Mohammad Davari’s Mother: “I Wish The Prison Phones Were Working”
Zolaikha Biyabani, the mother of imprisoned teacher and journalist Mohammad Davari, has been unable to travel to Tehran to visit her son due to poor health, old age, and distance. “I haven’t seen him in a long time,” she told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “The phones are cut off. I have no news of him. I am a lonely woman and I have no one to take me to Tehran. It used to cost me 50,000 Toman [about $50] each time I went there, and I can’t afford it anymore. They cut off Mohammad’s salary after he was arrested. He used to help me. I haven’t seen him in a long time. I wonder what I should do,” Biyabani said. Davari is from the province of Khorasan, 500 miles from Tehran.
Mohammad Davari is a teacher and editor-in-chief of Saham News website. He was arrested after presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi wrote a letter to the Assembly of Experts about the torture and rape of political prisoners in Kahrizak Detention Center. One year after Davari’s arrest, and with the continued disconnection of telephone lines at Ward 350 of Evin Prison, he wrote a letter to his mother telling her not to come to visit him anymore. In this letter, which was published in news websites, Davari mentioned his reasons for the request, including, “…because my mother is old and sick, traveling the thousand-kilometer distance would threaten her health, and each time she travels I’m worried whether she returns back safely or not. The visitation time limit of 20 minutes maximum through a booth is not worth the sufferings of the journey.”
“My son has been in prison for nearly two years, and now it’s been close to three months or more, I do not know, I don’t remember, that I have not talked to my son by phone. It’s been a while since I have heard his voice. If it was possible to talk by phone, it would be very nice, I could finally hear my son’s voice. I do not know what to do,” Biyabani told the Campaign.
“It’s been nearly two years since my son was imprisoned, and I was only able to see him in person once. I called a long time ago, asking to see my son in person. They said that it is no longer possible to have in-person visits. Now it looks like I will have to write a letter. They say the other families do the same thing and write letters for meetings. I don’t know, I hope God helps us,” Biyabani said.
Mohammad Davari’s first in-person visit was by accident. “I had gone to court to request an in-person visit. I said that I want to see my son. They said ‘stay here, your son will come soon.’ It was my son’s court date and I didn’t know it! When he came out, we talked in the hallway. I talked to his lawyers there as well, who said ‘your son has nothing in his case against him. He is innocent,'” Biyabani added.
“I want the release and health of all political prisoners, not just for my son; I want the same freedom for his cellmates, too. If these [human rights] organizations can do anything, they mustn’t hold back. God will help us. I want to see my son again,” she said.
Mohammad Davari is a disabled Iran-Iraq War veteran, head of the Training and Information Unit of the Iranian Teachers’ Association, and editor-in-chief of Saham News website. He was arrested on 8 September 2009. After news of pressure on Davari to make a televised confession, Mehdi Karroubi wrote a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor taking complete responsibility for all documents and videos related to news on Kahrizak Detention Center, calling Davari “only the videographer.”