In the interest of not duplicating efforts, we’d like to point you to the new site, Freetheblogfather.com, which offers a wealth of information and collected news articles about Hoder’s situation.
We will continue to post here occasionally, for the sake of our existing readers.
Source of the interview originally in Persian:
, translator wishes to remain anonymous
September 21, 2010
Due to the reports of the website Kamtarin about the trial of the famous Iranian blogger and Journalist Hossein Derakhshan, his case has once again become a much discussed issue. Salman, a writer with the website Kamtarin, conducted an interview with Ozra Kiarashpour, the mother of Hossein Derakhshan about her son’s situation:
Hello Ms. Derakhshan, thank you for agreeing to the interview with us
Hello, I really don’t know what will help Hossein and what will harm him, and the only thing I can do is to pray for him. These days I am really bewildered and so is Hossein’s poor dad.
How is Hossein doing psychologically these days?
He is extremely overwhelmed and listless. He seems really depressed. He is really tired of being in limbo, being in jail, and being alone for two years. He says he spends most of the day sleeping. He recently requested to at least be transferred to the general ward but instead they agreed to move him to a different and better room, and potted a rose plant for him.
Are you able to visit Hossein?
For over a year we’ve had routine visitation with him once a week, but during the first eight months of his detention we had no visitation and didn’t know where he was.
How do the prison authorities behave during your visitation?
It depends on who is there on any particular day but the majority of time they are respectful.
There are still some who doubt that Hossein is in Prison and there were even some who were saying that Hossein is staying at a villa in Zafaraniya [a wealthy area of Tehran] where he is helping the government. Don’t you think the reason for these rumors is linked to the fact that you haven’t really dealt with the media?
I pray that those people never have to endure the pain that we are going through. During the early months of Hossein’s detention we were very confused, didn’t know what was going on, and didn’t know what we should do. On the one hand, Hossein had requested that we not speak to foreign media. And the domestic media wasn’t interested in us. Even with all of this, Hossein’s father and I wrote a letter to the Head of the Judiciary that was published in a number of places. And once the air cleared a bit, my daughter set up a blog to provide information about Hossein’s situation. These two years have been very difficult for us. Hossein’s father had several cardiac episodes. At the time when they told Hossein that his father had had a heart attack, he wasn’t allowed to use the phone. My child cried so much and blamed himself so much, which was even more painful for Hossein’s father and I. But we didn’t even tell Hossein that his father was upset because half of what upset Hossein in prison has to do with us.
You wrote a post for the blog that you said was called “Justice for Hossein Derakhshan,” are you familiar with blogging and with computers?
Since my children are often travelling abroad, I have to use the internet as a means of communication. Could it be possible that I know nothing about blogging? The truth is that Hossein used to talk our heads off about blogging. All that we are suffering unfortunately started with Hossein’s blogging.
Had Hossein come to Iran by invitation of the government?
Hossein had had some conversations with Press TV about working in their Tehran office. Even during the days before his arrest, he would sometimes go to their office since we didn’t have high speed internet at home. Before his return to Iran, the High Council of Iranian Affairs Abroad promised Hossein that his trip would be without problem. He had cleared his trip with this Council which is governmental and which is in contact with the Intelligence service. That’s why even though Hossein knew that they would call him to be questioned, he did not expect to be arrested like this and hadn’t told us what to do in case he was arrested. A representative from the Council told us that they pursued his case on behalf of the Council but that unfortunately they couldn’t do anything further. Why are there such splits in the country’s security apparatus?
Is Hossein accused of espionage?
Absolutely not, I don’t know how these people who constantly accuse Hossein of these things can live with their own conscience. If Hossein is a spy and had a security project, then why hasn’t the documentation for this turned up anywhere? And why wasn’t espionage part of Hossein’s charges?
What do you think the Judge’s ruling will be?
We can’t do anything about the judge’s ruling except to pray since other than God no one knows what the future will bring. The prosecutor has asked for the severest sentence possible to punish Hossein and to make an example of him. As Hossein’s mother, and not as someone whose family has sacrificed much for the sake of the Revolution, I want to ask why are they making an example of Hossein rather than making a role model of him? He is someone who repented and returned to serve his country and is ready to criticize his past thoughts and actions. Are you making an example to prove to people that repenting is useless? To show that supporting the ruling system will have this outcome? All these years, this family has been a steadfast supporter of this ruling system, and Hossein is one of us. It is not fair that you should punish him so severely for honestly conveying his life experiences over these years.
If Hossein is freed, will he leave Iran?
Hossein had grown really tired of living abroad and even now to make us feel better he says, I may have been in prison these past two years in Iran but before that I was in prison abroad.
Thank you for the interview, we hope that Hossein’s situation is resolved soon.
Source of the interview originally in Persian:
Thanks to Jillian, I can also post on this blog now.
