>A Surprising First Encounter With A Political Prisoner After Seven Years Of Incarceration Without Furlough- By Jila Baniyaghoub

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Thursday June 16t, 2011 – The following is the heartbreaking account of internationally renowned journalist and women rights activist Jila Baniyaghoub’s* first encounter with Hamid Reza Mohammadi** [known as Maha] three days after he was finally granted a one week furlough from prison, after serving 7 years of his 11 1/2 year sentence at Evin prison.
He speaks quickly, as if he is more flabbergasted than happy. He is articulate, though at times it seemed as though he is having a hard time concentrating. 
He is speaking and for the first time while visiting a prisoner just released from prison (a prisoner granted furlough), you don’t sense that familiar feeling. You’re not sure why your heart keeps beating. You’re not sure how to describe your feelings. What words should you use? Can you transfer your emotions through the skipping of your heart? The only thing you know for sure is that you are going through one of the most mind boggling experiences with a prisoner who has just been granted temporary furlough from prison.
He continues to speak and your heart aches incessantly, skipping a beat. There is a lump in your throat as you try very hard not to cry. You try hard to spare him your anguish. 
After seven years behind bars, he has finally been granted furlough. Why then until yesterday did you not comprehend what it is like to behind bars for seven years? Until yesterday you had not understood that every legal framework across the globe, including Iran’s penal code views furlough as one of the fundamental rights of prisoners; a right that has never been excluded for political prisoners. 
You have to see Mahan* [Hamid Reza Mohammadi’s nick name] in person to understand. You have to hear him explain how he has forgotten to connect with people. You have to hear him explain first hand that after seven years behind bars, he no longer has the ability to adapt to the outside world.
Mahan says that he is so used to being in a confined space, surrounded by the high walls at Evin that he cannot fathom the idea of freedom.
Mahan explains that though he has been home for only three days, he finds himself taking repeated showers and using the bathroom more than usual. He describes the utter joy of taking a shower and going to the bathroom without having to wait in line.
He continues to speak a mile a minute as though trying to convey seven years of memories in a few hours. You tell him he should go on a trip – that it is necessary after all these years…

He looks at you perplexed….

His mother sighs and says “A trip? He sat in the car for 15 minutes yesterday and became nauseous. While in the car, he was holding his head firmly between his hands, explaining that the ground beneath his feet felt as though it was parting. He could not tolerate being in a moving car. He asked us to stop the car so he could get out.”
You glance at the friends sitting around you. Everyone is perplexed; everyone is terrified; everyone feels strange; their eyes teary; the lump in their throats about to break into sobs…
In the three days since he was granted furlough, Mahan has been so excited he can barely sleep. He falls asleep for a few minutes only to wake up, assuming it is time for the prison guards to take a head count of the prisoners.
He tells his mother: “Just take me somewhere where I can walk for 150 meters without seeing a wall. That is all I ask… “
You recall reading in the diary of a political prisoner from the 80’s that even in that era they had allowed prisoners to picnic in Evin’s vast garden, and yet for years Mahan had no other dream but to stroll in a 150 meter space – presumably this desire is also strong amongst other prisoners at Evin.
Mahan continues to speak and you begin thinking of Ahmad Zeidabadi… Mahan continues to speak and your thoughts wonder off to Masoud Bastani… Mahan continues to speak and you think of Bahareh Hedayat and Nasrin Sotoudeh… Mahan continues to speak and you think of Bahman! What if they too are unable to tolerate fresh air when they are finally released from prison? The thought makes you shiver with fear…. 
Mahan is going to be on furlough from prison for another week. Before he is able to acclimate to his new environment, he will be forced to go back to prison. You keep asking yourself why they deny prisoners furlough?
If only, regardless of the charges against a prisoner, regardless of whether they are political prisoners are ordinary prisoners, their basic rights under the law, rights such as furlough from prison would be upheld… if only….if only…

Jila Baniyagoub

June 16th, 2011
* Translator’s Note: Jila Baniyaghoub is an internationally renowned Iranian journalist and women rights activist. She is Editor in Chief of Kanoon Zanan Irani and won the 2009 IWMF (International Women’s Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award for fearlessly reporting on government and social oppression, particularly as they affect women in Iran. Baniyaghoub is married to journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, arrested in the aftermath of the 2009 rigged presidential elections, currently serving a 5 year sentence at Evin prison.
** Hamid Reza Mohammadi [known as Mahan] was arrested on March 17, 2005 at his home in Tehran. He was accused of association with the monarchist group Anjoman Padeshahi Iran. This is the first time he has been granted furlough from prison since his arrest and incarceration.
 

