Jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi has written a letter to his former cellmate Abolfazl Abedini who launched a hunger strike over 2 weeks ago when he was arbitrarily transferred from Evin to Karoon prison. In the letter Ronaghi Maleki expressed his support for Abedini and said he is also on hunger strike in protest of those in charge ignoring the health of political prisoners, the lack of medical needs for jailed political prisoners who are sick, the relentless pressure on his family, the arbitrary transfer of innocent political prisoners, the placement of political prisoners in inhumane environments, holding some political prisoners behind bars incommunicado, and the continuation of illegal and violent engagements.
Abedini is a journalist who is serving a 12.5-year prison sentence stemming from charges related to his human rights work. After his transfer Abedini wrote a letter to Ayatollah Larijani, “It was useless to describe the injustice towards me during my arrest and interrogation to a court which did not even permit me to consult with my lawyer and had already made its decision. As compensation for my activities to benefit my country, for labor rights and against separatism, I was handed a 12-year prison sentence.
Abolfaz Abedini testified before the magistrate investigating the cause of death of blogger Sattar Beheshti while in the custody of the police force. Abolfazl Abedini who had been assured of no repercussions for his testimony was suddenly transferred from Evin prison to Karoon prison in Ahvaz. He immediately launched a hunger strike in protest of his illegal transfer and announced that he would stay on hunger strike until his return to Evin prison.
Following is the letter written by Hossein Ronaghi to Abolfazl Abedini as provided to Kaleme:
In the name of justice
You are alive in me
Me in you
We will never die
You and I and thousands of others
We will take this road
Victory is ours
Joy and future prosperity are ours
The world is facing towards bloom
And every tulip that grows from the blood of the martyrs
Is a promise of the day to come that will be free
~ Houshang Ebtehaj
To my imprisoned and suffering brother, Abolfazl Abedini:
Today marks 14 days since your illegal transfer resulting in your hunger strike. The thought of the tyranny and persecution that is used to oppress freedom-loving people such as you, and the sound of your voice remind me of the inspiring ballad far beyond he walls of Evin. It came from the land of Khuzestan; “If you hear the cries of a Muslim and you do not respond, you are not a Muslim.”
My dear friend I have known you for years; from the time you were the voice of the oppressed workers who suffered from the ongoing injustices; to the time when the streets were filled with fire and smoke and the shattered cries of thousands of Iranians who had come to the streets in protest, calling for justice as they were assaulted; and after that the times of imprisonment under severe pressure and abuse, when you prevailed under the strain of the interrogators and stayed in prison.
I know you are a determined human being who has made a pact with yourself. Unfortunately it is your benevolence and your insistence on holding on to your humanity that has positioned you and your family in such a difficult and grueling situation.
I know that our determination and perseverance will cultivate the future children of this land. I am therefore unable to stand in the way of your protest and your conviction. I can’t tell you to think of your own health and your own life when in these arduous days you have no companion by your side that can be your voice. We are waves that are lacking tranquility.
I will be by your side and feel your pain for if we do not stay together, we will not find a partner with whom to trek on this path. I know that the self-serving actions of some have perpetuated your bitter fate to the extent that you are prepared to sacrifice your life in the pursuit of your struggle. Your incarceration along with Majid Dori and Zia Navabi under the inhumane conditions at Karoon prison alongside dangerous offenders is a sacrifice that is a huge toll on you and your families.
I know your hunger strike has been in protest of tyranny, oppression, and lawlessness – and to the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi. We all share this pain for we are all opposed to this climate of abuse and injustice therefore you should not have to be on this path by yourself.
You know well that our mothers will be united in this path for it is excruciating for any mother to witness the light of her child be extinguished like that of a candle. If we have no comrades and nobody will be our voice, our mothers will be our mouthpieces and they will be by our side for they feel our pain and suffering. I know with the support of our mothers our struggle will finally change the course of this destiny.
I will be your partner in you worry for the future of Iran, the condition of Arash Sadeghi who is held incommunicado with no news of his situation, and thousands of Arash’s and Neda’s who have paid, and will pay a price in the pursuit of this path.
I am launching a hunger strike in protest of those in charge ignoring the health of political prisoners, the lack of medical needs for jailed political prisoners who are sick, the relentless pressure on my family, the arbitrary transfer of innocent political prisoners, the placement of political prisoners in inhumane environments, holding some political prisoners behind bars incommunicado, and the continuation of illegal and violent engagements.
Let our health and our lives end the imprisonment, the torture and the chains that bind the hands and legs of freedom seekers. In an era when nothing has changed, let us shout that we demand a transformation in order to promote morality, dignity, the rule of law, and value for the physical and mental health of human beings.
My dear Abolfazl!
Life is our beautiful scene as artists
Everyone sings his own tune
To the relevant scene
People will remember
Your memory that will shed from eyes one drop at a time
Your image I will slowly forget
Living with joy is an art
Don’t accept another’s joy as your own
For just like the lifeless image of night and day
We will be deprived of all joy
Lack of pain is a disadvantage that is distant from us
Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki