It is freedom and progress that will create security and guarantee the independence of the country.
“And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin.”
Honorable Dr. Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran,
Greetings with my regards,
I, Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, 28 years old, am a political prisoner who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for my human rights work. I have spent the past 4 years behind bars in Evin prison Ward 350 with only one release on furlough for a few months to tend to my medical needs. Before I explain the reason for writing this letter I would like to congratulate you on becoming the president of the people of Iran and I pray that god will guide you in the tough road you have ahead. As you are well aware more than I am, after 8 years of wretched darkness, many eyes are upon you to alleviate some of the damage and destruction, and compensate for the illegal detainment and repression of the people. The lack of accountability and irresponsibility of those in charge during these years is known by everyone. Considering the present state of affairs, I am worried for the future of the country. I have great concern for the boundless corruption, for the violation of the basic rights of the people and blatant disregard for the law on the part of those in charge. I have therefore resorted to writing this letter in the hopes that you as president will make every effort towards reform.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
The Ministry of Justice that is meant to uphold the constitution, handle grievances and deal with conflict in a fair manner has turned into an oppressor of the people. As an example that demonstrates my claim, echoing some of the judiciary and security officials, the Tehran Prosecutor told me that it is the security and intelligence apparatus that make the final decisions regarding political prisoners. And for consideration of granting me medical furlough, the Deputy Prosecutor said that they are waiting for instructions from the IRGC Intelligence unit. The interrogators say that the judge is not the one who makes the decision and they are the ones who decide. Surely the judicial and security officials are speaking the truth, and unfortunately the Head of the Judiciary is incorrect when he states that the judiciary is an independent organization that is powerful and has a voice. The Ministry of Justice claims that it is resolute in preventing any violation, abuse or attempt at intervention in its matters, however it is evident that those in charge of the judiciary do not have the power to do as they claim. So unfortunately one has to admit that some of the main laws of the country are obstructed and the fundamental rights of the people are ignored or violated by a judicial apparatus that makes decisions based on personal views and objectives. The point must be contemplated that the people of the country do not have legal security, and most of the behavior of the judiciary is directly related to the political atmosphere. It is due to this self-interest that essentially political prisoners exist in Iran and their basic human rights are ignored.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
The experience of the previous reform government was a testament to the limitations of the power of the presidency therefore I do not have any preconceived notions that you will be able to regulate our current chaotic judiciary apparatus but you can in talks with top officials suggest that instead of detaining bright talented youth who are freedom loving and want to serve their country and throwing them in prisons based on trumped up security charges, to focus on those who have plundered the treasury and due to their imprudence and incompetence tried to draw this country into ruin. Or why harass and arrest the women of this land with “crimes” such as “bad hejab” when according to Ayatollah Khamenei “whether we like it or not choice is one of life’s motives?” The judge who was convicted guilty of committing the appalling crimes in Kahrizak was put in charge of one of the largest institutions in the country. Was this his rightful punishment when he should be brought to justice, not dole it out? Do they not know that putting demands on how people conduct their private lives and affairs is against Islam and the teachings of the Quran? According to Surah Yunus/99, “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?” And according to Surah Yunus/108, “Say you, ‘O people! The truth has come to you from your Lord, then who ever came aright, he came aright for his own good, and whoever strayed, strayed against himself and I am not a guardian over you.” These verses state that accepting any faith is a decision made by each that cannot be mandated by force. However infringing on the rights of another is a punishable sin.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
Many of us who assume we are imprisoned for the crime of having compassion and loving our country ask why it is that there is no accountability for the former head of the state – who used to be favored by Ayatollah Khamenei – for the lies he told the people, for the havoc and instability he caused in Iran, and for putting the people in the most difficult and strenuous living conditions. Yet the ruling apparatus has no care for Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi and Zahra Rahnavard along with hundreds of political prisoners – because they stood up to dictatorship, defended the people’s rights and their votes – so they are the ones mistreated in this way? Why is it that the Parliament that is at the helm and is the home of the people today plays no role in writing and safeguarding the laws of the land? Should the head of the police force not be held accountable for the violent behavior of rogue officials at most intelligence detention centers who break the law by engaging in medieval atrocities towards the accused such as whipping, applying electric shock, hanging from the ceiling, beating up and using vulgar profanity? The death of Sattar Beheshti at the FATA detention center is clearly the result of this type of assault. The independence of the Ministry of Justice is unattainable with the presence of criminals in the ruling apparatus of the country. At the same time it is impossible for the revolutionary courts to hold up the laws of the judiciary. Your Excellency has a long history of positions in the highest levels of the government and you are clearly well aware of the country’s predicament. Who has given such powers to the military, Intelligence and Security agencies that has allowed them to take this land in their clutches and create such a spectacle?
