What Was My Husband’s Crime Other Than Expressing His Opinion?
Following remarks by Head of the Judiciary Sadegh Larijani, who recently stated, “those who were arrested post-elections and are currently in prison, have committed criminal acts,” Mahsa Amrabadi, wife of imprisoned journalist Massoud Bastani, has challenged Larijani contesting the claim that journalists are criminals despite only expressing their opinions and criticizing the Iranian authorities.
Amrabadi’s letter to Larijani was published at a time when Amrabadi, herself a journalist, has been summoned to appear in court on 14 October 2010. Amrabadi was initially arrested in the first days of post-election events, serving one month in Evin prison.
Kalame, a website close to Mir Hossein Mousavi, first published the letter on 6 October 2010. In one portion of her letter, Amrabadi says, “You said those who were arrested post-election and are currently in prison, have committed criminal acts. I would like to know which criminal acts were committed by my husband, Massoud Bastani, and several other journalists such as Bahman Ahmadi Ahmouee, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Abdolreza Tajik, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Hengameh Shahidi, Reza Rafiee Forooshani, Ali Malihi, Issa Saharkhiz, Mohammad Nourizad, and several others, all of whom are in prison right now? Is criticizing the conduct of government officials, or expressing one’s views and ideas considered a huge crime, warranting long-term prison sentences and exile?”
“I don’t know whether you are informed about what happened to the country’s youth, journalists, and political and human rights activists over the past 1.5 years. If you are informed and choose not to take action, you should let us know, so that we may take our grievances to places above you; and if you don’t know and are not informed about these things, pity a country whose top judge is unaware of the existence of so much injustice and cruelty in his country,” Amrabadi added in another part of the letter.
“We heard that in the presence of an eminent individual who advised you against taking the position of the Head of the Judiciary, you said that if you are unable to carry out justice, you would step down from the position. Before it is too late, please take action and release the critics who are imprisoned for expressing their opinions and their criticism. You know better than anyone that they could be the biggest helpers of justice. And if you are incapable of carrying out justice, speak transparently to the people. It seems this might be the time for you to deliver on your promise,” wrote Amrabadi, referring to a statement Larijani previously made.
“In your position as the Head of the Judiciary, do you know what has happened to us during the past 1.5 years? You claim to implement the law and execute justice. Do you know what illegal actions have taken place by some of your subordinates and government officials?” Amrabadi asked.