Mother of Political Prisoner On Hunger Strike Talks About “Those Two Weeks”
Just before the 16-day hunger strike of prisoners at Evin Prison ended, the mother of one of the prisoners on hunger strike spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Parvin Mokhtare, whose human rights activist son, Kouhyar Goudarzi was among the prisoners on hunger strike, talked about the prisoner families’ concerns and their treatement by prison authorities “The last meeting I had with my son was two Saturdays ago…the next day Kouhyar and 16 others started their hunger strike. Three days later, the families of protesting prisoners on hunger strike and other prisoners’ families got together in front of Evin Prison. The next day we went to the courts. Last Monday, we stood in front of Evin Prison from 2 p.m. until 8:30 at night,” sad Parvin Mokhtare.
Kouhyar Goudarzi, the expelled Sharif University student, an active member of Committee Against Executions, and blogger and journalist, was arrested on 20 December 2009 in Tehran and has remained in prison since then. He has gone on hunger strikes twice. The first time was last May when he objected to the executions of several Kurdish prisoners, especially Farhad Vakili who was his cellmate. The recent hunger strike was his second time. The hunger strike was broken yesterday after families and prominent political figures made a public request to the strikers. Goudarzi and 16 other prisoners demanded their most basic prisoner rights, showing their protest through a hunger strike, demanding change in prison conditions. During this time some security authorities threatened the families that if they talked to the media, they would be arrested.
Kouhyar Goudarzi’s mother told the Campaign about what happened to her during this time and the lack of accountability from the authorities: “We are all worried for our children. They told us that the court authorities didn’t wish to talk to us. Nobody is accountable to us. We ask for visitation, they inform us that the prisoner is in the Solitary Ward and cannot have visitors. Everyday a large number of prisoner families gather, one day in front of the Prison, another day in front of the courts, and another day in front of the Judiciary. In some places they would shout at us. In other places they would photograph and videotape us. I had a photograph of my son. I had written on it ‘I raised my son all by myself.’ I live in Kerman. I don’t know anyone in this city. Kouhyar is my only child. I am worried for his health. They tore up my photograph and sheet of paper. They shoved around several of the mothers and insulted them. They threatened us elsewhere, saying that they would arrest us, too. I said ‘No problem. This way I would be closer to my child.’ This week is the 30th week that I have been coming to Tehran. They didn’t release my son on furlough even for one day.”
“We were supposed to gather in front of the Judiciary again on Saturday morning. We wrote a letter and requested to at least have a telephone conversation with our children. They were supposed to give us information about our children on Sunday, 14 days after they had gone on hunger strike. Ali Parviz’s mother, Tahereh Kouhestani took a copy of the letter to make an inquiry. She was arrested. First they took her to the Police Station and then to the courts. They told her she was arrested because she had come for the gathering the prior week. She was in detention until a few minutes ago when her husband and daughter came and assumed her custody. Her only crime is that she was worried for her child’s health over the past two weeks and was making inquiries about it,” added the human rights activist’s mother.