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Mockery of Justice: The Framing of Siamak Pourzand

4.6. Appeals to the Majlis

In early January 2002, Mahin Pourzand was able to arrange a meeting with Ayatollah Mehdi Karrubi, the Speaker of the Majlis, and spoke to him about her brother’s situation for several hours. She found him sympathetic to Mr. Pourzand’s plight.[92] Mehrangiz Kar also appealed to Ayatollah Karrubi, telephoning his office on January 26, 2002. Mrs. Kar spoke with a man named Mr. Khudavirdi about her husband:

I talked with Mr. Khudavirdi in the office of Mehdi Karrubi and expressed my deepest concern about my husband’s situation. Then I pleaded for help. I asked Mr. Khudavirdi to convey my message to Karrubi and he said that he had a recording of our conversation and would play it to Karrubi.[93] 

The next day, the Majlis discussed Siamak Pourzand’s case in a closed session. [94] Kayhan reported a sharp division between the conservatives and the reformists in the Majlis about Mr. Pourzand’s case. Ali Younesi, the Minister of Intelligence, asserted again in Majlis that Mr. Pourzand’s case was “apolitical,” and he alleged that Mr. Pourzand was charged with “moral crimes.” Thus, he succeeded in diverting attention from his case and silenced the reformists in the Majlis.[95]

In early February 2002, Mehrangiz Kar wrote a letter to the head of the Article 90 Commission complaining that some of her husband’s fundamental rights were violated by the NAJA, in particular by Amaken. She asked the Commission to stop the violation of her husband’s rights and to investigate Amaken’s conduct. She also detailed in the letter how her husband’s rights had been violated since his abduction.[96]

4.7. Attempt at Blackmail

Siamak Pourzand’s disappearance received widespread coverage in both the Iranian and international media. Human rights organizations and journalists’ associations throughout the world condemned Mr. Pourzand’s arrest.[97] On February 14, 2002, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote formally to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran requesting clarification regarding Siamak Pourzand’s situation.[98]

The conservatives reacted by pressuring Siamak Pourzand to make his family stop pursuing his case. On March 8, 2002, Mahin Pourzand called Mr. Pourzand’s family in the United States and Canada and asked them to stay at home to wait for a telephone call from him. The calls came through a short while later. Lily Pourzand recalls her father telling her in a trembling voice:

Please do not interview with any media. Please do not talk with radio and the press. Assume I’m dead. Do not try to help me.[99]

Mr. Pourzand added that he had finally appeared in court and sarcastically commented that he had received the “good news” that he would soon be transferred to Evin Prison, Iran’s most notorious public prison.[100] Mrs. Mehrangiz Kar commented in an interview with The New York Times on March 14, 2002, that one could deduce from her husband’s tone the intolerable ordeal he was suffering in detention, adding that one could only imagine “the extent of torture and pressure on him that going to Evin has become a dream and a better place for him.”[101]

Despite the conservatives’ attempts at intimidation, Siamak Pourzand’s family continued their media campaign. After giving an interview to the BBC’s Persian Service, Mrs. Kar received a call from Siamak Pourzand. He left a message for her on her home answering machine:

Please, please with no one, no one … not you or anyone … from the family interview with anyone … You do not know, I do not know… so do not talk with anyone.[102]

Siamak Pourzand then called his daughter Lily in Canada and left a similar message:

Please do not, I emphasize, do not, interview with anyone at any condition and at any cost. You cannot understand me and you don’t know what my situation is. So please do not interview with anyone.[103]

Mrs. Mahin Pourzand also called Azadeh Pourzand to add her voice to her brother’s:

Please, I beg you, do not talk with anyone. Say you know nothing, nothing. Because you indeed know nothing about what is going on here. It has a repercussion here. So please, do not talk with anyone … Let it end. Let it end. Otherwise, it gets worse. So please, do not talk and ask your mother as well not to talk with anyone.[104]

The Pourzand family refused to be intimidated and kept up their media campaign. On March 14, 2002, Siamak Pourzand again called Mrs. Kar from detention. On this occasion an unidentified third party mediated the conversation, insisting that it was for the good of all concerned that the conversation be conducted by him:

The man kept pressing me to tell lie about Siamak. He wanted me to do an interview with the media and to declare everything was normal, that Siamak was not mistreated, that he was in good health, that his rights were not violated. I did not accept it. Siamak then also asked me to tell lies to media – I am confident that he only asked me to do this because he was under pressure. Siamak told me that it would be good if I were to lie to the media because it would improve his situation. I said I could not do it. Then he said, “If you do not do the interview, they will blackmail us and will publish whatever they have against us.” To which I said, “To hell, let them do it. You also confess to whatever they want. Who will believe it? We’ll do what we must, no matter what.”[105]  

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