Saturday, March 03, 2018

Victims’ Families[1]: Searching for Truth & Justice[2]


Victims’ Families[1]: Searching for Truth & Justice[2]

Following several peaceful demonstrations between June 15 to June 21 in 1981, led by some opposition organizations and supporters of Aboul-Hassan Banisadr (Iran’s first elected president, who was dismissed from his position on June 21, 1981 by the hardliners), the IRI started massive organized attacks against opposition parties, trade unions, women’s’ and students’ groups, and even professional associations (Bar Association, Writers Association, etc.). Tens of thousands of political and social activists were arbitrarily arrested. They disappeared for months and, in many cases, for years[3]
Soon after the all-out repression and the reign of terror, the families of political prisoners and the disappeared gathered in front of the detention centers, prisons, and judiciary buildings to obtain information about their loved ones. They learned through hard experience that if and when the authorities admitted the arrests and revealed the location of prisoners, it would become more difficult for them to kill the detainees. Thus, despite all the threats and assaults by the prison authorities, they continued to show up in front of the detention centers demanding answers to their questions and whereabouts of the prisoners. 
The gatherings of the victims’ families became a venue to exchange information they acquired at their visitations with their loved ones and/or from other sources. It also became a place for them to pour out worries about the fate of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, espouses.[4] common pains and concerns drew the families closer together. 
In the beginning of the 80s, families’ efforts were mostly limited to personal initiatives, as any collective actions or initiatives were severely punished.[5]

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