Isa Saharkhiz Writes Letter from Prison to UN Special Rapporteur
Isa Saharkhiz was violently arrested in July 2009 and consequently suffered broken ribs. He was later tried and, sentenced to three years in prison for “Insulting the Supreme Leader and the regime”, banned from all political and journalistic activities for five years, and prohibited from leaving the country for one year.
Translation of the letter from Isa Saharkhiz to the UN Special Rapporteur
I, Isa Saharkhiz, one of the political prisoners arrested after the 2009 coupe election, have not been allowed to exercise my legals right of prison furlough for needed medical treatment, after having served half of my prison sentence.
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed,
The news of your appointment as the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur to Iran was heartwarming for me and many other political prisoners. We hope that you will be our voice in informing the public of the deplorable conditions of the prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed,
What is happening now in the Islamic Republic prisons is a crime against humanity and not any less than Stalin’s inhumane treatment of prisoners in the forced labor camps of Siberia.
This treatment is not solely limited to the political prisoners, but the situation for the general prisoners is no less disastrous.
You have probably heard of the horrible death of Hoda Saber who died while on hunger strike after being beaten by prison officials. Prior to that, you must have heard of Mohsen Dokmechi’s death.
You probably also are somewhat aware of my medical situation and are aware that they will not even allow me to be hospitalized for my needed medical treatment. I will not go into the details of my medical case.
My purpose for writing this letter is to remind you that such a dire situation exists and that another tragic event may occur at any moment. It is apparent to me and my fellow inmates that the strategy and objective of the authorities is “to kill the protesting prisoners silently and gradually”.
They have made a deliberate decision to destroy us and have planned a silent death for us, because they fear our survival even behind these walls and bars.
You, in the name of humanity and because of the responsibility that has been bestowed upon you, are obligated to use everything in your power and act immediately to inform the public of the heinous [crimes] that occur behind these walls.
I hope you realize the value of time in this matter and know that any delay in taking action will result in the deaths of more political prisoners.
Therefore, I urge you to take action immediately and travel to Iran without any further delay. If the authorities prevent you from visiting with the political prisoners, that will only show another disgraceful act by a regime that is built on the foundation of lies.
Isa SaharkhizJuly 2011Rejai Shahr prison
Report and translation by Persian BanooAdditional editing by Persian2English