I don’t know how Farzad Kamangar has survived his imprisonment and torture at the hands of Iranian authorities. However he has managed it, it’s clear to me that he has more than earned the admiration and support of people of conscience everywhere. Will you get involved?
Kamangar, 33, is s school teacher and a member of the Kurdish branch of the teachers union in Kamyaran. Before the union was outlawed he was in charge of public relations.
He was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on Feb. 25, 2008 after a trial which took place in secret and lasted only minutes. He was scheduled for hanging on November 26, but for reasons which have not been made public, he remains alive. He is, however, still under sentence of death.
Prior to his kangaroo court conviction, Kamangar was subjected to horrific torture. In a letter from prison, he describes the mistreatment that began with his arrest in July 2006. I’ll quote a few lines here, but you have to read his letter all the way through to appreciate fully his courage and the desperation of his situation.
Upon my arrival in Tehran I was arrested and taken to an unknown place, it was a very small, dark basement. The cells in this place were empty, there were no blankets or rugs or sheets.
They took me to a room and as they were interviewing me they asked me about my ethnicity. When I told them that I was of the Kurdish Ethnicity they lashed my entire body. They also lashed me because of the Kurdish music which I had saved on my mobile phone.
They would tie my hands, make me sit on a chair and put pressure on the sensitive areas of my body. They would also strip me naked and threaten me with rape by various objects such as wood.
My left leg was injured badly during this time. Also due to the beatings I received on my head as well as electric shock I would lose consciousness. I have lost control of my body and shake uncontrollably for no reason. They would chain my feet together and give me electric shocks on sensitive parts of my body which was extrmeley painful.
Later on I was transferred to Section 209 of the Evin Prison. From the moment I entered the Evin Prison they blindfolded me and took me to a small room where they beat me by punching and kicking me.
The next day I was taken to the city of Sanandaj. From the moment I entered the Sanandaj Prison I was insulted and beaten brutally. They tied me to a chair and left me there from 7 am until the next day, I was not even allowed to go to the washroom and I had no choice but to wet myself. After numerous beatings and torture sessions once again I was transferred to Section 209 of the Evin Prison. I was interrogated and tortured in one of the rooms on the first level of the prison . . .
That was just the first month. His letter describes months of solitary confinement, vicious beatings, hunger strikes, the arrest of his girl friend, the hassrassment of his family – a journey through hell that has left him physically crippled and psychologically damaged.
Join the campaign to save Farzad Kamangar
Whether or not his terrifying journey concludes at the end of a rope remains to be seen. Education International has mounted a campaign that is gaining momentum. If you haven’t yet done so, please join this campaign by sending a message to Iranian President Ahmadinejad demanding justice for Farzad Kamanger.
While EI hasn’t asked for this, there may be some benefit in citizens asking their own governments to intervene on Kamanger’s behalf. For Canadians, this means writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Why not give it a try? He may not be prime minister very much longer, and likely he has other things on his mind (such as his own political survival), but it is still worth the effort.
If you are stuck for words, here are some you can use, or improve upon.
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I am writing to ask you to intervene on behalf of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian teacher who has been imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court for his beliefs. I ask you to support the campaigns of the Iranian Teachers’ Association and Education International to have his case re-examined through a fair trial that meets Iranian and international standards.
Mr. Kamangar was to have been executed on November 26, 2008. He remains alive, but Iranian authorities have not indicated what will happen next. He could be killed at any time. Therefore, your rapid intervention is essential.
While it is obvious that Mr. Karmangar is not a Canadian citizen, many Canadians are concerned about his fate. We would therefore appreciate it very much if you would use your considerable influence in supporting our campaign to save his life and restore his freedom.
Yours sincerely, etc.
Don’t stop there!
You might also try writing your MP. Here is a list of MPs and their coordinates.
But don’t stop there. If you are a teacher, get your teachers’ union involved. If you are a student, involve your students’ union. You get the idea.
An injury to one is an injury to all. There are more than enough of these to go around. But here is one where we might make a difference if we act now.