Friday , 1 March 2024

Eight Days After the Execution: Bodies Withheld, Houses Surrounded

Iranwire – The mother of Pejman Fatehi, a young Kurdish prisoner who was executed last week, cannot believe his son was killed, as authorities have yet to hand his dead body over to her. 

“I cannot bring myself to believe that Pejman has been executed. If my son had truly been killed, they would have returned his lifeless body to me,” Afsaneh Yousefi tells IranWire. 

More than a week has passed since Fatehi and three other Kurdish prisoners — Mohsen Mazloum, Mohammad Faramarzi and Vafa Azarbar were hanged on the morning of January 29. 

The bodies of the four have yet to be handed over to their relatives for burial, and security forces prohibited them from hosting any mourning ceremonies. 

Gatherings at the homes of the executed men were banned, compelling the families to mourn at the residences of other relatives and acquaintances. 

“We have been striving all these days to obtain the bodies for burial,” says Bayan Azimi, the wife of Pejman Fatehi. “We have reached out to human rights organizations and sought assistance from representatives of the countries where we reside, including Germany, to address this violation of human rights.”

Azimi says the confiscation of the bodies contravenes the Islamic Republic’s legislation, Sharia law and human rights.

Maria Mahmoudi, the wife of Faramarzi, says: “When my husband’s family went to receive his body on the day of the execution, they were informed that they wouldn’t be shown the body or given it for burial. They were told, ‘We’ll contact you in three-four months and show you their graves.'”

According to Mahmoudi, it remains uncertain whether the graves that will be presented to the families are the last resting places of the executed men or not.

“My husband’s family has asked the prison authorities to allow them to see the lifeless bodies of their loved ones, but they were told, ‘It’s over, your sons are not here, go back to your homes.'”

According to Mahmoudi, after the final meeting of the four families with the prisoners, two security agents on motorcycles instructed them to return to their respective cities and to not return to the prison or gather. 

Afsaneh Yousefi, Fatehi’s mother, recounts, “We had our final meeting with Pejman around 2:30 or 3pm on Sunday, January 28, at Ghezelhesar prison. Upon leaving the meeting room, they handed us two sheets of paper and instructed us to take them to the Supreme Court the next morning to save Pejman.” 

“I’m not sure about the other families, but I went to the Supreme Court building with my family to ensure we were first in line and could enter early in the morning. 

“We endured harsh conditions. My daughter gave me my pills because I was not feeling well, and I fell asleep. Pejman was executed while I was asleep.”

When the families returned to the prison, they were denied entry. They stayed in Tehran until around noon, when they felt compelled to return to their village.

“Pejman is a source of pride for me, my family and all Iranians who have suffered injustices,” his mother says. “I’m not shedding tears today because I find solace in knowing that Pejman is no longer enduring torment.”

“As a mother, I hoped that the Islamic Republic would pardon and release my son, but instead, they executed him. 

“However, as an Iranian and a mother, I implore the Islamic Republic to return my son’s body to me, to let me see his remains. 

“They didn’t give me anything in life, not even my deceased son. I made a promise to my son that I wouldn’t shed tears, but as a grieving mother, I seek only a grave for my son. 

“I want to visit his resting place to find solace in my heart. Eventually, I’ll bring his son Sabah there and say, ‘This is your father’s grave. This is his name.'”

The Final Visit

Pejman Fatahi’s mother reflects on her last encounter with her son.

“I was on the verge of pleading with the prison officers when my son firmly grasped my hands and said, ‘Mother, please don’t beg. Keep your dignity intact. Don’t beseech them. Stand tall and proud, and live your life. Take care of my sister and yourself. Be a pillar of strength for Bayan and Sabah, my son.’ He repeated, ‘Don’t shed tears, mother.'”

Yousefi, who is battling cancer, reveals that during her last meeting with her son, he expressed concern for her health, but she concealed her illness and claimed she was well. 

Recounting the poignant moments of their final meeting, she says, “Pejman said, ‘I know they’ll execute me, but I’ll make you proud. Don’t grieve, don’t wear black, don’t mourn like those who wail and beat their chests in sorrow. I’ll be your honor.'”

Fatehi informed his mother that after 19 months spent in solitary confinement, he sends his regards to everyone. 

He instructed her to convey his gratitude to all who inquired about his well-being, supported him and advocated on his behalf. 

Maria Mahmoudi, Faramarzi’s wife, recounts that on the day news of the execution arrived, intelligence forces were stationed in front of the homes of the four executed men and prevented anyone from approaching.

“The security forces withheld the bodies for fear that releasing them for burial would spark protest rallies. They refuse to release the bodies because the Kurdish community does not stay silent, they will seek retribution for these young men.”

According to Mahmoudi, since the day of the execution, the families have been warned that any voice of dissent or protest will result in severe consequences. 

She mentions that plainclothes security agents have been restricting access to the Faramarezi family’s home.

Faramarizi’s family is under intense scrutiny by the Ministry of Intelligence, and his father has faced significant threats and intimidation.

Mahmoudi laments that communicating by phone with Mohammad’s family is impossible.