Interview with Mahbubeh Karami’s Mother -
“I only need a sheet of paper and a pen. But they have been denying this to us for days now. We wish to write a letter to the deputy prison director. They do not respond to us. Ten of us are kept in a cell. Our food is very bad. We are not taken outside for fresh air. We are not cared for. They don’t even come to see if we are alive or dead. We have to risk our lives to be heard. There is no other way.”
These are the last words of Mahbubeh Karami, journalist and women’s rights activist during her first and only communication from Iran’s notorious Evin prison. This was a message this political prisoner sent to her mother, Ms Masaedi, just before she began her hunger strike.
Mahbubeh’s mother expresses ignorance about the whereabouts of her daughter and says, “She contacted me on Sunday and spoke with me for a few seconds. She said, ‘Mother, I have no other choice other than to go on a hunger strike so that my voice is heard by prison officials. I have no other means.’ I told her, ‘Mahbubeh, do not do this.’ But she did not reply and the telephone line went dead. That was more than a week ago, and I have not heard since then.”
We at Rooz asked her how Mahbubeh was arrested. “She had a meeting with her brother in prison and had told him, ‘She was in a bus. Plain-clothes men wanted to stop the bus, but the driver did not heed. So they broke open the door of the bus, entered it and began beating a young twenty six year old man. He was going to be murdered. His face and head was blooded in blood. I protested and said, ‘Why are you beating this man? What has he done? Is he not your compatriot?’ This turned their attention to me. They came to me and began beating me and pulled me out of the bus. They even left my shoes on the bus and tore up my clothes. They would not let me get my shoes and took me to the detention center in those conditions.’ She is now in ward 209 of Evin prison and I have not seen her even once since she was taken away from us.”
At the end of our conversation, Mahbubeh’s mother said this to the authorities, “Please pay some attention to her. It is a shame that these kids, these women go to jail. The prison is not the right place for them. We all form the same nation; this way of treatment is not right for an Iranian. It is not right for any human being. I expect that the voices of all people, not just Mahbubeh’s be heard and that their calls are not ignored.”
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