“I Am Certain Security Forces Murdered My Daughter,” Says Former MP
Mohammad Bagher Bagheri Nejadian Fard, a former member of the Iranian Parliament, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that in July 2011 security forces murdered his daughter. He stated that after numerous requests for investigation, Ministry of Intelligence officials have only threatened him to remain silent.
Fatemeh Bagheri Nejadian Fard, 28, a senior Engineering student, was a supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s presidential campaign in 2009. “On the evening of Thursday, 28 July 2011, my daughter left the house. She was supposed to go shopping. But she didn’t return. She always returned home by 10 p.m. at the latest, or would call home, but that night we didn’t hear from her…We went to the police station in our neighborhood and reported her missing,” Bagheri told the Campaign.
“A few hours later, someone from Shahr-e Rey Police called us and gave us our daughter’s description. Her body had been found that same day on 29 July 2011, in the foothills of the mountains in the Shahr-e Rey area, and then transferred to the Kahrizak Medical Examiner’s Office. I have tens of clear reasons that my daughter was murdered. This is why from the first moment I asked for an autopsy of my daughter’s body and for her cause of death,” he added. Fatemeh’s family was threatened not to hold funeral ceremonies or pursue her case, and to keep silent.
Mohammad Bagheri Nejadian, a twice-elected former MP and supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, told the Campaign that he has written numerous letters about his daughter’s suspicious death, appealing to authorities including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The murder case remains open at Shahr-e Rey General Courts.
He explained the details of her suspicious death to the Campaign:
Fatemeh participated in the post-election protests, but she wasn’t so active to warrant her death. First they told us that she had died of natural causes. Then they told us that she had taken an agricultural pesticide pill, but I believe she was murdered by security forces, but I don’t know why or how. Maybe it was for my reformist views, or because my daughter participated in the post-election events. I have been threatened to keep silent about my daughter’s case. Isn’t this a sign?
The Medical Examiner first said that she had died of natural causes. But this answer did not convince us. I wrote a lot of letters to the authorities. Our home is in Northern Tehran and Fatemeh was found by a mountain in Southern Tehran. The Bibi Shahrbanu Mountain is very far and it is in an isolated location; it is impossible for someone to get there from Northern Tehran without a car. Fatemeh was not a mountain climber, and wasn’t even wearing sports shoes that day. One or two months after the incident, after I kept writing letters and going to the court, they announced that after new investigations they discovered that my daughter had taken an agricultural pesticide which led to her death. But we believe this is an absolute lie. Even if there was pesticide involved, it was fed to her.
Both her legs from the knees down, her arms, and her face had turned purple with bruises. Does this mean that before swallowing the pesticide, Fatemeh had beaten herself? Fatemeh weighed 40 kilograms and her height was 155 centimeters. Maybe they put her under so much pressure, her heart stopped, or she couldn’t take it and died or they killed her! I don’t know, really. All I know is that my daughter was so happy and cheerful that we just cannot believe her having committed suicide.
Security forces showed up starting on the day of Fatemeh’s funeral. Later, they showed up to her memorial services [that occurred] one week and 40 days after her death, where they told me that if I continue with what I had been saying, the lives of my other children would also be endangered. They didn’t allow the speaker to talk at the memorial service, either. Then the Security Police contacted our home and asked me why I didn’t keep silent and why I say that the regime has murdered my daughter. Then they went to the Imam of the local mosque who had preached at my daughter’s memorial service and intimidated him, calling him anti-Supreme Leader for speaking at the funeral. Even my friends were threatened at the funeral, so that only a few people dare call our house or socialize with us. Aren’t all these signs that they murdered my daughter and are now threatening us into silence?
The former MP described that his efforts to pursue his daughter’s murder:
In a country where lawyers cannot get anything accomplished, how could I hire a lawyer? Having a lawyer in this system is useless, therefore I have pursued this case personally. In a letter to the Judiciary, 22 Members of Parliament asked for an investigation into my daughter’s case. I have written letters to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Head of the Judiciary, the Tehran Prosecutor, and the Intelligence Minister, but I never received a response. If I wasn’t sure I would not have pursued this matter so seriously.
Over the recent years, I have been participating in the weekly meetings of the Center for the Defense of Political Prisoners, where I freely express my opinions. After the Kahrizak crimes, I said during a weekly meeting of the Center that “if regime authorities commit suicide because of these crimes, they should not be blamed.” Later, an individual from the Intelligence Ministry verbally abused me, my daughter, and my wife, calling us names I cannot repeat, profanities I had never heard before. A month before this, security forces went to visit my political friends in Fars Province and asked them questions about me. When I put all of these together, I conclude that the state intelligence apparatus is responsible for my daughter’s murder.
I told the authorities that if they can’t pursue this case they should say so, so that international human rights organizations can do it for them. I ask Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to investigate my daughter’s murder case. I lost my mother and two brothers during struggles before the Islamic Revolution, so I cannot keep silent about the loss of my daughter now. I need to know the clear reasons for my daughter’s death. They have only threatened me so far, talking in ambiguities. They have never spoken transparently with us. But I am standing until the end of the truth and I shall not keep silent. They should capture and kill me, too.
“Iran’s intelligence forces, or the group known as the vigilantes, have made all historical criminals proud. I have no fear. I have written all this in my letters to the authorities,” said Mohammad Bagher Bagheri, adding that he will continue to pursue the matter until the truth is discovered.