Official Silence One Year After Haleh Sahabi’s Death
On the anniversary of Haleh Sahabi’s death, her brother Hamed Sahabi spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the yearlong silence and the slow progress of the case with the Judiciary.
Haleh Sahabi, daughter of Dr. Ezzatollah Sahabi, underwent a cardiac arrest on 1 June 2011 at her father’s funeral after being beaten by security forces. She died in a clinic in the town of Lavasan near Tehran at the age of 54. Officials and pro-government media alleged her death was caused by emotional distress from her father’s death.
“The court asked us in a session to produce the witnesses, which we did. So they testified to everything they had seen about Haleh’s death. But I don’t know in what stage the case is,” Hamed Sahabi told the Campaign. “We introduced four witnesses to the court. Their testimony was recorded in writing,” he added.
According to eyewitness testimony, security forces videotaped Ezzatollah Sahabi’s entire funeral ceremony. However, when judicial officials asked security forces to submit their videos, they refused. In December 2011, Hamed Sahabi told the Campaign: “If the court has the intention of shedding light on this case it must ask the security forces, or whatever organization, who were filming the funeral procession that day, to hand over the recordings to the court … We are certain that there are recordings of the funeral ceremony from different angles, which can be used as evidence in the court.”
“We just want the investigation to be over with soon and for the court to officially proceed with the case,” Hamed Sahabi said, adding that they still do not know whether or not the security forces have submitted the films.
“Our request is the clarification of the incident and the answer to the question of why there was tension at funeral. Why the funeral, which could have been conducted peacefully, especially since it was being conducted in a small town away from Tehran, away from chaos, was dragged into such disarray and conditions during which my sister passed away,” Hamed Sahabi said in regards to his family’s expectation from judicial authorities.
Haleh Sahabi, 54, a religious scholar, developed cardiac arrest at her father’s funeral on 1 June 2011 when she was beaten by security forces, according to some eye witnesses. She died in a clinic in Lavasan. Following her death, officials and the pro-government media reported the cause of her death as emotional distress caused by her father’s death.
Haleh Sahabi was a women’s rights activist, religious scholar, and member of the Iranian Mothers for Peace group. Plainclothes forces arrested Sahabi on 5 August 2009 in a gathering in Beharestan Square. In that same year, Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced her to two years in prison and a $300 cash fine in lieu of lashes, on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” through “repeated participation in illegal gatherings and disrupting public order.”