Guilty of your innocence!


Tonia Kaboudvand’s letter to her imprisoned father, Mohammad Sadegh Kaboudvand.

My dear father, today we enter the third year in which you were taken from us and we are still eagerly waiting for your return.

Father, you are not an Iranian, you are not a citizen of Iran! If you were, the president of Iran would have made an effort to get you released. I don’t know but it may have been better if you were an American Citizen, because then you would have been freed on “charges of espionage”.

But you are a citizen of a country where a citizen’s rights is an idle concept, which exists. You are a Kurd; a second-class citizen in Iran and your ‘crime’ is defending human rights and equality of all human beings. For this ‘crime’ you have been given the maximum prison term in Iran. You have even been stripped of your rights as a prisoner. You may have forgotten that, in Iran, talking of human rights is an unforgivable crime. The same crime which one of the presidential candidates found himself accused of.

The truth is; you are a Kurd like all other Kurds, whom are treated as strangers in their own land. You are nothing more than an alien. Your crime is to be born into the Kurdish nation. If you were not a Kurd, you would not have been incarcerated for 11 years, like so many other non-Kurdish human rights activist who are not in prison because they are simply not Kurdish.

You are condemned to prison like all other Kurds; you are guilty of your innocence! Like your people in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world.

Even if you did nothing, you would still be condemned because of your Kurdish identity.

Today is the third year you were jailed for being innocent. But today you are only one of the thousands currently in prison! Maybe they can be silent in the face of the ill treatment of the Kurds, they may be able to ignore us Kurds and our rights! Maybe they can see themselves detached from us and invent boundaries between them and us. But I cannot only be a passive observer regardless of whether I am Kurdish or not! Everyone can see what is happening, those who kept silent 3 years ago when you were sentenced are themselves agonising in prison now. You are the one not after power, but only demanding the return of the people’s rights; and not ethnic rights but human rights.

Three years has passed and this year’s10th of Tir (1st of July), not only reminded me of your heartbreaking arrest but I mourned the people of this land.

Father, not only myself, but thousands of people from different organisations, and millions of Kurds thought like me, and for the first and last, went to the polling stations to bring about change. The government had written ‘selection’, we read ‘election’! We were wrong and for this mistake we were described as thugs and hooligans.

We were, in their eyes, the patriotic electorate yesterday, and today we have become a bunch of ‘reactionaries’ and plotters against ‘national security’, and to show their appreciation for our participation, the forces trained in Lebanon and abroad welcomed us with batons and teargas.

The government claims Iran is a law-abiding country and acts within the law! The same law that states citizens have the right to hold peaceful gatherings and marches, but because the government disagrees with the people, the people inevitably are labelled as being manipulated and the agents of foreign powers, and therefore, the protesters are not entitled to that right. The right to have freedom of press and thought does not extend to the protesters! Only the preachers have those exclusive rights.

They claim freedom is absolute in Iran! Thousands are put in prison and the activities of legal parties and groups are banned. Civil society activists, politicians, human rights activists, journalists and reporters, and artists are imprisoned. Some citizens lose their life because of the plots perpetrated by the so-called outsiders. Students and lecturers get imprisoned! The newspapers are censored! Websites are filtered! The ways of communication are blocked! The national media becomes private!

And our right become wrong!

July 4th, 2009

Translated by: HROK committee