An open letter from The “Mothers of Laleh Park” (Mourning Mothers of Iran) to the United Nations special Rapporteur regarding the investigation of the human rights in Iran
Dear Mr. Ahmad Shaheed;
We feel the warmth of a new hope in our hearts now and that is because after years of constant demands and trying hard by the victims of The Islamic Republic of Iran and their families, the United Nations, the highest international body, has finally appointed you as the special rapporteur to investigate the widespread and systematic human rights abuse by this regime. We feel fortunate that our cry that human right is an international affair and its investigation needs an international body has been heard.
No doubt that even with a quick glance at the vast record, you will find out about the human rights abuses by the Islamic regime and the goal of this letter is not to provide new evidence. By this, we, as the voice of the oppressed mothers, see it as our duty to point out to you the difficulties of the task ahead and declare our readiness to cooperate in gathering evidence and witnesses to the victims of the regime. Because as Maurice Copithorne, the previous United Nations rapporteur has pointed out, you have a difficult task ahead and it is necessary that you be prepared for all the personal and professional attacks and the excuses and lies by the regime ( in an interview with Free Europe, March 26th 2011).
Although the regime of Iran calls the Security Council’s resolutions worthless, its denial to accept any international envoy, shows the importance of such investigations in destroying its international legitimacy.
Unfortunately, at the moment, the United nations lacks any practical ability to force the governments to accept the findings of its human rights rapporteurs, but it is clear that the isolation of those regimes with a widespread disregard for human rights, can only be achieved by such revelations and we hope to reach this with the help of you and other consciences people of the world.
Obviously, the Islamic Republic would deny the existence of political prisoners, would hide the torture chambers from you and in best scenario, if they allow you to visit the prisoners, they put up a show to gratify themselves, as was the case with Galindo Pohl’s visit. You probably will never see the cells at an abandoned chicken ranch which is currently being used as a women prison and because of the lack of any sanitation facility, the prisoners have to relieve themselves by the side of their beds (2). You will probably not see the moment when the prison’s health workers, instead of caring for, subject an already weak prisoner on hunger strike and with a heart problem, to sever beatings that results in his death (3). You will not witness the selling of the prisoners for sexual abuses and would not be presented with an accurate statistics about the spread of aids and hepatitis as a result of widespread drug addictions and rapes. They will not show you the prisons with populations four times over the capacity and hide the mixing of the physically dangerous prisoners with the political dissidents and even the teenagers.
The rulers will not tell you that even holding the pictures of the killed children by their mothers would result in intimidations, interrogations and imprisonment of their other children. They will hide from you the savage attacks to the peaceful silent marches or funerals and or the arrest of the participants.
They will certainly not allow you inside the Khavaran cemetery (5) and will not invite you to see the empty seats of the college students killed at the university demonstrations.
They will not show you the public stoning, hangings and retributions (punishment according to religious law, Ghesas). You will never see the torture chambers where the political prisoners are forced to make false confessions against themselves. Confessions that they know would result in their execution, but they do them willingly to put an end to the physical and psychological tortures that they are subjected to.
But all this is only a small fraction of the story of the sufferings endured by the victims. It is hard to reach a deep understanding, unless there is a face to face meeting with them or their survivals under a safe condition.
Dear Mr. Ahmad Shaheed;
We don’t intend to repeat the statistics here; the horrible statistics of the executions, tortures, political-consciences prisoners, disappeared, deprived from education, dispelled, the victims of chain assassinations and ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. It is not difficult to find these statistics. What we expect from you as a decent person who is trying to restore human rights, despite the difficulties that would be created by the Islamic Republic, is to use all your powers and meet and speak with the victims of these crimes and their families. Because you don’t find the everlasting pain of the victims of sexual assault like Azar Kanaan (6) in the hands of their torturers and the pain that mothers of those innocents killed, like Sohrab, Neda and Farzad (7) have to live with day and night and the pain of years of wondering of those families kept in the dark, like the mother of Saied Zeynali (8) and what went on with the families of those who were executed in the decade of 1980 like Behkish, in any statistics. These statistics will not inform you that as we are writing to you, there is the news of the arrest of Mansoureh Behkish, one of our companions, who has lost six close relatives to these executions. She is currently in Evin Prison, because she wrote:
“I hate myself when I’m silent and do not fight for my civic rights and let the rulers who abuse human rights, take them away from me. I have a right to live, my child has a right to live. My mother, father, husband, sister, brother, neighbor and friend has the right to a free and just life without discrimination and I have the right to defend the rights of all those whom I love and nobody can take this right away from me.”
