No Furlough, Phone Calls, or Visitations for Imprisoned Journalist
Three years into his detention, imprisoned journalist Siamak Ghaderi has not been granted a single day of furlough, and he does not have permission to visit with his family, his wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. As a prisoner of conscience, he is also denied access to a telephone, she added.
“Since his arrest, he has not had even one day off. The last time I followed up on his furlough was for the [Iranian] New Year [March 21, 2013], which was fruitless. Our last in-person visitation was in 2011. During these entire three years, we were perhaps able to see him in person two or three times. Anyhow, I don’t wish to pursue this anymore, because it basically appears as though the follow-ups don’t have any impact. They made the decisions themselves and they carry them out themselves. Simak insists that I no longer get myself tied up in trips to the Prosecutor’s Office. Siamak tells me, ‘Live your life; most of [my sentence] has passed and only some of it is left, which I will endure,’” said Farzaneh Mirzavand, Ghaderi’s wife.
Siamak Ghaderi was a reporter for the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and a blogger. After the 2009 presidential election events, he began criticizing the conditions and the policies of the IRNA officials at that time in his blogs, “IRNA-ye Maa.” After his blogs were blocked several times, he was expelled from his job at IRNA, after 18 years of service. Security forces arrested him at his home in July 2010. He was later sentenced to four years in prison and 60 lashes on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” “creating public anxiety,” and “publishing falsehoods.”
“Siamak’s parents live in another town. His mother had knee surgery and she is not able to climb steps. She has only been able to visit with her son two or three times during these past three years, and this is so damaging. Some prisoners have their entire families in other towns and so are not able to visit them weekly. If prisoners of conscience were allowed to use a telephone, at least there would not be such an information void and families would not be harmed so,” said the imprisoned blogger and journalist’s wife.
“I won’t go back to demanding to know why my husband was illegally arrested, why his human rights were violated at the time of his interrogations, and why he had to endure such a long solitary confinement. I won’t go back to the past, but these days my question is, why don’t prisoners of conscience have access to telephone calls? Why are they arbitrarily granted in-person visitation and furlough? And why isn’t the law carried out equally and fully for all prisoners? My question is, considering Siamak has endured more than half of his sentence, and that he did not have a prior criminal record, why isn’t he released based on the current laws?” Mirzavand told the Campaign.
“The families always come to the Monday visitation days with a lot of hope to have a peaceful visit for a half an hour. But each time we are faced with new rules and new abuse by prison forces. This process has been going on for three years every Monday, wearing us out. Now I know of families who have decided to come to visitation once every few weeks because they were really frustrated. The abuse takes different shapes. Many of the prison forces don’t have a good attitude. For example, during the New Year visitation, I went with my 15-year-old son, but the officers would not allow my son to visit with his father, because he did not have a photograph in his birth certificate. I was begging them, saying, ‘This kid wants to visit with his father for 30 minutes; do you really think that I would bring the neighbor’s son to prison?!’ My son’s birth certificate does not have a photograph because he is not 16 yet [when by law he can add a photograph to his birth certificate],” Siamak Ghaderi’s wife told the Campaign, describing the problems prisoners’ families face during visitation days.