Sunday, February 26, 2012

Marzieh's father: She is innocent; they don't tell us why she's been arrested

Forty days has passed since the night Iranian journalist, Marzieh Rasouli, was arrested at her home. She's spent many days in a solitary cell in a ward controlled by the Revolutionary Guards at Evin prison; and despite all their efforts, her family is yet to know why she was arrested. In an interview with the reformist website, Kaleme, her father, Abolfazl Rasouli, says about the false promises of her daughter's 'immediate release', and the trepidations of her ailing mother.

Below comes the full text of the interview, translated to English from the original in Persian.

It's forty days now since your daughter was arrested? Have you followed her case with judicial authorities?
Everyday since the day she was arrested I've been to the prosecutors office at Evin; all to no avail, no one feels responsible to give answers. We've been to the Tehran Court of Justice too, with the request to visit Marzieh. We were but told to go to the Prosecutor's Deputy. And there they said the Deputy didn't deal with 'security' cases, but only the Prosecutor himslelf.

Did the judicial authorities inform you at any stage as to why Marzieh was arrested?
We don't have a clue why she's been arrested. Two weeks ago, following several attempts to see the judge in charge of the case, we were eventually able to meet him, but he refused to give any explanation about my daughter's charges. They've kept her for forty days without us knowing why. My wife has a heart condition. She still doesn't know Marzieh has been arrested. We've told her that she's had to go for a work-related trip. She keeps asking for her and we keep saying she'll be back any day now. Yet days go by and nothing happens.

Is it true that judicial authorities had talked about her immediate release?
Two weeks ago, someone called saying he was the interrogator. He said my daughter was about to be released. We followed that and asked the judge to help her be released in time to attend her brother's wedding ceremony; yet again, it wasn't to be. Also Marzieh said in one of her phone-calls that she had been told she'd be released.

Did you speak with judicial authorities about this promise?
We brought it up when meeting the judge in charge of the case. But he said he wasn't aware of any phone-call to that effect' and that the interrogator had never called us in this regard (Marzieh's release).

How was your daughter when you met her?
She was visibly weakened, both physically and mentally, by so many days in solitary confinement. And more so because of all the uncertainties surrounding her case. In the visiting-session, a person who seemed to be Marzieh's interrogator asked my if I knew that my daughter didn't observe Islamic ordinances and went to trips with her friends. He also said that her interrogation was nearing the end, and she was about to be released.
Any final word?
I have repeatedly pointed out that in her eleven years of work as a journalist, my daughter has never had any political activity . She's always worked in the area of arts and culture. She's innocent. I want her to be released as soon as possible.

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