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Mockery of Justice: The Framing of Siamak Pourzand

On January 6, 2002, the newspaper Nourooz reported that Jam, a conservative weekly journal, had announced that “Siamak Pourzand, husband of Mehrangiz Kar, confessed to having received millions of dollars from the American-Iranian Council.”[66] The paper also claimed that Mr. Pourzand had distributed this money among the “so-called” reformist newspapers.[67] No official confirmation of the accuracy of the story was forthcoming. Mrs. Kar recalls:

We had mixed feelings when we heard details about the alleged confession. We were happy that Siamak was still alive and scared because the charges were very severe and entailed a severe penalty.[68]

Responding to the story in Jam, the Chairman of the American Iranian Council (AIC), Dr. Hushang Amir Ahmadi, denied the allegations made in the piece, commenting: “How can Jam have the audacity to publish such lies?” Dr. Ahmadi added that not only did he not know Siamak Pourzand, the AIC had never worked with any journalist inside Iran.[69] He emphasized that AIC was a non-governmental organization that conducted its financial activities transparently.[70] 

On January 13, 2002, the IHRCI informed Siamak Pourzand’s family that it had finally succeeded in getting the General Director of the Ministry of Justice in Tehran to grant them permission to visit him.[71]

4.4. The Fight for Access

On January 13, 2002, Mrs. Mahin Pourzand received a phone call and was told to come to the Amaken Office on Ostad Motahari Street the following morning to visit her brother.[72] This would be the first occasion on which a member of his family had been granted access to him since his disappearance on November 24, 2001. Mrs. Pourzand recalled:

Siamak was brought from somewhere else to the Amaken Office. Four guards accompanied him from a car to the Office. He was very weak and frightened. Our visit lasted 10 minutes and a plainclothesman was monitoring us all the time. After the visit, he was taken back to the car. I don’t know where they took him.[73]  

Many questions still remained unanswered after the visit. The family still did not know where and under what conditions Siamak Pourzand was being held, who was holding him, and what the charges against him were. He was still being denied legal representation. 

On February 3, 2002, Mahin Pourzand was summoned for a second visit with her brother.[74] Afterwards she told Mrs. Kar:

I went to the Amaken office on Motahari Street. It is under the command of Sergeant Sadiqi but he was not present. A man called Kaykavusi was in charge of the office. I waited some time there and then he [Siamak] was brought from somewhere else in a car. Two persons who did not have uniforms were watching us all the time. One of them video recorded our conversations. We talked for almost half an hour and then he was driven back to somewhere else.[75] 

During the visit Mrs. Pourzand gained her first insight into why her brother was being held when, according to Mrs. Kar, he told her:

Sister, they want to blackmail us. They want to disgrace us. We have lived with honor in this country. They want to deny us this honorable life and ruin our public image. They want to humiliate us publicly.[76]

When Mrs. Kar later inquired if Mrs. Pourzand knew who was responsible for Siamak Pourzand’s case, she said she still did not know.[77]

Mrs. Pourzand was summoned for a third visit on February 22, 2002, in the same Amaken office as before. However, on this occasion she barely recognized her brother:

[Siamak] was not like the last two times. He had lost weight and was very thin and very frightened. He had a long unkempt beard. He repeatedly asked me not to talk with the media about his situation. He told me that it might be our last visit. He did not explain what he meant by this. But he said so. He was worn out. He kept looking over his shoulder like someone might attack him.[78]

The visit was reportedly monitored by plainclothesmen.[79] Siamak Pourzand was taken to another location in a car after the visit.[80]

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Tagged as:

Secret Prisons, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination