Friday, November 2, 2012

Waiting to die on the scaffold on a Tuesday for eight years!

Gohardasht Prison of Karaj City
“On this day that I am writing this report, the statistics of those who have been sentenced to death is a total of 1117 prisoners among which 734 people have been convicted to retaliation and the rest, that is some 383 others are waiting for their execution for other crimes including 14 political prisoners with allegations concerning political and security issues. About 1000 prisoners have been convicted to life or over 20 years imprisonment, many of them previously having been convicted to execution and experienced psychological torture of being under death sentence before disaffirmation.”       
This was part of the (translated into English) terrific report by Mehdi Mahmoudian from Rajaei Shahr prison of Karaj, published in the Kalemeh website which is close to Mirhosein Mousavi. He was once arrested and tried for disclosure of Kahrizak prison disasters and other allegations like gathering and collusion against the regime and convicted to imprisonment for 5 years.  

The following is Mahmoudian’s complete report (translated into English):
“After 16 years, he was able to fold a child in his arms and fondle. After years of struggling with his heart diesis, he was hospitalized for open heart operation. I went to his cell to pay him a visit. I expected him to speak of his hard surgery or his 30 days of torment, having been hospitalized with manacle and anklet. But, with an indescribable joy, he spoke of his wonderful experience of folding a child in his arms and seeing a car with his own eyes; and he said, sadly: “thank God, I saw a tree in front of me before death.”
Another prisoner, whom I met, was waiting to be called for his execution on every Tuesday of each week for more than 8 years. He dreamed several years ago that he will be hanged on a Tuesday, and although it is now more than 7 years passing of enforcement of his decree, he has lived all these 7 years long of execution nightmare for his every single day of Tuesdays. After 3 years of imprisonment in Iraq and Jordan, he was handed to Iran by the UN on July 31, 1999  and was then convicted to death punishment for airplane hijacking.        
A 60 years old man, another sentenced to death prisoner, was sent to the solitary confinement for the first time for execution in 2003; but it was postponed until now-nearly for 9 years- for unknown reasons.  
Hanging has always been one of disputable issues of human rights. More than 160 countries of the world have annulled the death punishment in their legal system. Nevertheless, Iran and 41 other countries still use death sentence in their laws and unfortunately Iran, considering its population ratio, outpaces by far other countries, occupying first ranking order in the world.    
What is highly sensitive above all is non- abiding by an equitable law of criminal procedure for the accused who are convicted to death sentence; especially those who are convicted to death for political, security, drug trafficking, etc., crimes, mostly deprived of accessing to private attorneys, freedom of defense, studying the case before trial and equitable courts. In cases concerning to retaliation, the plaintiff and the accused influence is highly effective in the speed and enforcement of the decree.    

This is Rajaei Shahr Prison!
Although it is made for less than1000 people, there are more than 5000 prisoners. This is an unbelievable truth. More than 1100 of them are sentenced to death penalty.
Today, 23rd of October, that I’m writing this report, the number of persons in the death row is 1117, among them 734 are sentenced to nemesis, and the rest, 383 people, are sentenced to be executed, and 14 persons of them are sentenced for political and security accusations. About 1000 of the prisoners are convicted to more than 20 years or whole life imprisonment. Many of them were previously sentenced to the death penalty suffering the pain and torture of being in the death row.
I leave to the experts to debate on human right and the positive and negative impacts of execution, and reduction or increasing the crime in the society. But, the more painful and inhumane aspect of the death penalty is waiting for years to be executed.
About those who are convicted to nemesis, another issue is also added to these painful moments. Some of them committed a murder caused by a personal clash or in a moment of anger; they are waiting for death for long years and sometimes are called to be executed; they must spend the last moments in solitary confinement until be taken to gallows, but it becomes temporarily cancelled without any reason, and return back to their cells.
This may repeat 2, 3, 4, or even 10 times. One of them, who we were following his case to cancel his conviction, told me in a phone call that: “Please leave me to be executed, I’ve committed to the murder one time, but 13 times was taken under the corded. This is the obvious case of torturing”.
Based on a formal statistics released by judiciary, the average waiting period for execution is 5 years; in other word, each convicted person averagely suffers from 5 years torturing before execution; even though, the real waiting time is more than 5 years for many of them.
All the jails have a committee to resolve the differences to obtain the consent of plaintiff family, but this office has been closed from 1 year ago by the head of prison.

This is Rajaei Shahr prison!
More than 1100 prisoner are waiting to be hanged, 1100 people spend their nights and days with the nightmare of death. Their wish is small; they want to see the tree before death. 

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