Why are Iranian-American Prisoners Released, but Not Iranian Ones?” Father of Imprisoned Blogger Asks
“Why has the Islamic Republic agreed to the release of Iranian-American prisoners but they won’t free our own prisoners who are the children of Iran?” asked Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, whose son, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, has spent more than six years in prison for blogging.
Speaking to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki’s father added that he expects Iranian officials to show mercy for innocent Iranian prisoners.
“As a father I want my son to be free, too. All these years I have been running around shouting for my son’s freedom so that someone might hear me.”
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, now 30, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Judge Pirabbasi for blogging comments critical of the results of the 2009 presidential election in Iran. The results of that election were widely disputed in Iran, and peaceful protests were met with a violent state crackdown that left hundreds arrested and jailed. Maleki was charged with “acting against national security” and “supporting and receiving money from foreign organizations.”
Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki told the Campaign that his son returned to Evin Prison at the end of his furlough on January 20, 2016, four days before the Iran-U.S. prisoner exchange. He had been released on June 14, 2015, on 14 billion rials (approximately $464,000) bail to receive treatment for persistent lung, kidney, and digestive problems.
Before reporting back to prison, Hossein tweeted that he had gotten an official warning from the prosecutor’s office to immediately resume serving his sentence or risk losing the properties whose deeds were used as his bail collateral.
“I had given the deed to my house and workshop to bail out my son. A number of my humanitarian friends had also added their property deeds. It wasn’t important to lose my own properties, but I could not endanger my friends and let their properties be confiscated. So I delivered my son to prison,” Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki said.