Iran’s Intelligence Ministry Killed Parastou Forouhar’s Parents. Now It’s Going After Her.
An Iranian activist who has been seeking justice for her parents murdered by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in 1998, will soon be put on trial based on charges brought by the same ministry.
“I am due to be tried at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court [in Tehran] based on charges cooked up against me by the Intelligence Ministry last year,” blogged Parastou Forouhar on November 8, 2017.
“The trial will take place three days after the anniversary of my parents’ murder,” wrote Forouhar, who lives in Germany where she works as a professional artist.
Parastou—who visits her birth country of Iran annually to hold a memorial ceremony for her parents—added that she will be present for the trial on November 25, to face the charges of “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the sacred.”
Opposition nationalist politician Dariush Forouhar and his wife, politician Parvaneh Forouhar, were murdered during the targeted killings of Iranian intellectuals, writers, artists and ordinary citizens between 1988 and 1998, which came to be known as the “chain murders.”
Dariush Forouhar was a leading member of the opposition party, the National Front, and the secretary general of the Pan-Iranist Party.
An investigation by the reformist government of President Mohammad Khatami revealed that the politicians were killed by the Intelligence Ministry.
For years, Parastou has been pursuing justice for her parents through Iran’s judicial system, despite repeated instances of harassment and threats of arrest by the Intelligence Ministry.
In 2016, the ministry’s agents blocked the streets leading to her home to prevent family and friends from attending the annual commemoration for her parents.
“It is clear to me that a case is being built against me as punishment for my staunch efforts to preserve their memory and demand justice for them,” wrote Parastou on her blog.
“This is just one of several similar examples where mothers, sisters and other relatives of victims of political crimes have been put under pressure for commemorating their loved ones and seeking justice for them,” she added.
In October 2017, a court in Tehran sentenced Shahnaz Akmali, the mother of a well-known victim of the state crackdown on the protests against the country’s 2009 presidential election, to one year in prison for seeking justice for her son.
A month earlier, Raheleh Rahemipour was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry for refusing to stop searching for answers about her executed brother and infant niece, who disappeared after she was born in Evin Prison in 1984.
The Forouhar family home was vandalized in April 2015 and ransacked by unknown persons who stole personal items. Parastou said a judicial investigation of the event “ended in deadlock and a sham verdict.”
“Despite all these pressures, I believe that we can break this chain only by continuing to stand up and press for justice,” she wrote in her blog.
“We must not give in to pressure from rulers, or to our own fears and weaknesses,” she wrote. “Seeking justice is a civic group responsibility and when the torch is dropped, someone else must pick it up and carry on the fight.”