Dear Mr. Shaheed;
You certainly are aware of the long effort for the United Nations, this highest international body, to appoint a special human rights rapporteur. The high hopes for this appointment is evident from the letters from the Noble Peace Prize winner and defense lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, organizations such as International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, International Federation of Human Rights Societies, The Society to Defend Human Rights in Iran and The Reporters Without Borders to the letters from the political prisoners leaked outside the walls with unimaginable difficulties and risks. These letters all ask for an immediate investigation of the horrible conditions of the human rights in Iran.
Now, we the suffered but decidedly firm mothers are also demanding from you to echo our cries to the world. By this letter, we express that by your investigations and gathering of the information that you will submit to the United Nations, you create a ground to increase the international pressures on Iran to uphold its legal commitments to the International Human Rights Charter.
The government of Iran as a member of the United Nations and international community, has to have regard for this international treaty or stay in international isolation.
In this order, we ask you to do your best effort to make it possible to observe and investigate the conditions of the prisons in Iran closely and meet and speak to the political prisoners while insuring their security and safety. Meet with the family members of those disappeared or killed by the regime and publish their testimonies. And finally, try to identify those state agents who ordered and carried out the rapes and the executions of the political prisoners and dissidents and the shooting of the protesters. This may prepare the way to bring them to justice in a court of law, in a near or not so near future.
It is our outmost desire that we, the suffering mothers, help you in this grave task.
We hope to see a day that all mothers witness their children grow up and live in a peaceful, just and equal society.
Mothers of Laleh Park and supporters abroad
June 21, 2011
1 - The Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers) which was born out of the gatherings of the mothers of those killed during the May of 2009 protests against the results of the presidential election in various parks, hand in hand with all the mothers of the victims of dictatorial regimes, will never forgo the blood of their children and demand trial and punishment of those who ordered and carried out the street shootings, individual and mass execution of the political prisoners, ethnic and religious killings, illegal arrests, tortures, rapes and terrors and the nightly raids and creating mayhem at the student’s dormitories, especially after the 1980’s. The mothers of Laleh Park demand the unconditional release of all the political and consciences prisoners and abolishment of capital punishment. They believe capital punishment is a form of organized assassination and are against any assassination including stoning and the law of retribution. As past and present victims of violence and discrimination against women, they support any non-violent and justice seeking effort. Considering the suppressions inside the country, supporters of The Mothers of Laleh Park in other parts of the world, consider this their duty to bring their voice to the rest of the world.
2 - Pointing to Gharachak Prison in Varamin.
3 - Pointing to the killing of Hoda Saber, a journalist and political prisoner, who was on hunger strike as a protest to the killing of Haleh Sahabi. Haleh Sahabi was one of the “Peace Mothers”, who was on leave from the prison and was killed by the regimes agents at her father’s funeral.
4 - According to a letter from Mehdi Mahmoudian, an imprisoned reporter , and other political prisoners about the conditions inside prisons.
5 - The location of the mass graves of those executed in the 1980’s.
6 - One of the victims of sexual rapes by the interrogators at the Sepah Pasdaran prison in Sanandaj.
7 - Sohrab Arabi and Neda Agha Soltan were killed during the street protests of May 2009. Farzad Kamangar, a teacher executed in May 2010, is amongst the numerous executed political prisoners in Iran.
8 - Saied Zeynali was a student who went missing after getting arrested by the regime’s agents 12 years ago. After years of searching for him, his family not only did not get any answers, but the search resulted in the imprisonment of his mother, Akram Zeynali (Neghabi) as well.
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