Thursday , 2 February 2023

Mother of Detained Activist Hears Her Son Being Beaten Over the Phone

CHRI – “Why is a Lonely, Elderly Mother Being Targeted Like This?”

The mother of Farhad Meysami, a civil rights activist who has been detained in Iran since July 2018, says she has received phone calls that sounded like her son was being tortured.  

Meysami’s mother, who wanted her name to be kept private, had complained about the phone calls in a letter submitted to Branch 7 of the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison on August 13.

“In her letter, Farhad’s mother expressed concern about her son’s condition and asked the court for permission to speak to him to hear the truth from his mouth about whether he was tortured and forced to make confessions or not,” Reza Khandan told CHRI.

“The judge told her that this was not the work of agents but a prank by Farhad’s friends,” he added. “I don’t know how the judge is sure that Farhad’s friends were responsible and if they did this, why haven’t they been arrested for harassment?”

“Farhad’s mother had received harassing and insulting phone calls before but it was on the night of August 8 [2018] when she got calls for the first time sounding like her son was making confessions while being beaten,” he said.

“Neither his mother nor his lawyer knows what the charges against him are and they have not been allowed to visit him,” said Khandan. “He has contacted his mother on the phone only once and that was on the day he was detained.”

Khandan is the husband of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison since June 13 under national security charges.

Khandan is also a human rights activist and is in contact with the families of other political prisoners.

“The woman has been gripped with muscle cramps since she heard the calls,” Khandan told CHRI after writing a Facebook post about Meysami’s mother on August 14.

He added: “We aren’t sure if it was Farhad’s voice. Maybe the authorities were trying to pretend it was. When he leaves prison, he might say that he wasn’t beaten at all and didn’t confess to anything during interrogation. But the important question is, why is a lonely, elderly mother being targeted like this?”

After filing her complaint, judicial authorities promised Meysami’s mother that she would be able to speak to her son “but we don’t know if that’s going to happen,” said Khandan.

Meysami, 48, is a physician who has in recent years participated in gatherings to protest against the imprisonment of civil rights activists and the arrests of women who were detained for removing their headscarves in public.

Since his arrest on July 31, 2018, Meysami has been in detention in Evin Prison’s Ward 209 under the control of the Intelligence Ministry, which operates under President Hassan Rouhani.