An Open letter From the Family of Anvar Hussein Panahi to Dr. Shaheed
Your Excellency, Dr. Ahmad Shaheed,
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations
Please accept the warm greetings of a Kurdish family who has endured much pain.
We are the family of the social activist Anvar Hussein Panahi who was sentenced to death four years ago for a crime he had not committed. Because of the pressure exerted and the support shown by the international human rights organizations and the European Union, the Appeals Court commuted Anvar’s death penalty and sentenced him to six years in prison.
Anvar Hussein Panahi is the oldest son in our family and has a wife and three children. His younger sister, Ashraf, was the second born child in our family. She had a job in Tehran and provided financial help to her elderly father. After Anvar was arrested and sentenced to death, Ashraf moved from Tehran to Sanandaj in order to help with her brother’s case and that of a cousin also condemned to death.
On September 27, 2008, while Ashraf was traveling towards Tehran and carrying documents that proved her older brother’s innocence, she was regrettably murdered by unknown individuals. Ashraf’s death was a heavy blow to two families since she was our only breadwinner. The effects of this blow increased many folds when Anvar was sentenced to death.
Meanwhile, intelligence agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran detained Anvar’s eighteen year old brother last year because he was following up on Anvar’s case. Anvar’s eighteen year old brother was tortured in order to extract a televised confession from him. The extent of this physical torture was such that it resulted in damage to and ultimately blinding one of his eyes.
All these events have been occurring while Anvar’s seventy year old father, mother and sisters have been summoned to the Intelligence Agency and threatened multiple times.
Your Excellency, we would like to ask you, “Where in the whole world is an individual arrested for the crimes committed by others?” Our entire family has been targeted by the regime because a few individuals including two family members living abroad are politically active against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Is it possible to prosecute and punish the rest of the family?
Our family especially Anvar Hussein Panahi is under very difficult conditions right now. Anvar is a well-known Kurdish political and social activist behind bars in Sanandaj Central Prison. He suffers from kidney infection and bleeding and has been transferred to the prison clinic multiple times. Although the physician in charge of this clinic has strongly advised to hospitalize Anvar outside the prison, the officials refuse to do so.
Anvar Hussein Panahi suffered from broken ribs when he was incarcerated in the Intelligence Agency’s detention center in the city of Qorveh, Kurdistan Province. Since then, he has been suffering for three years from kidney and intestinal infections that are continuously ignored by prison officials. Furthermore, the Intelligence Agency has recently begun new proceedings against Anvar and is about to frame and charge him with new crimes.
Under such circumstances, we reach out to you for justice with the hopes that you hear our innocent cries because we believe that you have the power to carry our message to the United Nations. Let the innocent cry of our family deprived of any momentarily peace and tranquility during the last few years be heard by the whole world.