Mohammad Davari, journalist and editor-in-chief of Saham News’ website, has been sentenced to an additional year in prison all while suffering for months with severe depression in Evin Prison. The journalist’s nephew, Hossein Davari, spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about Davari’s dire psychological state. “The last time his mother was able to see him she said that he wasn’t in good psychological or physical shape. When relatives went to prison to see him several times, prison officials told them that he is not able to take visitors. His lawyer also told us that he doesn’t have a good psychological and mental state. He said that we should make an appointment with a doctor of our choice so that they can take him for treatment from prison. He said that we should do something for him ourselves. In addition to his psychological state, he has had problems with his teeth for a long time,” said Hossein Davari.
Mohammad Davari was arrested in 2009 after Mehdi Karroubi wrote a letter to Head of the Council of Experts, reporting the torture of political prisoners inside Kahrizak Detention Center. Davari was tortured inside prison to make television confessions against Karroubi. He was sentenced to five years in prison, which was recently increased to six years. The additional year of imprisonment is because of Davari’s inability to pay a $5,000 cash fine for a teachers protest he attended in February and March 2006. Davari is a union activist and member of the Central Council of the Iranian Teachers Association.
“Mohammad’s mother’s financial situation is not good at all. His brother is a school teacher in Mashad and his financial condition is not good, either. He consulted with other family members to collect some money so that we can pay his treatment costs outside the prison. But as we are all farmers, we are waiting for harvest time to make a doctor’s appointment and go to Tehran. We have not seen him in a long time. Last time we went to prison was during [Iranian] New Year’s holidays [March 21st-April 2], but only his mother was allowed to visit him and they didn’t let the rest of us see him,” said Hossein Davari.
Hossein Davari told the Campaign that his family was unaware of his increased prison term. “Nobody told us. If his mother finds out she will have a heart attack. His mother [is sick and] commutes between the doctor’s office and home. Her husband died recently, too. If only you had seen her two years ago and could compare her with her state now. Her financial situation is below zero. She spends all her money on commuting to Tehran to visit my uncle. She always goes to Tehran, but they do not let her visit him. She screams and objects, hears a bunch of nonsense, everybody tells her something, she can’t see her son, and she returns to Mashad. But she can’t stand it, so she returns to Tehran again,” he told the Campaign.
“I don’t just take sides with my uncle, but he hasn’t done anything wrong. The only thing that is not clear to me is that after he was arrested, Mr. Karroubi stated in a letter that Mohammad Davari is innocent and what he has done was in accordance with his orders. But, unfortunately, Karroubi was never questioned about this and there was no attention to this letter. I don’t know why,” he added.
“When he was first arrested, Mr. Karroubi’s son told us not to worry, that they would present a deed as collateral for his release, but he was never released. Now our relatives have offered a deed, hoping that we could save his life by getting him medical furlough,” concluded Davari.