I have never had a blog and have never thought about having one, but I decided to join Jillian and the rest of our friends to update this blog and make it a reliable source for news about my brother, Hossein. As you all know Hossein has been detained for over 500 days. He has still had no trial and no official charges.
As you might have heard, my mother wrote a letter to Ayatollah Larijani, head of Iran’s Judiciary, asking for Hossein’s release. I’m posting the original Persian text here:
حضرت آيتالله آملي لاريجاني
با سلام واحترام
من، مادر حسين درخشان، به حضور شما عرض كوتاهي دارم. دومين عيد دربند بودن حسين ما در حالي رقم ميخورد كه هنوز از شرح اتهامات او بياطلاعيم، نميدانيم قرار است در چه تاريخي و در كجا پرونده او به كدام دادگاه تقديم شود و تا كي قرار است دامنه وعدههاي مكرر مسوولان قضايي در محيط صبر و حوصله ما وسعت بگيرد.
من از بيتوجهيهاي مكرر دستگاه تحتالامر شما به قاضيالحاجات شكايت ميبرم. دعا ميكنم هيچگاه خانوادهاي، حتي خانواده مسوولاني كه اينقدر در مشخصشدن تكليف مردم اهمال ميكنند و تقصير دارند، هرگز اينچنين به بيپناهي ما دچار نشوند.
8ماه است در تمام رسانهها اعلام ميكنيد كساني را كه قصد براندازي نظام را داشتهاند دستگير كردهايد. شب عيد كه ميشود، همه آنهايي را كه عاملان اصلي فتنه ميخوانيد آزاد ميكنيد، اما حسين درخشان هنوز از نظر شما مستحق آزادي نيست! چرا؟ چون از كساني كه ميفرماييد براندازند جرمش سنگينتر بوده؟! چون به دامن وطن با پاي خودش بازگشته؟! چون از نظر دشمنان، حامي نظام و دولت اسلامي بوده؟! چرا؟
بيش از 500روز است حسين در زندان شماست. و ما بيرون زندان «هر روز» منتظرش بودهايم. چون شما هر روز به ما وعدهاي جديد دادهايد. اگر از خانواده ما حق آزادي فرزندمان را براي عيد دوم هم نداديد، قضاوتش با خدا و وعده ما به روز حساب. لااقل اين را بگوييد كه حسين و ما قرار است چند روز، چند ماه و يا احيانا چند سال ديگر در اين بلاتكليفي بمانيم؟ نظام اسلامي كه قرار است پناه شهروندان باشد، از عذابكشيدن يك خانواده منتظر چه سودي عايدش ميشود؟
I have not translated the letter fully yet, but you can read parts of it here :
It has been an extremely difficult period for our family. My parents have grown 10 years older in the past 1 and a half years. My father has been working on this case literally every single day he has got NOTHING yet. He feels weak and powerless. My mother has been crying all the time and waiting for good news every single day. This is not only torturing Hossein, but torturing a whole family. I do not know how this kind of treatment can be justified. Having someone detained for over 500 days and denying his basic human rights and torturing his family can not be justified.
I’d also like to thank all of you for your support. It means a lot to us to know that there are people in this world who care about Hossein and his human rights. It is extremely heart warming to know that we are not alone in this road. There are people whom we do not know , but are supporting us. Thank you.
Today is Hossein Derakhshan’s 35th birthday. Today also marks one year, two months, and six days since his imprisonment. He has been illegally detained since November 2008. During his confinement he has been tortured, both physically, and psychologically. He has never been charged, or brought before a court.
Today, on his birthday, let’s honor him publicly. Tweet. Blog. Speak out. Call your elected representatives.
There is a petition for Hoder’s release circulating: http://www.gopetition.com/online/31859.html.
Please sign the petition, and visit the Iran Information Project for more info.
Notable press on Hoder’s case this week:
- The Committee to Protect Bloggers has just done an interview with Hoder’s brother Hamed, here.
- Iranian-American journalist Cyrus Farivar has written an excellent report, with audio, for MediaShift.
- PRI’s The World has a podcast up.
We urge you to continue spreading the word – by blogging, contacting journalists, and tweeting (follow @freehoder for updates). We also urge you to contact organizations that might have influence, particularly in Canada. If you are Canadian, please contact your representatives.
(28 October 2009) The Iranian Judiciary should release Hossein Derakhshan, a blogger who has been in detention without trial for the past year, as well as dozens of other political detainees held without trial, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
“Derakhshan’s case is typical of the lack of justice and due process in Iran’s Judiciary. How can the authorities justify holding him for a year without even charging him or putting him on trial? He is another victim of the intelligence apparatus’ manipulation of the judicial process,” said Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
In addition to Derakhshan, dozens of Iranian journalists, intellectuals, and activists are also held without charge and with no respect for due process principles and judicial transparency. They include, inter alia, Keyvan Samimi, Bahman Ahmadi Amoie, Abdollah Momeni, Mohammad Maleki, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Hangameh Shahid, Mohammad Ghoochani, Saeed Leylaz, Azar Mansouri, Shapour Kazemi, Issa Saharkhiz, Mohammad Reza Moghiseh, Fariba Pezhuh, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Behzad Nabavi, Mohsen Mirdamadi, Feyzollah Arabsorkhi, and Mohsen Aminzadeh.
