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article imageOp-Ed: The Dead and Imprisoned of Iran's Green Revolution

By Johnny Simpson     Jul 14, 2009 in World
Though the streets of Iran's cities have quieted in the wake of the election crisis, disturbing news is surfacing of prison cells in Evin being severely overcrowded, more forced confessions, and of hundreds of unidentified bodies in Tehran's morgues.
THE DEAD
The online Farsi-language Norooz News reports that hundreds of bodies are stacked in Tehran's morgues. Though the Iranian government's official tally of the dead from the recent Green Revolution protests in Iran is twenty, family members called in by the office dealing with unidentified dead persons claimed to have witnessed countless corpses as they searched for their loved ones.
It has also been reported at Norooz News that those same family members are being pressured by the government to sign off that their family members died in car crashes or other accidents, or they won't be able take their loved ones home for burial. Perhaps the most egregious case reported yet involves 19-year-old Kaveh Alipour, who was shot in the head as he stood at an intersection in downtown Tehran.
His father was reportedly charged a $3000.00 'bullet fee' before he could take his son's body home. That fee was reported to be waived, as Kaveh's father was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War. Still, as a condition of the release of Kaveh's body, he could not be buried in Tehran. The family took Kaveh's body to the city of Rashi for burial. This was also the case of Neda Soltan. In fact, Ms. Soltan's family was forcibly relocated by the Iranian government so as not to be a living symbol or rallying point of Neda's martyrdom.
Like Neda Soltan, Kaveh Alipour is considered a martyr of the Green Revolution. It should be noted here that even though the regime claimed only twenty dead from the time of the beginning of the Green Revolution, the government dug mass graves for those already killed in protests as of June 23rd.
THE PRISONERS
Perhaps the most notorious prison in Iran is Evin, where Roxana Saberi was sequestered during her ordeal. Those who have been imprisoned within its walls even recently have called it a torture chamber. Horror stories have emerged of prisoners being forced to sign blank confession papers that only contained the line "I attest that all the above is true."
Dozens of families are camped outside Evin as we speak, waiting for some word of a loved one imprisoned within its walls. Those that are allowed to see family members are being charged a $20.00 'visitation fee' by prison officials. As to the prisoners themselves, it has been reported by those who have since been released from Evin that cells designed to hold thirty prisoners are operating at well over double capacity.
FORCED CONFESSIONS
In the Iranian government's pursuit of 'proof' that the Green Revolution was staged by foreign agents and their collaborators in Iran, it has been widely reported, most prominently by Human Rights Watch, that Iranian authorities are using harsh interrogations, beatings, sleep deprivation and threats of torture to extract confessions from detainees arrested following the disputed 12 June presidential election.
Perhaps the most prominent of these 'confessors' is Newsweek's Maziar Bahari, a Canadian-Iranian filmmaker and reporter, who 'confessed' to being a Western agent engaged in illegal activities. Other 'confessions' by imprisoned protesters have already been broadcast on Iran state TV.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Given the nature of Iran's current regime, there really isn't much the world can do but watch events closely, and hold the government accountable for the egregious violations of human rights the authorities seem to be actively engaged in at present against the protesters, and have been since the post-election turmoil began. But you can make your voices heard through a wide variety of NGOs and government contact pages for those whose voices have been silenced through mass imprisonment, violence, intimidation, even murder.
Here are the contact pages for the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists, which was instrumental in obtaining Roxana Saberi's release from Evin.
Here are the contact pages for the White House, Congress and the State Department. Let our government and our representatives in Congress know that the protesters are not alone, and that our government should support them and their families without reservation. Please also thank your Congressional reps for passing House Resolution 560 in support of the Green protesters, and against the regime's iron-fisted response.
Strangely enough, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was the only house member to vote nay on HR 560. You can contact Rep. Paul here at his official website. Those living in Texas can contact Rep. Paul at the Congress page linked above. Feel free to also voice your own political opinions on the matter to our government regarding whether you favor or oppose sanctions or engagement with the Iranian government based on events that have transpired since the June 12th elections there.
IN CLOSING
For those of you who have read my work here at DJ over the past eighteen months, you know that I have been vehemently opposed to the Iranian regime's horrific human rights record vis-a-vis child executions, the gay exterminations, the mass hangings, and the stoning and hanging of women and young girls even for the crime of being raped. This is nothing new with the Islamist extremist regime in Iran.
This age of terror was ushered in with the Islamic revolution in 1979. The innocent, freedom-loving Iranian people have been suffering unimaginable horrors for thirty straight years. Many government officials in the regime, including Hashemi Rafsanjani and recent presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai, are wanted by Interpol for their involvement in the worst terror attacks in Argentina's history in 1994. An Interpol warrant was issued for Rezai as recently as May 22nd, during his presidential run.
As horrific as all that is, it is really only scratching the surface of the bloody horrorshow the Iranian regime has been to their own people and the rest of the world for thirty years. I have even advocated war to put Iran's terror at home and abroad to a stop, especially given the regime's emerging nuclear threat. To be clear, I also advocate war with Sudan to put that horrific genocide, which international outlaw Omar Bashir continues with bloody impunity to this day, to a stop once and for all if they refuse to, which they have.
By the way, the Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, Hassan Khomeini, an ayatollah himself, has advocated the American invasion of Iran for years, it's so bad there. He even went to post-Saddam Iraq to plead to American authorities in person. I'm in good company.
Yet never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined the Green Revolution that may yet totally transform the Islamic Republic into some form of democracy. The Genie of Freedom is out of the bottle in Iran now. No putting it back in. It has gone far beyond just Mousavi or the elections now. In that respect, and given current events, I freely admit that the situation would have been far worse had mine and Mr. Khomeini's requests for war, on a purely humanitarian basis, been granted as outlined.
I also believe the Obama Factor, which I gave the President credit for in a March 26th DJ opinion piece, has been hugely influential in events in Iran. Without George W. Bush to hide behind anymore, the regime has been revealed to both the Iranian people, and the greater world at large, as to its true evil nature. I believe Obama's peace overtures, which I considered exercises in futility given the regime's history (as highlighted by the Team Hollywood punking on Feb. 28th), were welcomed by the Iranian people, who must have been frustrated beyond belief as Ahamdinejad et al presented a backwards and belligerent Iran to the world that was not representative of how the Iranian people as a whole wished to be perceived by the modern world.
I am not so proud I cannot admit my own mistakes in this process. But please keep in mind that my outrages at the regime's crimes against humanity at home and abroad were fully justified, and still are today given current events. I did not seek war for the sake of war. I sought it to free a people enduring unimaginable agonies and torment at the hands of today's Third Reich. Could any cause be more just?
All that said, please keep in mind the Green Revolution protesters who suffer those same agonies in prisons around Iran even as we speak, and for all their friends and loved ones who worry for them. They have all stood up bravely for freedom. It is time we stood up for them. Please make your voice heard.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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