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Prison Memoirs

"When Will We Tear Down these Gallows?" : Political Prisoners of Raja'i Shahr Recount Execution of their Wardmates

Political Prisoners of Raja'i Shahr Prison / Translation by Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
September 12, 2018
Letter

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center Note: Political prisoners being held at Iran’s Raja’i Shahr Prison have published a letter condemning the judiciary’s September 8 execution of Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Hossein Ramin Panahi, their wardmates for years. They write of the Moradi’s irregular and illegal transfer and the high-security atmosphere which prison officials enforced:

 

The incident took place on Saturday, September 8. The Wednesday prior, right after visitations, they cut off all the phones in the prison – in all the wards – and stopped all traffic, even to the clinic, on different pretexts. First Zaniar, and then Loghman, were called to the Warden’s office. Up to this point, things weren’t that out of the ordinary. Even the ban on outdoor exercising for the adjacent wards, which we always heard noise from and now didn’t, we didn’t think of as unusual. When Zaniar and Loghman didn’t come back by 3:00 or 4:00 PM, the delay wasn’t unusual, either. The concern started up around 4:30, when all these things began adding up to something ominous for us: prison officials were saying a truck had collided with the phone wires, and this kind of talk had preceded criminal acts in the prison before, which added to our worries. The only thing we held out hope for was the possibility that their cases had been invalidated and they’d gone to the Sanandaj Prosecutor’s office to sort out their court branch. Practically speaking, their case was still up in the air. What we didn’t know, was that snakes on the shoulders of those governing us were hungry for the brains of young men, that the courts and judicial system of our Zahhaks didn’t know their own laws, regulations, and legal processes [1].

Mass killings and massacres of prisoners have been a fateful, predictable part of the final stage of every dictatorship, and continue to be. Woe to people who fear the killing of those like them and retreat. In doing this, they make the perpetrators of these crimes more determined and clear the path for others to be targeted. Blessed are the people whose children – like Zaniar, Loghman, and Rami, who were madly in love with life – embraced their hangings with heads held high [2]. How much longer until we tear down these gallows they’ve raised up to the sky?

We prisoners and wardmates of these young men put to death have readied ourselves for the next wave, perhaps the final set of executions in this end stage. What higher pride is there than being among the last people condemned to death; that after us, young people will no longer be faced with the gallows? Is this - among a mass of other reasons - not enough for all the world, that this country’s purest young people – like Zaniar, Loghman, and Hossein – are given over to the noose? This means that this regime is categorically incapable of reform.

And to those sowing delusions and fearing that things could get worse, it must be said: what is it that could get worse here?

We wardmates of these three martyrs – who, with condemned to death, held their heads high – condemn these crimes and hope their families and loved ones find patience and sufferance. We believe that their blood may clear a path for the dawn of freedom.

 

Prisons of Gohardasht [Raja’i Shahr] Prison, Karaj

September 12, 2018

Arash Sadeghi, Ebrahim Firuzi, Payam Shakiba, Piruz Mansouri, Sa’id Shirzad, Sai’d Ma’muri, Javadi Fouladvand, Hassan Sadeghi, Majis Asadi, Mohammad Banazadeh Amir Kheyzi

 

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[1] Zahhak, a figure emblematic of tyranny in the Persian epic Shahname, was infamous for the snakes on his shoulders which consumed the brains of Iranian youth

[2] The term the prisoners use here, “sar be dar,” invokes historical movements of Iranians who resisted the rule of foreign invaders without fear of death