According to information received by the Campaign, Derakhshan, detained at his home on 1 November 2008, spent nearly ten months in solitary confinement during which he was subjected to beatings to coerce him to make false confessions of having ties to the CIA and Israeli intelligence services. A relative of Derakhshan told the Campaign that he recanted his coerced confession in the presence of a judge and his lawyer, but the authorities continue to detain him without providing any information to his family regarding the judicial case against him. Derakhshan is currently being held in Tehran’s Evin prison.
The judge in his case has been changed twice, but currently it is not clear what branch of the Revolutionary Courts is in charge. Furthermore, the authorities have not provided his family with any information about the charges against him. His family has been able to visit him only twice during the past year.
The Campaign expressed its serious concern for the health and safety of Derakhshan and all other detainees who remain in jail without access to their families and lawyers. The Campaign urged the Judiciary not to allow its duties to be subjugated to the demands of intelligence agencies, which are manipulating the Judiciary and holding detainees without proper judicial proceedings.
Ethan Zuckerman urges readers of his blog to continue talking and blogging about Hoder, not because it will have an impact on Iranian authorities, rather, for the purpose of lobbying the Canadian government to take a stronger stance.
Do you have suggestions for Canadian NGOs to lobby? Share them here and we will post them.
Following the arrest and subsequent release of Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi, we are surprised that Hoder’s case has received little media attention. In fact, mentions of Hossein Derakhshan during Saberi’s trial were limited to brief updates such as the following: “Ahmadinejad also urged the chief Tehran prosecutor to allow jailed Canadian-Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan the right to fully defend himself.”
We again call on Iran for transparency in the case of Hossein Derakhshan and plead with the Canadian government to defend one of their citizens.
In the midst of continued attacks upon Gaza, Iran has finally confirmed the arrest of Hossein Derakhshan.
From the Associated Press via the International Herald Tribune:
Iran confirmed on Tuesday that a well-known Iranian-Canadian blogger, who had made trips to Israel, was in detention.
Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters that Hossein Derakhshan was detained under order from the revolutionary court.
Derakshan, described as the “father” of Iran’s vigorous blogging scene, had been rumored to be in prison for the last two months according to international human rights groups, before Tuesday’s confirmation.
He was detained in November, few weeks after he returned to Iran.
Jamshidi says Derakhshan was charged with insulting religious figures. He did not elaborate.
“His case is in a preliminary investigative stage at a revolutionary court and he is currently in incarceration in a jail in Tehran,” judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference when asked about Derakhshan’s case.
57 Shahid Sarafraz Street
Ostad Motahari Avenue
Tehran, 15868, Iran
P.O. Box 11155-4647
Tehran, 15868, Iran
Tel.: 98 (21) 8152-0000
Fax: 98 (21) 8873-3200
We, the undersigned, view the circumstances surrounding the Iranian authorities’ arrest of Hossein Derakhshan aka Hoder, one of the most prominent Iranian bloggers, as extremely worrying. Derakhshan’s disappearance, detention at an unknown location, lack of access to his family and attorneys, and the authorities’ failure to provide clear information about his potential charges is a source of concern for us.
The Iranian blogging community is one of the largest and most vibrant in the world. From ordinary citizens to the President, a diverse and large number of Iranians are engaged in blogging. These bloggers encompass a wide spectrum of views and perspectives, and they play a vital role in open discussions of social, cultural and political affairs.
Unfortunately, in recent years, numerous websites and blogs have been routinely blocked by the authorities, and some bloggers have been harassed or detained. Derakhshan’s detention is but the latest episode in this ongoing saga and is being viewed as an attempt to silence and intimidate the blogging community as a whole.
Derakhshan’s own position regarding a number of prisoners of conscience in Iran has been a source of contention among the blogging community and has caused many to distance themselves from him. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that the freedom of expression is sacred for all not just the ones with whom we agree.
We therefore categorically condemn the circumstances surrounding Derakhshan’s arrest and detention and demand his immediate release.
Signed, in alphabetical order:
Hossein Bagher Zadeh
(View the original for links to the signatories’ blogs).
- Sign the Petition
- Interview with Hossein Derakhshan’s Mother
- Greetings and Thank you
- The Blogfather’s Birthday
- Petition for Release
- CPB Interviews Hamed Derakhshan, and other press
- One Year Later, Hoder is Still Behind Bars
- Hoder’s Arrest Confirmed by Iran
- Statement by Iranian Bloggers on Hossein Derakhshan
- Advocating for Hoder