[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Rooz Online

[Date:] 28 Farvardin 1392 [17 April 2013]

 

The World of a Three-Year-Old Child; Evin [Prison] or Rajaei-Shahr [Prison] Meeting Room?

[By:] Fereshteh Ghazi

Artin is growing up on the way to Rajaei-Shahr [Prison] to meet his father and on the way to Evin [Prison] to meet his mother. He is only three years old. The whole world of his childhood has become a bus that takes him to Evin Prison on Tuesdays and to Rajaei-Shahr Prison on Wednesdays to see his mother and father for a few minutes.

Artin Rahimian, the three-year-old son of Faran Hesami and Kamran Rahimian, together with his cousin Jiena, the12-year-old daughter of Kayvan Rahimian, whose father is also imprisoned in Rajaei-Shahr Prison, are cared for by their elderly grandmother.

Faran Hesami’s family said, “Kayvan and Kamran’s mother lost her husband early in the revolution. Mr. Rahimian, the grandfather of Artin and Jiena, was tortured to death early in the revolution and their property confiscated. Mrs. Rahimian raised her children single-handed; now, since her son’s imprisonment, she takes care of their children, while she is an elderly lady herself and needs nursing care.

In an interview, Ara Hesami, a cousin of Faran Hesami, said, “When Kayvan Rahimian was imprisoned, the responsibility for his 12-year-old daughter Jiena fell on Kayvan’s mother, since Kayvan’s wife has died of cancer. Later, when they detained Kamran and then Faran [his wife], the responsibility for taking care of Artin, their three-year-old son, also fell on Mrs. Rahimian. The two children live with their grandmother.

Faran Hesami and Kamran and Kayvan Rahimian were professors in the Baha’i online university and have been charged with “assembly and collusion for the purpose of disruption of national security” and “membership in the Baha’i community”. Kayvan Rahimian was sentenced to five years in prison under taz’ir[1] law and Kamran Rahimian and Faran Hesami were each sentenced to four years in prison under taz’ir law.

Ara Hesami said, “They pursued a lot through the judicial authorities so that at least one of them could receive a suspended sentence for a while, meaning that Faran would be released to take care of the children, and during this time Kamran would endure his [prison] sentence; after he has finished his term, Faran would be detained, or vice-versa. But, unfortunately, it was not agreed. 

I asked her, “How is Artin’s situation now?” She said, “He has realized by now that his mother and father cannot go home with him. At every meeting, when he says goodbye to them, in his childlike speech, he says, ‘Goodbye, let’s see when we can see each other again.’”

“In reality, Artin is growing up on the way to Rajaei-Shahr Prison to meet his father and on the way to Evin Prison to meet his mother. His whole childhood world has become the prison meeting hall and the bus that takes him to Evin Prison on Tuesdays and to Rajaei-Shahr on Wednesdays to see his mother and father for a few minutes. Now how is this child’s mind formed? This guilt falls on the Islamic Republic.”

I asked how Faran and Kamran meet while each of them is in a separate prison. She said, “They have not seen each other for several months.  Earlier, after Faran was arrested in Tir [June/July] for the second time, they met each other once. After that, they have not had the right to meet each other because Kamran refuses to wear prison clothes for his visits. While she was trying to follow up on her husband’s case, on 26 Tir 1391 [16 July 2012], Faran Hesami was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison to serve her sentence. Previously, she had been released on bail.”

I asked, “Have they ever applied for leave? What has been the response?”

Mrs. Hesami said, “Kamran has applied for leave several times, but it has been refused. Faran, however, did not make such a request because she feared that Artin would suffer further harm. Anyway, Artin now understands that he can see his parents once a week, separately, and they cannot come home with him.”

But on what charges are Faran Hesami, Kamran and Kayvan Rahimian in prison? Ara Hesami explained, “Faran and Kamran completed their education in Canada. While they could have stayed in Canada or asked for a residence permit like many other Baha’is, they returned to Iran to serve their country. They did not [stay in Canada] and returned to Iran, and now their answer is imprisonment. They were professors at the Baha’i [Institute for Higher Education]. Faran has studied psychology and has published a book on the subject. All their activities were in the field of education and training.”

Earlier, in an interview with Rooz, Farhad Sabetan, a spokesman for the Baha’i community, said, “The reason for Mrs. Hesami and Mr. Rahimian’s detention was simply and unequivocally that they taught at the Baha’i Institute for [Higher] Education. At the same time, they had an institution that taught the language of life; that is, non-violent communication, in the field of peaceful settlement of people’s disputes and…”

[Farhad Sabetan] explained, “Kamran and Faran studied at the Baha’i Institute for [Higher] Education until [they obtained] their bachelor’s degrees and received their master’s degrees from a university in Canada. In other words, Canadian universities, [aware] that Baha’i citizens do not have the right to study in Iranian [universities], had accepted the unofficial degree of the Baha’i Institute for [Higher] Education; however, the Islamic Republic does not accept that and had told them that their degrees were not recognized. On the other hand, they told them that their Institution does not have a licence and is considered illegal, while their Institution had been sanctioned by law [did have a legal licence]. Unfortunately, when they want to deal [with Baha’is], they will also deny their legal licence. Some time ago, in Shiraz, when a group of young people went to help the orphans, they [government authorities] told them that they did not have a permit. They [authorities] even confronted and fired the police officer, who had said that they did have a licence.

Now, Ara Hesami tells Rooz, “The only thing that is certain is that the families of Rahimian, Kayvan and Kamran, Faran, Jiena, Artin and their grandmother are enduring many hardships. Family meetings with Faran, Kamran and Kayvan are very short. Faran’s family lives in Kerman and must travel from Kerman to Tehran to see her just for a few minutes behind the glass window. These two children also are growing up in this way. I really do not know what to say in the face of all the oppression that is being inflicted on them.

 

 

[1] [Ta’zir (discretionary punishment):  Punishment with maximum and minimum limits determined by law and judge, respectively.]