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The Iranian Year 1389 Ends: Marked with Executions and Prison Terms

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

365 Days of Suppression and Resistance

Iran's former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi called the Iranian year 1389 (which ended on March 20, 2011) the year of "Resistance and Perseverance for the Rightful and Legal Demands of the Iranian Nation," which in fact turned into the year of violent crackdown and resistance by the people. Leaders of the Green Movement who began the year by stressing the demands of the people ended up in jail by the end of the year.

The year began with messages by these leaders but ended with those of their children.

Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard predicted that 1389 would be a year of problems and embraced the year while Mehdi Karoubi, another green movement leader did not view 1389 as a good year and announced, "We oppose a regime which is as small as a boat."

About 365 days ago, these leaders proclaimed that retreating from the demands of the people would be a betrayal to their cause, Islam and the blood of martyrs and warned, "We must fear turning back on people's demands."

They stood firm and 1389 turned out to be the year in which they stood firm with the protesting people who initially protested the void June 2009 presidential election but as the regime crackdown, they targeted the leader of the Islamic republic and demanded the "departure of the dictator." So 1389 ended with the children of Mousavi and Karoubi sending messages to people and their supporters, reminding them that their parents stood by the people during the year and even after their arrest.

Even though this year began with the en-mass arrest of political, media, civil and public activists, the year is highlighted with executions and horrendous interrogations in which interrogators issued prison sentences on behalf of judges.

The year began with execution sentences for five members of a family. The death penalty of Motahere Bahrami, Reyhane Haj Ibrahimi and Hadi Gaemi were reduced to 19 years of exiled prison who were sent to Rajaishahr prison in Karaj, but the death sentence of two other members Ahmad and Mohsen Daneshpour Moghadam were upheld. This father and son, along with Abdol-Reza Ghanbari - an arrested teacher - remain in danger of being executed.

In Ordibehesht, the second month of 1389, 5 political prisoners were secretly executed, something that shocked Iran and the world as Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher, Shirin Elm Hooi, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili and Mehdi Eslamian left us. This marked the beginning of other secret executions that followed. The family members and parents of these prisoners were banned from holding any mourning or memorial services for them and even their bodies were not delivered to them. Some of the family members were arrested as well.

Soon, Jaafar Kazemi and Mohammad Haj Aghayari, Hossein Khazri and Zahra Bahrami were also secretly executed and buried, their families never seeing them or even their bodies after their disappearance and execution. Saeed Malekpour, according to his wife, and Hamid Ghasemishal face the possibility of execution. Their death sentences were suspended once.

Zeinab Jalalian, Habibollah Gholbarioour, Zonyar and Loghman Moradi, Habibollah Latifi, Shirkoo Moarefi and other political prisoners have been sentenced to death and await their fate. The death sentences of Habibollah Latifi and Shirkoo Moarefi had once earlier been suspended, but there is no certainty this would happen again.

But it was not just political prisoners who were secretly executed last year. Many non-political prisoners, particularly in the city of Mashhad, too were executed in secret.

Like previous years, 1389 was the year when "steps against national security, espionage, fighting God, propaganda against the regime, inciting public opinion, publishing lies, creating suspicion, election rigging, disrupting public order through creating chaos, etc were the charges that were made against most of the prisoners who were given heavy sentences.

In 1389, the staff of foreign embassies, journalists, civil activists, judges, political, media and civil activists, including many prominent personalities inside the regime and some even founders of the Islamic republic were arrested and some such as Mostafa Tajzadeh and his wife Fakhrolsadat Mohtashemipour continue to remain in detention.

Most of these prisoners remained deprived of even their prison rights and had no visitation rights, telephone calls, etc. But the letters and messages of these prisoners that made it out of prison confirmed their perseverance and resistance against the cruelty inside the prison.

Some, such as Tajzadeh, Mohammad Nourizadeh, Majid Tavakoli, Bahare Hedayat, Issa Saharkhiz, also wrote public letters that exposed what went on behind bars.

Perhaps the cruelest sentence went to Jaafar Panahi, Nasrin Sotudeh, Jila Bani Yaghoob, Ahmadi Zeidabadi, Emad Bahavar, Hossei Ronaghi Maleki, and Hossein Derakhshan, the two latter ones receiving 15 and 19 year prison sentences.

During the year, "safe houses", which are secret detention centers, once again were used against political activists.

In 1389, regime officials even feared tomb stones of those it executed and so refrained from declaring the site of burial of many of those it murdered to their family members.

These atrocities were so gross that the Kahrizak prison had to be shut. This was the site of brutal murders, rape and torture of prisoners.

Even mothers of prisoners were not immune from arrest and detention. Mothers of Saeed Zeynali and Hesam Tarmesi were arrested as they were pursing to find out the condition of their imprisoned children. These two mothers were eventually released on bail, but Hakimeh Shokri and Neda Mostaghimi, two other mothers were arrested and charged with espionage and acting against national security.

This was the year the people of Iran came to the streets and called the leader of the Islamic republic the dictator and announced that he too would face what Mubarak of Egypt and Bin Ali of Tunisia faced.

... Payvand News - 03/26/11 ... --

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