Charged with "Waging War On God" for Defending Human Rights: Majid Dori's Letter From Behbahan Prison
ABF note: AS of May 14, 2011, Majid Dori is held in Bahbahan Prison. He was a former student of Alameh University, but has been denied the right to continue his studies because of his student activism as a member of the Council to Defend the Right to Education. He was arrested on July 9, 2009 in Qazvin during the 10th anniversary protests against the attack on the student dorms. He was then transferred to Evin Prison, where he and 17 other prisoners in Ward 350 went on a hunger strike for two weeks to protest the mistreatment by prison guards. His initial sentence was 11 years in prison, one year for “acting against national security by participating in illegal gatherings,” and ten years for “ties and cooperation with the Mujahedin Khalq Organization,” – five of which are to be spent in exile in Izeh Prison. Through an appeal, his 11-year prison sentence was reduced to six years in prison – one year in Evin Prison and five years in prison in exile, in Behbahan Prison in the province of Khuzestan. There is no evidence linking him to the MKO, but rather, that he was charged due to his membership in the Council to Defend the Right to Education. He suffers from migraines and hemophilia in prison, and his physical condition has deteriorated because of a lack of medical treatment.
Who is it who seeks to prevent you and I from becoming us?!
A plague on his house...
In the name of freedom for which when I cried out I was deprived of education; for which when I roared I was imprisoned, and of which when I spoke I was sent into exile.
In the name of freedom which like a 'Yellow Belt' helps you identify your allies and companions, and which makes you take pride in the crown which they have placed on your head believing it to be made of thorns; because a tattered garment is far worthier than a bejewelled beard!
In the name of freedom, which once tasted nullifies the pain of incarceration, exile, execution and chains.
Hail to freedom! Hail to the innocent bloods shed at its feet, the lofty heads that pursued its cause, and the lives sacrificed to water its tree.
On Saturday morning, they transferred me from Evin to Behbahan prison. I was charged with being a Mohareb [one who wages war against God]. I was sentenced in a court of injustice by a judge called Pirabbasi who did not even allow me or my lawyers to present a defense.
The reasons for which I was charged with the act of Moharebeh would send shivers down anyone's spine. I had become a Mohareb because I could not, and refused to, live like an animal. If defending one's right to education, which is an absolute and inalienable right of every individual, is an act of war, then I am a Mohareb! If helping political prisoners and showing compassion and sympathy to their families is war, then I am a Mohareb. And if compiling a list of those killed and arrested, or attempting to obtain lawyers for those arrested by unknown individuals, for unknown reasons, and taken to unknown locations, is war, then I am a Mohareb. By God! I am a Mohareb and I take pride in being a Mohareb at any time and any place; for is waging such a war not more honorable than [performing] hundred acts of peace?!
Do you presume that if people hear that I had consoled families of prisoners, helped a lonely prisoner, and collected the names of those killed and captured, they would rise against or despise me? Do you believe that you can stand in the way of humanity through imprisonment and exile?!
Those who have come [to power] by way of fraud, lies and denial, and have established themselves through suppression, threats, and intimidation, will stop short of nothing to maintain their hold! Those who portray every humane act as evil, every critical notion as Mohareb and every innovative idea as destructive, have no option other than resorting to such endless suppressive means.
May a new dawn consign the darkness to the dungeons of history and bring to justice the ringleaders and perpetrators of these brutal crimes. God help those who will be held accountable to the people tomorrow for their inhuman acts. If only they would at least abide by the slogans that they chant to others, the laws that they constantly make reference to, and whatever they have prescribed to others in the name of law.
I have now been transferred to a prison in which no consideration is given to the nature of crimes; a prison which lacks even the minimum medical or cultural facilities: Behbahan Prison in the south of the country. When I first arrived here I did not believe that I would be able to carry on, to endure a prison where I had to coexist alongside inmates who were not political prisoners but had perpetrated crimes such as murder, drugs trafficking, and theft. I felt alone, like a stranger...
But the warm and familiar voices of the Behbahanis thawed the blood which had frozen in my veins. When the [Behbhanis] came to the prison gates and asked to visit me on visitation day, and in so doing tried to make the thousand kilometer distance between me and my family less unbearable, it was as though I could clearly see the glow from the 'Yellow Belt' around their waists and the Crown of Thorns on their heads.
I was no longer a stranger and they were no longer strangers. Now I greet each and every one of them from behind the thick walls, and I say to my parents:
Father! Mother! I am not alone here. My Behbahani fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters have made me feel at home. I can now cry out: O People of Behbahan" I am a Behbahani! I am one of you. I salute your honor!
In the hope of the day when you and I become us thanks to our suffering and endeavor...
In the hope of that day...
Your Humble Servant
November 2010/Behbahan Prison
Source: Kaleme/English translation ABF