Source: Jila Baniyaghoub’s Blog: http://www.zhila.net/spip.php?article360

شگفت انگیزترین دیدار با یک زندانی سیاسی/ هفت سال زندان بدون مرخصی
پنج شنبه 16 ژوئن 2011

تند و تند حرف می زند، انگار بیشتر از آنکه خوشحال باشد، مبهوت است، خوب حرف می زند اما گاهی تمرکزش را از دست می دهد.
او حرف می زند و نخستین بار است که تو در دیدار با یک زندانی تازه آزاد شده(یا به مرخصی آمده)احساس همیشگی را نداری.نمی دانی چرا قلبت بارها می ریزد، اصلا نمی دانی احساس ات را چگونه توصیف کنی؟با کدام واژه؟ریختن قلب می تواند احساس ات را منتقل کند؟فقط می دانی این شگفت انگیزترین ملاقات ات با یک زندانی تازه ازاد شده است.

او حرف می زند و تو قلب ات بارها فشرده می شود، فرو می ریزد، بغض می کنی، سعی می کنی جلو اشکهایت را بگیری…سعی می کنی او نفهمد که تو دقیقا چه حسی داری.

بعد از هفت سال به مرخصی آمده است، هفت سال!چرا تا همین دیروز نمی دانستی هفت سال پشت دیوارهای زندان بودن یعنی چه؟ تا دیروز نفهمیده بودی چرا همه نظام های حقوقی دنیا و حتی قوانین ایران مرخصی را از حقوق اولیه زندانی دانسته و در این مورد زندانی سیاسی هرگز مستثنی نشده است.

حتما باید ماهان * را می دیدی تا بفهمی؟از او بشنوی که به تو می گوید یادم رفته چطور باید با مردم ارتباط برقرار کنم؟بشنوی که به تو می گوید بعد از هفت سال قدرت تطبیق با محیط آزاد را ندارم.

ماهان می گوید که آنقدر در یک فضای محدود و دیوارهای بلند اوین بوده است که قدرت انطباق با آزادی عمل را از دست داده است.

ماهان به تو می گوید :سه روز است که به خانه آمده و در این سه روز بارها و بارها به حمام رفته و دوش گرفته و بیش از حد به دست شویی رفته.می گوید:چقدر لذت بخش است بدون نوبت به حمام و دستشویی رفتن…

ماهان تند و تند حرف می زند، انگار همه ی هفت سال را می خواهد توی چند ساعت برایت بگوید.تو به او می گویی برو مسافرت!لازم است برایت بعد از این همه سال…

ماهان با حیرت نگاهت می کند.

و مادرش با آهی می گوید :مسافرت؟!دیروز پانزده دقیقه سوار ماشین شده و حالش به هم خورده است…
توی ماشین محکم سرش را میان دستهایش گرفته و به خانواده اش گفته :انگار زیر پایش خالی می شود، به خانواده اش گفته ماشین را نگه دارید، پیاده ام کنید، تحملش را ندارم!

به دوستانت نگاه می کنی که در اطرافت نشسته اند و همه مبهوت اند…همه وحشت زده اند، همه احساس غریبی دارند، چشم ها بارها تر می شود ، بغض ها بارها می شکند…

ماهان در این سه روز که به مرخصی آمده، از هیجان زیاد اصلا نتوانسته بخوابد و هر بار هم چند دقیقه خوابش برده، با احساس اینکه زمان آمارگیری(شمارش زندانی ها)زندان است از خواب پریده است…

ماهان به مادرش می گوید :فقط من را به جاهایی ببرید که بتوانم 150 متر قدم بزنم بدون اینکه به یک دیوار برخورد کنم.همین!

تو یادت می اید که در کتاب خاطرات یک زندانی ده شصت خوانده ای که حتی در آن سالها چند بار به زندانی ها اجازه داده بودند در باغ بزرگ اوین به پیک نیک بروندو حالا سالهاست که ماهان ارزوی گردش در یک فضای 150 متری را داشته و لابد بقیه زندانی ها هم همین طور.

ماهان حرف می زند و تو به احمد زیدآبادی فکر می کنی، ماهان حرف می زند و تو به مسعود باستانی فکر می کنی، ماهان حرف می زند و تو به بهاره هدایت فکر می کنی و نسرین ستوده، ماهان باز هم حرف می زند و تو به بهمن فکر می کنی، نکند! نکند آنها وقتی از زندان بیایند، مثل ماهان تحمل هوای آزد را نداشته باشند، آن هم نسبتا ازاد!وحشت می کنی…

ماهان یک هفته دیگر در مرخصی می ماند و قبل از اینکه خودش را با شرایط تازه تطبیق بدهد باید به زندان بازگردد و تو از خودت می پرسی چرا زندانی را از مرخصی محروم می کنند؟
ای کاش! مسوولان سوای از اتهام یک زندانی، چه سیاسی چه عادی، حقوق اولیه تصریح شده در قانون از جمله مرخصی را به او بدهند.
* حمیدرضا محمدی معروف به ماهان

About banooyesabz

Translator for Iran's Green Movement View all posts by banooyesabz

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