Iran: Resistance Continues – Kianoosh Sanjari
Kristin Rødland Buick - Amnesty International, Norway
March 29, 2008
Kianoosh Sanjari under the rain ...
Kianoosh with his microphone in Norway, organizing a “Human Rights Protest” for the political prisoners of Iran.
Iran violently suppresses its opposition and critics, but there are those whose struggle is still aflame.
Rain water has accumulated in front of the Parliament in Eidsvolls plass. Kianoosh Sanjari is holding a microphone in his Norwegian gloved hands, while covering himself with an umbrella next to a bench.
Iranian Political Prisoners Association
IPPA (Iranian Political Prisoners Association)
Little after his arrival to Norway he managed to gather Iranians with different political tendencies in front of the Parliament. Leaders of these groups do not enjoy a favorable relation with each other. But 2008 began with a wave of executions and widespread arrests of students and this has been a factor to make the stand with each other on a common cause; to express defiance over the increase of suppression in Iran.
Ex Iranian Student Movement Leader and Present Political Activist
Sanjari: The Iranian authorities regard their autocracy as an Island separate from the rest of the International community.
Tehran, a day in 2006
He does not remember how long he had been sitting in this small cell of one to two meters in dimension. It could be weeks, months or perhaps even years.
As he remembers, there was no contact with the out side world in that cell. Neither his family nor his attorney. His prison guards continuously pressured him through lies about his mothers' health or arrest of his family members or even telling him his friends have been confessing against him. Although he did not believe them but the truth is that as time passed, those prison walls, lifted all distance between the truth and what the prison guards were creating.
Sanjari: At these times it is like as if there is continuous battle between the mind and the body. Being in total solitude in a prison cell is the worst torture one could face.
In Iran, "white torture" is used to keep prisoners in total solitude (in solitary confinement). This kind of torture of course leaves no trace of torture but crushes the prisoners will and control. The victim loses his personality and would practically confess to almost anything. This torture is used in prisons, which are more special, such as the notorious Evin 209 section in Tehran, against opposition activists and critic journalists.
Kianoosh Sanjari is 25, but till now he has managed to be a fierce defender of Human Rights. His combat has been in courts, solitary confinements, political protests, Newspapers and foreign media and now in his blog. Recently he has been spokesperson for a group of students believing in secularism.
He is persistently writing about arrest of political activists, inhuman situation of prisons and unjust court sessions in his blog. International Humanitarian organization in defense of Human Rights around the world and Iranians worldwide are following his situation.
Ali Saki, Iranian Political Refugee
Ali Saki a political refugee living in Norway says Kianoosh has been for years a crucial voice of the Iranian regime.
Saki: He is brave and his activities place him under constant danger. I had asked him once to stay at home and not participate in demonstrations in support of his imprisoned friends.
Sanjari has been arrested seven times during the past eight years. The first time of his arrest he was only 17. He spent 9 months in solitary confinement.
Sanjari: They did all they could to break me down. I was interrogated 24 hours around.
Where does all the money go?
The interrogation process changed a lot when rumors appeared of the US officials financing the Democracy movement in Iran. Interrogations took a new air; Sanjari was slapped under blindfolds to make him confess to having connections with US political figures. They asked him "where does the money go to? And who are the benefactors?"
After relations between Iran and the west darkened over the nuclear controversy, Iranian officials declared the Democracy movement to be part of the threat from the West. Movement activists were accused of having direct contact with for example US officials.
A researcher in Theology in Oslo University believes that the notion of the US financing the Democracy Movement has created an atmosphere of mistrust amongst the opposition. At the moment there is an International move to financially proscribe Iran. The embargo only paves way for the black forces.
Mrs. Kari Vogt, believes Iran is like other countries such as Saudi Arabia, and hangs as much, and uses the same kind of violent methods as the others, but is especially being criticized more by the West. She believes that the West should act like Amnesty International and condemn human right violations and stop all embargoes. But in the Democracy movement there are many who believe that putting pressure on the regime is absolutely necessary.
Sanjari: Effective economic sanctions can pressure the Iranian regime to stop its nuclear venture and end arrests of dissidents, torture political prisoners and hangings. When his interrogators discovered AIs' International campaign for his release, they slapped him more.
In March 2007, Kianoosh reached a conclusion that staying in Iran would be very dangerous for him. In January of that year he bailed out, while he was told not to interview foreign press and not to write about his court and torture during his captivity.
This time they have harassed and pressured his mother to force her son stop all activities in defense of Human Rights in Iran. Every arrest had brought a lot of pain for his mother who spent hours endeavoring to see his son.
The court had ordered Sanjari to write a negative article against a dissident cleric named Boroujerdi, or else face consequences. He had refused to accept this "order". A few days later he realized he was being watched and followed by a couple of Intelligence Ministry agents. He hid himself till dark. After saying farewell to his mother he started off towards the western boarder of Iran trying to get to Iraq. While camouflaging himself amongst a group of Kurdish laborers, he managed to pass the boarder into Iraqi territory. There in the new territory he took refuge with a dissident Kurdish group named "koumaleh", in the North of Iraq, not far from Soleimanieh.
Sanjari could not speak Kurdish, and his face would have given away his true identity. For this reason, once again, but this time in a dissident camp of Koumaleh, he was forced to bound himself to a little room. During this time he continues his revelations through his blog. Iranian outside and political activists followed up with his horrendous escape through his blogs.
His where-abouts was gradually discovered by the Iranian regime and conditions became dangerous. He then wrote a letter explaining the situation to Drewery Dyke, Iran desk of Amnesty International in London. Consequently Mr. Dyke writes a letter to the UNHCR explaining the threat of kianoosh’s kidnapping or death by the Iranian sent agents. Following this and after several painful months of waiting, Kianoosh receives his political status and is then transferred to Norway on 31 October.
January; A juvenile would soon be hanged.
18 January: A student dies mysteriously in detention.
26 January: Students are forced to confess under torture
31 January: 17 people are arrested because of their Bahai faith.
These are news he receives daily in his email from organizations, activists outside Iran, and also the media.
Witnessing daily arrests of activists including his friends, it is very difficult for M. Kianoosh Sanjari, to continue his combat for Democracy from Norway.
Kianoosh Sanjari, his lap top and his IPPA Blog
… Resistance Continues…
Sanjari: But I am happy to see that the movement is alive. Our struggle for Human rights is not bound to one person; it is a popular movement with new recruits each day.
Kianoosh Sanjari Sites
IPPA (Iranian Political Prisoners Association)