Rah-e Sabz interviews Ehteram Sadat Navab-Safavi, the mother of opposition activist Zahra Rahnavard, about the house arrest --- Navab-Safavi calls it a "kidnapping" --- of her daughter and her husband, opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi.
What is the latest news on Mir Hossein Mousavi and Dr. Rahnavard
I saw my son-in-law and my daughter approximately two weeks ago. As always, they were mentally strong and in high spirits.
To what extent are you free to behave as you wish during these visits? For example, are your other children who also miss them allowed to be present during these visits?
The visits generally take place without any prior coordination. However, on a few occasions my other children happened to also be present when the spontaneous visit was allowed.
Are you allowed to speak freely during these visits? To what extent do you believe these visits reflect the reality of their current circumstances?
I am a mother and obviously speak my mind freely. Of course, I refrain from discussing politics because I have heard them tell my children that they should avoid speaking about politics during visitations, for if they do, these limited and rare visitations will also be banned. Of course, it goes without saying that all visitations take place in the presence of a large number of security agents. A number of these security agents, both male and female remain inside the house and sit next to us at all times. I have not counted the number of security agents outside the house, but suffice to say, there are many of them.
I have no information what so ever and am not aware of the specifics of how they live under house arrest. I doubt that anyone has any such information. It must be said, however, that after a month and a half of no news they did contacted my husband and I on a few rare occasions.
How have the visitations been for Dr. Rahnavard's daughters? Do they visit their mother regularly? How do they describe these visitations?
Unfortunately my grandchildren, Dr. Rahnavard's daughter,s were left in the dark for long periods of time regarding their mother's well being. For approximately three months they were deprived of all visitation. At one point, except for the few moments when Mousavi and my daughter were allowed to visit his late father's body prior to him being buried, the family had had no contact with Dr. Rahnavard and Mr. Mousavi for more than 50 days. In the past 40 days however, there have been some limited visits in the presence of female and male security agents who have installed cameras everywhere.
My poor grandchildren don't speak to me much regarding this issue for it is very difficult to discuss anything given the constant and permanent controls and they of course don't want me to worry. It goes without saying that the presence of the security forces, the constant controls, bodily searches, searches even of food items and personal belongings has been difficult on my grandchildren. They even go as far as searching Mousavi and Rahnavard's grandchildrens' hair to make sure that nothing has been hidden, removing their hair clips. Is this acceptable behavior I ask?
How have the security agents treated you, your grandchildren, Dr. Rahnavard and Mr. Mousavi during these visits?
On the surface they are polite, but in reality their behavior is threatening. For example, my daughter is not allowed to say one word to me in private. Their eyes are on us at all times. They listen to every thing asked and everything said. They repeatedly state that we should refrain from providing any news [from the outside world]. They threaten and demand that we keep silent. But how long must this silence last?
How would you describe the family's spirits? How are Dr. Rahnavard and Mr. Mousavi's daughters holding up? Do they face any particular problems?
Much like their parents, my grandchildren have strong spirits and are resistant. Everyone is pained as a result of the predicament we find ourselves in. I am a mother and my daughter's father is sick. I worry that something will happen to my husband, much like what happened to the late Mousavi senior. [Mir Hossein Mousavi's father passed away this spring.] I hope and pray that such a thing does not happen and that my beloved husband continues to be amongst us for as long as possible.
Do you have any news of the physical condition of Dr. Rahnavard and Mr. Mousavi?
Unfortunately I am not allowed to see them all the time, and as a result of incarceration, the visits we have had are at best limited. Their appearance was during our last visit, however, extremely worrisome. They were both very pale and thin. Both my son and my daughter-in-law suddenly seemed to have lost a significant amount of weight. I am a mother, and this was apparent to me. I have no idea what they have had to endure. Of course as soon as they realised that we were worried and upset, they mentioned that they sometimes fast. I am sure however, that this cannot be the real reason and we are extremely worried about this extreme and sudden weight loss and their pale and weak physical appearance.
This is of course a very important issue. How is their medical condition? Do you know whether or not they are under the supervision of a specific physician?
Prior to their house arrest, my daughter and son-in-law were completely healthy. Everyone is aware of this fact. If it were not the case, they would have not been able to be so active in the past two years. Naturally, I am not in a position to speak regarding their current physical well being. I can only make a judgment based on their appearance. It goes without saying that their daughters are also worried as a result of the changes in their physical appearance and voiced their concern. They [security agents] said that they have their own doctor and will follow up accordingly. It goes without saying that as long as we are not allowed to use our own doctor, we will continue to worry about their physical well being.