Honorable Hojatoleslam Dr. Rouhani,
Unfortunately the reality of today’s Iran is what the late Ayatollah Naeini said hundreds of years ago. “Tyranny and despotism are veiled by religion and the most intolerable form of tyranny is the tyranny imposed by a religious state.” We also cannot forget the words of the late Ayatollah Taleghani who warned against the return of despotism who said in accordance to the Naeini Theory that “tyranny can arrive from theocracy. In a theocracy, a branch is responsible for simplifying the teachings of religion. But in the name of religion inaccurate content can be created to generate obedience out of people who are not familiar with the fundamentals of religion and the teachings of the prophet. In the name of religion people can be kept in the shadows of ignorance leading to their suffering. Those who use religion for their sovereignty over others are dangerous and disposing of them is extremely difficult.” The faith that we follow, that dictates our deeds and actions, what religion is it? What is the book that provides us with our decrees and demands? If that religion is Islam and the book is the Quran, then it opposes the repression, the behaviors of the past years and the withdrawal of billions from the country’s treasury. It condemns the exploitation, abuse and oppression of the people on the part of the government.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
I, the Iranian who has been accused of being a seditionist and troublemaker was witness to how the Basij forces fired bullets at people from their bases then put the blame for the atrocity on the shoulders of the innocent people. Naturally I don’t feel I deserve to hear the interrogators of the Intelligence Ministry tell me my death will be advantageous to the Islamic Republic. If I shouted out, it was a shout against injustice, abuse and assault on the part of the ruler. If I wrote, I wrote of my pain, I wrote about the invasion into our private lives, I wrote about violating our rights and insulting our views. If I stood in a line alongside students, workers, women, and the people of Iran, it is because just like them I am disgruntled with the state of the country, which causes our suffering.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
I would like permission to point to a reality I was witness to, or I should say embroiled in as an example of the political strife and security disarray in the nation. Last year during the painful events following the earthquake in Azerbaijan, I along with a group of others went to the earthquake stricken region to help our hurt countrymen. On what basis were we assaulted and detained with no legal warrant? We were issued trumped up charges such as “endangering public health through the spread of moldy bread and spoiled canned foods,” “contempt of court and resisting officers,” “gathering and collusion with the intent to harm national security by sharing news with foreign media outlets,” “fabricating lies about various entities,” “spreading news of imminent arrest before being detained,” “preparation and distribution of questionnaires with the intent to harm the Islamic Republic,” “possession of audio and video clips in the camp that were insulting to Imam Khomeini,” “destruction and burning of illegal goods before the arrival of officers,” and “possession of illegal satellite dishes.” These are examples of the charges fabricated by the Tabriz Ministry of Intelligence in collaboration with the Deputy Prosecutor of Tabriz. Another fabricated charge against us was “spreading Baha’i propaganda” due to several Baha’i countrymen being among our volunteer group. These false charges were brought against us while the reality is that our volunteer group at Sarand camp had gone to Azerbaijan to help our earthquake stricken countrymen in the spirit of what was in the best interest of our nation. This event was nothing new. Today any freedom loving human being who acts in the best interest of his/her country and the people ends up in the same predicament with false accusations and fabricated dossiers based on trumped up charges such as “insulting the regime,” “acting against national security” and hundreds of other distorted charges. I have said many times that we should be afraid of our future if we continue on this path, for the current crisis will get to a point of no return. Imam Ali stated that acting without logic and breaking the law invariably creates chaos in a person’s soul and disarray in his religious conviction.
Honorable Dr. Rouhani,
We all know that you have difficult days ahead of you. You know better than anyone the hurdles facing this nation and the difficulties in providing answers to the quandaries of the people. As a political prisoner I know that there is no benefit in putting added pressure on you by constant reminders of the brutality of the past years and fueling the disappointments. You joined the people with a slogan of prudence, moderation and hope. Your experience and knowledge will undeniably pave the way through the present crisis. The tyrant will realize that it is freedom and progress that guarantee security and create independence.
Oh if freedom could sing an anthem
Like that of a bird’s throat
Nowhere would any broken walls remain
It would take many years
That every ruin is caused by someone’s absence
That growth is fostered by the presence of humans
In hopes of your triumph and your success,
Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki
Evin prison – Ward 350