Iran on the anniversary of the 2009 disputed elections

There were little photos, little youtube videos of yesterday, 12 June, which marked the aniversary of the disputed presidential elections and the birth of the Green Movement in Iran. People were too frightened to register their presence on films. They registered all the details in their memory for future reference.

 Prior to the  incident of the rigged elections on this day,  12 June was marked as an historical day for women's rights activists as they staged protests on that day in 2003 and 2004 against discriminatory laws and were arrested en-masse.

The events after the 2009 June elections was a turning point for the people and the regime. The people set aside fear and all other considerations and staged protests for months on end. During the demonstrations thousands were detained, hundreds imprisoned, scores killed either on the street or in prison. The so-called leaders of the Green Movement, Mousavi and Karubi, Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's outspoken wife and political activists and Fatemeh Karubi were put under house arrest and vanished from sight.

The situation in prisons deterioated and prisoners have lost all rights a humans and live under the mercy of a regime whose brutality knows no boundaries. Crackdown on freedoms has continued, newspapers which publish the slightest criticism are shut down; the internet is under constant attack from the hackers or shut down. All windows of opportunity for reform and change are closed down by the Islamic republic of Iran..

Among the myhem,  prisons are alarmingly changing policies to put further pressure on prisoners. Among the mayhem, Haleh Sahabi, a women's rights activists and member of Mothers for Peace, who was serving a two year prison for her presence at the demonstration aganist Ahmadinejad's inauguration was permitted a two weeks leave to attend to her dying father, Ezatillah Sahabi, a prominant politician. Haleh's father died on 1 June. The jnext day, Haleh was walking ahead of the procession to the cemetry to bury her father when she was attacked by a security personnel who grabbed her father's photo and punched her to the ground. She never got up.

In the mayhem that followed her father's corpse was stolen from the crowd and taken to the cemetry and buried while the congregation waited outside the locked doors and Haleh, who was unconscious was taken to the neaby hospital by her husband. She died of a heart attack and the blow she recieved. The authorities ordered her burial in the darkness of the night without any ceremony. Father and daughter lied side by side in their graves! An Iranian tragedy in the style of ancient Greek tragedies!

Two political prisoners who knew Haleh well went on hunger strike in protest to the abhorence treatment of the Sahabi family and Haleh's death. Ten days later, the health of Hoda Saber, one of the two hunger strikers deteriorated but the prison authorities ignored that and when he was finally taken to the prison clinic, he was beaten up instead of recieving treatment. Finally, when he was taken to hospital it was too late. His heart stopped living. A  heart which bled for Haleh and a country plagued by the vice of a regime which has committed crimes against humanity all through years, months, weeks and days. Hoda's body was not given to his family and her wailing wife and sister and other family and friends were driven away from hospital grounds.

Today, 13 June, a letter was published by 64 political prisoners who were in the same ward as Hoda Saber  testifying to the cause of Hoda's death which was prison authorities negligence and cruelty. They knew Hoda's heart would not stand the pressure of 10 day hunger strike. They did not take him to hospital. They beat him up in the clinic instead of treating him.

Today, is 13 June, a day after the anniversary of the disputed presidential elections. Today, we have new prisoners taken from yesterday's peaceful protests. Today, we dream of the day that Iran rids herself of this nightmare. We dream of a day when all those who have had a hand in the atrocities are taken to the international criminal court to pay for the crimes  they had committed throughout decades.

Today and tomorrow. The day will come. Maybe after tomorrow.

Rouhi Shafii


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