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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Interview with the son of political prisoner sentenced to death

Interview with the son of political prisoner sentenced to death

Translation of video interview:

Akbar Saremi, a resident of Camp Ashraf in Iraq and the son of Ali Saremi, a political prisoner sentenced to death by the Iranian regime, gave an account of his father’s situation in an interview with Voice of America TV on January 4. Ali Saremi was arrested for attending a ceremony honoring the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 in Iran. He has been sentenced to death by the regime.

Below is an excerpt of Mr. Akbar Saremi’s interview with Voice of America in Farsi.

Host: We now go to Camp Ashraf in Iraq. There is a well-known prisoner in Iran, Mr. Ali Saremi, who was arrested after he protested the 1988 massacre. In 1988, many prisoners who were still spending their prison terms were executed. The number of victims in prisons have been reported to have been anywhere between three to even twenty thousand. It was in protest to this measure that Ayatollah Montazeri was dismissed after writing a letter to Ayatollah Khomeini. Mr. Ali Saremi was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and was in prison at the time. He has recently been put on trial again and sentenced to death. His son is in Camp Ashraf. This camp belongs to the members and supporters of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Iraq. Weve had reports about the events in this camp before. Now we interview with Mr. Saremi’s son.

Mr. Saremi, there are some reports that your father intended to visit you or it was after visiting you that he was arrested. Do you confirm these reports? What happened exactly? Why was there a retrial? If you have any information about it, well hear from you briefly why such a sentence was issued.

Akbar Saremi: Yes, three years ago after my father came to visit me in Camp Ashraf, he was placed under investigation in Iran. In September 2007, after speaking at a ceremony in the honor of massacred political prisoners, he was arrested and transferred to Ward 209 of Evin prison. This was the third time they arrested my father. He has spent more than 20 years of his life in prison and placed under the most brutal forms of torture. Due to these tortures, he suffered from lower back pain which rendered him unable to even walk properly. He also had a stroke that left half his body crippled. The Iranian regime refused to review my fathers case after two and a half years in prison. But, last Tuesday, he was suddenly sentenced to death without due legal process. Of course, simultaneous with my fathers arrest, they also arrested my mother. She was arrested for protesting the detention of my father. Please allow me to also mention that the Iranian regime, as many analysts have noted, is nearing its end and the countdown has begun. That is why in order to continue its survival, it has decided to suppress people and massacre political prisoners, including my father.

They plan to repeat the same crimes that Khomeini committed during the massacre of 1988, as you mentioned, against the PMOI and political prisoners. They repeatedly say that the recent uprisings were planned by the PMOI and the PMOIs slogans were chanted in the streets by the people of Iran. They use the pretext of Moharebeh [waging war against God] to hang and execute freedom-loving people like my father.

You probably have heard that despite the current circumstances, my father sent out a letter from prison that is of course more detailed, but I will, if you allow me, read out a sentence of it. In the letter, he said, in these days that commemorate Imam Hussein, I will once more chant a slogan inspired by the leader of freedom-loving people everywhere [Imam Hussein], and that is, if the path of Muhammad and now our country will not see peace except with the shedding of my blood and the blood of people like me, then nooses of the gallows, take me now!

As you can see, this is an indication of the courage and fearlessness of the Iranian people. Suppression and hangings have never been able to prevent the Iranian peoples uprising, and never will.

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