Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, the son of the prominent opposition figures Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi, writes of the night last month that his parents were seized by security forces and taken to an unknown location, either in a house of detention or prison. Translation by Banooye Sabz:
On Monday, 17 [Note: other sources have said this should be 21] February 2011, coinciding with the birth of Imam Jafar Sadegh [6th Imam of the Shiites], security forces raided my father's residence, putting an end to the house arrest [of my parents]. In order to conceal the truth, they informed my brother [Ali] that my father's house arrest had ended and that his children were now free to visit with him. Upon hearing the news, Ali and his wife immediately went to my father's home, only to find 30 masked security agents inside their residence. My father was locked in a room on the first floor and my mother was being held on the 5th floor.
Ali, whose own arrest had been previously been announced by state-owned media, allegedly saw my father for a few minutes on that day. Ali's wife [Nafiseh Panahi], the sister of three martyrs of the eight-year holy war with Iraq, however, was unable to meet with our parents, supposedly because unlike Ali, she was not being arrested. She, who had repeatedly heard about how the Savak [Iran's Ministry of Intelligence under the Shah] treated its opponents, shockingly witnessed similar behavior . The house was emptied in a very bizarre manner. All documents and books both juridical and political, and daily necessities including my mother's medicine were taken. My sister-in-law was at a loss for words. She kept asking herself how they could treat one of their own, someone who had dedicated his life to their cause, and his wife, the only lady to have received a letter honouring her by the Imam [Khomeini], in such a manner....
My sister-in-law Nafiseh Panahi was still seeking an answer to her initial question when she was taken to the first floor for interrogations by a rude, bold, and uneducated women. A polite security agent was also present in the room. Nafiseh's nterrogation ended in an argument and her cell phone being confiscated, for the woman interrogating her, incapable of analyzing basic facts, only repeated what 20 to 30 other interrogators and the news outlets of Mr. Zarghami [the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] media outlets had regurgitated in the past and continue to insist upon to this day. If only they would hire a few rational analysts, capable of explaining at minimal the judicial facts, at least then they could put on the facade that they believe their own words.
To them [the ruling government] we are all in the same category as a small group of paid thugs. They have delegitimized the claims of our people, rendered the pillars of governance sacred and worst of all used the blood of our martyrs for self serving purposes, as if are martyrs are a worthless commodity to be paraded in front of the world at large.
This time the person witnessing this behavior was someone who has sacrificed three young brothers to her country and the ideals of the revolution. She had paid a price that would make most humans bow in honour of a family who had lost their loved ones for the good of their country. In all honesty, how many people in our nation are in a position to claim that they have paid such a heavy price on its behalf? Must those who have an opposing point of view to that of the ruling government endure such injustice and oppression? Those who belong to the generation that led this [Islamic] revolution and now remain silent in light of the injustices against the families of our martyrs, and only look for their own best interest, should be ashamed.
My sister-in-law recounted: "As I tried to explicitly and clearly respond to their numerous questions, I was reminded of the time when I was a child and my brother went to the war front in order to honor and protect our country's from those who were trying to invade it. I told myself that if they set me free today, I will visit my brother grave only to cry, rise and witness what those who are brazen with power and wealth are doing in your pure name. Rise and witness what you wanted and what ended up happening."
After hours of interrogations and having been denied a visit with my father, Nafiseh returned to her home while Ali remained with the security agents conducting a search of our father's house. Ali was taken hostage and sent to Evin Prison on bogus and ridiculous charges that day. Despite numerous inquiries we also have no news on the whereabouts and well being of our parents since then.
My parents' predicament is worse than that of Ali's and others like him currently held in solitary confinement, for those held in solitary confinement are at minimum allowed a phone call to their family and loved ones every so often. We however, have been kept in the dark when it comes to our parents. Of the entire Karroubi family of six, three are behind bars at the hands of this regime. My brother [Ali['s house is under Government control, and his children are so fearful of the security agents that they no longer attend school. The rest of us have been deprived of all communication lines and are fearful for our lives and random attacks and arrests by security forces. In summary, the offspring of Ahmad and his descendants are now suffering the same predicament as that of the Hakim and Sadr families in former Iraq. [Editor's Note: Members of the Hakims and Sadrs, both prominent Shi'a clerical families, were murdered by the forces of Saddam Hussein.]
As for my mother and father's arrest, that has unfortunately and incorrectly been referred to in the past 20 days as a "house arrest", I must say that they have been detained and are not under "house arrest". We have no news of them and only God knows what condition they are in.
We are grateful to legal experts and human rights activists who have spoken out regarding this matter and brought attention to the illegal arrest of my parents, an arrest that is contradictory to Iran's judicial framework. Our honuorable companions, Mr. Mousavi and Dr.Rahnavard, are also not under house arrest. Regardless of their location and condition, we must acknowledge that they are prisoners of this regime.
The onus is now on this regime to press legal charges, publish all supposed evidence against them, and entitle them to the rights afforded to every prisoner under the law. It is worth mentioning, that to date the judicial authorities and the authorities of Iran's National Security Council have yet to presented our families with any official charges leading to the house arrest and ultimate detention of my parents and that of Mr. Mousavi and his honorable wife Dr. Rahnavard. The media outlets have also not published any charges to date. Our expectation of the Attorney General, in his capacity as protector of the rights of our citizens, was to at minimum ensure that the law is enforced. However, contrary to our expectations, the Attorney General chose instead to ignore all legal principles upon which the judiciary is based.
Karroubi and Mousavi have both repeatedly announced that they are willing to be tried in a public court of law in order to provide evidence of the deviations [by the ruling government] from our National Covenant, the Constitution, and from the ideals of our martyrs. They have repeatedly asked to be provided with the opportunity to recount what has been done to the honourable people of our nation over the past two years. My father told us on numerous occasions that, based on his memory of historic events, he is ready to recount the untold stories of our Revolution in a court of law to the nation of Iran. He strongly believes that God is the main judge and enduring any hardship to gain his love and approval is worth the entire universe. He has also repeatedly stressed that the people, who are the true heirs of our great nation will be the judges of their actions versus that of the ruling government.
Considering that the only commonality between the Green Movement of Iran and [the "hard-line"] Kayhan newspaper is that we both believe in the importance of holding an public trial, I suggest that a public trial be held, with live video transmission in the grass area of Azadi Stadium withthe capacity to hold over 100,000 people, so that in the presence of such a unique jury the government can present its indictments and the Leaders of the Green Movement can present their defence and the nation of Iran can make their own judgment. Let us define our nation by including all its citizens, not only the plain clothes agents engaged in rouge and unacceptable behavior supported by the security forces loyal to this regime. For six consecutive nights, we witnessed the gathering [in front of my father's residence] of hollering thugs you refer to as our entire nation, who supposedly spontaneously showed up to chant vulgarities against us, the late Imam and his honorable descendants, a number of Shi'ite Grand Ayatollahs, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mr. [Mohammad] Khatami, and Mr. Mousavi.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thank all political, civil and cultural figures and the honorable nation of Iran for their efforts to inquire about the condition of our great leaders and their spouses.
Mohammad Taghi Karroubi