A letter from Mr. Mehdi Alizade Fakhrabaad, Political Prisoner in Iran
Translated by: Shadi Paveh
Dear Mr. Ahmad Shaheed:
I am Mehdi Alizade Fakhrabaad. I am a blogger and a human rights activist and a defender of democracy and freedom in Iran. I am writing this letter as a prisoner of conscience from Vakil Abad prison in the city of Mashad. I wish to voice my objections to you through this letter and those of my fellow prisoners: Mr. Mohammad Mizrai, Mr. Ali Ebadi, Mr. Medhi Jalili, Mr. Jalayer Vahd, Mr. Davar Nabizade, Mr. Mehdi Mosahebi, Mr. Amir Shibanizad, Mr. Sayed Hossein Atashi and Mr. Reza Bagharif Ali-nami. Before I begin to speak of my own troubles I would like to address the situation in Vakil Abad prison and the abysmal state of the political prisoners.
Vakil Abad prison is one of the most dreadful and atrocious prisons in Iran. Political prisoners are kept alongside dangerous criminals. There are 85 prisoners in one 3 X 4 meter room. We have no beds to sleep on and we may get maximum 4 hours sleep a night in sardine formation on the floor in a very crowded and noisy environment. We are threatened, intimidated and harassed nonstop. When we are taken to court our hands and feet are restrained. We are even threatened with rape. Depriving us of basic amenities is a part of our daily physical and psychological torture. We have to shower with cold water and they allot 2 hours per ward for bathing. We are often having showers with dangerous criminals which carries with it possible rape. They deny us medical attention. There is a ward called the “punishment” ward that is even more ghastly. We have no news of those there. We are denied books, newspapers, television and the like. Every Sunday and Wednesday they take prisoners to be executed which creates a morbid atmosphere of despair and sorrow. Our very lives are in danger in this prison and we truly expect more support from the international community.
I am a young blogger myself. I am 30 years old and married. I was born in Mashad. I was arrested in 2008 and spend 121 days in solitary and 18 months in Section 350 of Evin prison in Tehran. I have been in Vakil Abad prison for one year now. My parents are under tremendous strain. My father has been admitted to the hospital 3 times and has lost 70% of his vision. The authorities had arrested my identical twin brother previously instead of me and hurt him. He was released when they realized the mistake. The court has written my wife a letter asking for her to divorce me. My health is in critical condition. I have a disability; I have had 12 seizures and have been in a coma 3 times. I was initially sentenced to die but then the court revoked that sentence. I was tried again in 2013 and was given 11 years in prison and 7 years ban from social media/activities. I got three years for a book I published called “ Red and White”; one year suspended sentence for insulting the regime, 5 years for blasphemy, and 2 years exile to the province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
I am a blogger and a freedom advocate. I have written 19 books and that is my only crime. I ask for support from you and the international community. I ask for your help. I urge the international organizations to investigate this prison and its human rights violations.
I would like an end to all executions. I would like to see an end to the strain put on political prisoners. I would like, at the very least, a basic respect of human rights for political prisoners. I would like to ask for the immediate freedom of all political prisoners. I object to being in prison and want to be freed from the bondage of this prison. Please help me and my fellow prisoners.
Mehdi Alizade Fakhrabaad
Political prisoner in Vakil Abad Prison, Ward 3, city of Mashad, Iran
The letter is translated into English by Shadi Paveh for CFPPI