Mehdi Saharkhiz: “Mr. Prosecutor You Are Sending My Father to the Gallows!”

Wednesday December 22nd, 2010 –  In a letter addressed to Tehran’s Prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Mehdi Saharkhiz, the son of Isa Saharkhiz incarcerated journalist demands that attention be paid to his father’s dire physical condition. The content of the letter and his harsh words to Tehran’s Prosecutor are as follows:

Mr. Prosecutor,

My father lost consciousness twice today and was taken to the prison’s infirmary. Mr. Prosecutor as you are fully aware, the prison infirmary is not equipped to deal with my father’s extremely dangerous and volatile blood pressure fluctuations. If you are unaware of the significance of this extreme rise and fall in blood pressure, I request that you please enlighten yourself through the medical specialists who report to you.

The medical specialists wrote you a letter in which they requested an MRI and further examination of my father’s heart. The specialists stated that my father, Isa Saharkhiz is in no condition to endure incarceration given his deteriorating physical health and yet he was still deprived of his basic human and legal rights.

Mr. Prosecutor, even though I know that you are fully aware of everything that goes on within the prisons, I write to you yet again. I write to you to inform you of what my father is being forced to endure behind these prison walls, lest there be any excuses and apologies on the day he dies….

Allow me to warn you of the fate of your predecessor when a journalist was badly injured and killed in a prison during his watch. I remind you of how he signed off on the rape and murder of our youth; I remind you of the time when so many innocent people were killed on his orders.  At the time, he was under the false impression that those in power would hold him in even higher esteem as a result of his actions.  He was drunk with power and engulfed with reverence for his superiors and saw his future success and prosperity in pledging allegiance to that power.

Mr. prosecutor, even power comes with specific rules and is based on certain customs and traditions. The one element integral to power is the boundaries associated with its reign. Power buys people, power causes them to metamorphosize, power causes them to abandon themselves. Unfortunately, those who conquer become the shareholders of power, but power understands neither loyalty nor appreciation. Power only needs tools in order to grow.  It rides on the shoulders of those who share it and will not hesitate to replace or eliminate one person for another in order to achieve its goals. 

In the end, power remains with the one known as the executioner.  The executioner who is exposed so power can advance; he is sacrificed so that the power he pledges allegiance to can be justified. Mr. Prosecutor what is happening to my father in prison today is no less than first degree murder, a slow and gradual murder. If the powers that be intended to sentence him to execution, fear of a scandal, has led them to select a slow and gradual execution instead. This time power is riding on your shoulders. You are the ink with which the truth will be told. If you chose to become an enabler for power remember that your future will not be bright. Today it may be the likes of Saharkhiz who are being punished, but tomorrow it will be you who will be indicted in court by the power you have pledge allegiance to. I am sure you too have read about those who were indicted for the crimes that occurred at Kahrizak prison.

Mr. Prosecutor, the evidence against you is clear today and when you are indicted, it will be noted that you ordered that a prisoner be denied medical attention even though you were aware that he was in dire need of treatment. It will be noted that you denied him treatment rather than forgo your power. I am perplexed that you had once said that you hold my father in high esteem.  Is your definition of respect and holding someone in high esteem being an accomplice to his murder?  No matter how strong and wide spread, power cannot murder its critics, it is unable to destroy them piece by piece without an accomplice.  Do not become the hands with which power destroyed and murdered others, for power has no mercy; power does not comprehend loyalty.

Mr. Prosecutor, perhaps you should learn a lesson from the fate of the likes of Saeed Mortazavi.* You never know, the day may also come when your superior ends up biting you.**

Translator’s Note:  *Saeed Mortazavi is a controversial Iranian jurist and former prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and Prosecutor General of Tehran, a position he has held from 2003 to 2009.He has been called as “butcher of the press” and “torturer of Tehran” and was held responsible for the crimes that occurred at Kahrizak prison after the controversial 2009 elections.

** Reference is made here to an incident on May 2004 in a meeting of the council that monitors the Iranian press, when Saharkhiz, who was representing the owners and editors of the press, confronted Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei, the hard-line cleric who was at that time the Prosecutor of the Special Court for the Clergy. Saharkhiz objected to Ejehei’s remarks and said they were an insult against himself and intellectuals. Ejehei responded by first throwing heavy objects at Saharkhiz, then biting him. The bite mark was glaringly visible when Saharkhiz showed it off to reporters. He took Ejehei to court over the incident, but the case was referred to the Special Court for the Clergy and the case never went to trial

Translated by Banooye Sabz

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