Parvaneh Osanloo: “We are innocent. We ask anyone who can to help us.”
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, wife of imprisoned Iranian labor activist Mansour Osanloo, Parvaneh Osanloo, shared details of a harrowing 23 June 2010 incident involving her daughter-in-law, Zoya Samadi. Samadi was abducted and detained by security forces and beaten and abused during interrogations. She was threatened before being released under a bridge at 10:00 p.m. at night.
According to Ms. Osanloo, Samadi is in a state of shock after being beaten and pulled by her hair, and continues to suffer from oral bleeding after her orthodontic braces were torn.
The Campaign is concerned about the attack by seemingly anonymous forces on an innocent citizen, and expresses outrage over the perpetrators’ demands on behalf of security forces. The abduction of Samadi, the lack of followup by relevant authorities, as well the continuation of arbitrary violence is indicative of the ongoing deterioration of the Iranian judicial system. The Campaign demands that judicial authorities put an end to the abuse and mistreatment of all individuals, including those who are not engaged in any political activity and do not have prior records.
The execution of Farzad Kamangar and the continued mistreatment of labor activists including Mansour Osanloo, recently compelled the International Labor Organization (ILO) to add a special paragraph in its Iran report highlighting the critical situation of the government’s attitude towards labor and the need for a special review. If a country remains in this stage, the ILO is authorized to forward Iran’s case to the UN General Assembly in order for resolutions to be passed. Responding to the overwhelming objections of participants during the June ILO session, Iran’s representative reported that Iran’s Labor Minister asked the Head of the Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, for clemency for Mr. Osanloo. However, not only was Osanloo not released, but increased pressure was placed on his family.
Expressing concern about the unprecedented pressure on her family, Parvaneh Osanloo said, “We request help. We ask anyone who can to help us. We are innocent. Mr. Osanloo is in prison and his family is abused like this. If Mr. Osanloo is a unionist or is engaged in any activism, it has nothing to do with us. He is serving his time, what do they want from his family? What good is it if you release Osanloo, but put such pressure on his family? Everyone is responsible for their own crimes. He has already served four years in prison, and he will serve his remaining year, too. He hasn’t been released and nothing has changed yet, but they harass his family like this.”
Describing the things that happened to Ms. Samadi, Ms. Osanloo said, “On Wednesday, 23 June 2010, she got off work at 5:30 p.m. She was heading home when at the Tarasht Metro Station, just as she was trying to board the train, some men pulled her hair from behind. She screamed and asked people to help her, telling people that she was Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. But her captors quickly put duct tape on her mouth and blindfolded and transferred her to an unknown location. The forces tied her arms and feet and beat her severely. They told her she had to sign a document, promising that once Osanloo is released, either [his family] would not engage in any activities, or they would have to leave the country and go away. Her mouth was taped and she couldn’t talk, but she refused to sign the document. She told them that her eyes were blindfolded, this document [could be anything, it] could be her death sentence, why should she sign it? They beat her severely and threw her out of the car under the Seyed Khandan Bridge at 9:45 p.m., after removing her blindfold and the tape on her mouth. She got herself to a public phone and called her husband.”
According to Parvaneh Osanloo, Ms. Samadi’s general condition is poor. “She is still in shock and is not psychologically stable. We took her to the doctors and they took some X-rays. Fortunately she didn’t have any broken bones, but her orthodontic braces were broken and her gums were damaged. She has a nose bleed and she vomited this morning.”
Referring to a history of her family’s mistreatment and threats made against them Ms. Osanloo said, “My daughter-in-law has been threatened for the past year and has been harassed in different ways. We filed complaints with judicial organizations. Unfortunately, they did not investigate at all. We didn’t expect such treatment. My daughter-in-law was summoned to Branch 14 by telephone. She had to go to work, so I went in her place to see the Head of Branch 14. They told me they had not summoned her and knew nothing about it. I asked them then who would call and summon her? Last year, someone put a gun to her side on the street, trying to force her into a car. We wrote letters to the Human Rights and Citizen’s Rights Offices, the Director of the Ministry of Justice, and the Prosecutor. But unfortunately, they didn’t even call us in to see what the story was all about. We thought that Mr. Osanloo was serving his time and they would leave his family out of it. They know very well that we are not involved in any activities and we never participate in any gatherings. My daughter-in-law is especially innocent. She only met Mr. Osanloo once on her engagement night. We arranged an engagement party in between two times when Mr. Osanloo was imprisoned, just so he wouldn’t miss his son’s engagement in case he was returned to prison. He was taken back to prison after it. She is an innocent girl who has not even gone to visit Mr. Osanloo. Only sometimes when he calls from the prison, he asks after her health.”
Regarding news about her husband’s possible release, Parvaneh Osanloo said, “We have also heard that the Minister of Labor said Mr. Osanloo will be released. We don’t know whether his release is in the hands of the Head of the Judiciary or the Minister of Labor, but right now there is no news of his release. He knows nothing about this nor does his family. He was told he was going to court yesterday, but he was returned to his cell instead. He was transferred to another ward for five days a while back. Currently he is in Ward 3, Hall 8. He has needed an eye examination for a long time. He had bypass heart surgery and needs to have an angiogram. Even physicians at the Medical Examiner’s office wrote this in his file, mentioning that he needs an M.R.I. and angiograms and other medical procedures.”
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran believes Parvaneh Osanloo’s story demonstrates the systematic violation of the rights of Iranian citizens in inhumane and savage ways. What has happened to Osanloo’s family is only a part of the illegal pressure put on Iranian civil society activists and their families. In many cases, the threatened and intimidated families never report such treatment. The painful incident involving Mr. Osanloo’s daughter-in-law also completely contradicts what Mohammad Javad Larijani said at the conclusion of Iran’s Periodic Review in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in June. Larijani denied any torture, violence, abuse, or mistreatment of political activists and their families.
Over the past few months, the Campaign has received several reports of family members of prisoners, those murdered after the elections, and political and social activists being intimidated. The reports demonstrate the commitment of parts of Iran’s security apparatus to muffle the voice of Iranian civil society. The perpetrators of such illegal and inhumane behavior are increasingly emboldened with the ongoing silence of Iran’s high officials.