My Father, An American Citizen, Has Spent 365 Days In Iran's Evin Prison

An empty cell inside the high security Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran, 10th February 1986.
An empty cell inside the high security Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran, 10th February 1986.

February 22, 2017 marked 365 days that my innocent 80-year-old Iranian-American father, Baquer Namazi has spent in Evin prison.

365 days.

…. the number of days my father has been unjustly imprisoned and held captive in Iran’s notorious Evin prison on absurd charges and allegations of “collaboration with hostile government of America.” The number of days his grandchildren have been deprived of their grandfather, his children of a father and most importantly, my mother from her loving husband…the number of days since I embraced my father…the number of days I never thought I would be putting on paper.

365 days of broken and false promises, retreat and mockery of justice, crushed hopes, indescribable cruelty, officials turning a blind eye to this injustice, and the unbearable pain of having half my family (my father and my brother Siamak Namazi who has been incarcerated since October 15, 2015) ripped away and held captive for reasons beyond human comprehension.

I still hope, every second of every day, that reason and justice will prevail

The number of days a great human being and a true humanitarian has been behind bars; someone who has dedicated his entire life and career to the cause of the poor and impoverished in the worst parts of the world …the number of days an entire world has been deprived of my father’s contributions to humanity and the number of days pursing humanitarian causes has been criminalized in Iran. Causes such as disaster relief for victims of deadly earthquakes that only helped the Iranian people.

365 days of pain remembering how my father’s captors lured him back (by cutting a brief trip from Iran short) on promises of seeing Siamak. My father, who spent three to four days a week prior to his arrest behind Evin prison pleading to see his son, Siamak, and who needed no luring back… and the number of days my father has ended up in the same prison as my brother without a single visit with his son so far.

365 days of seeing the darkness in humanity at levels one can never have thought possible… 365 days of learning painfully and helplessly of my father’s mental and physical deterioration… and what almost 500 days has done to my brother, Siamak, who like my father did nothing but try to be a responsible human being and to help the Iranian people.

365 days... most of them spent imagining the unimaginable... imagining also what it must be like for my 80 year old father and also my brother Siamak, being where they are… what it is like to have spent time in solitary... to be under relentless pressure of false accusations and constant interrogations... not allowed to see each other when they are only meters away... what it must be like to have their impeccable foundation, their profound beliefs, and their very being questioned to the core with these absurd charges and allegations... what it must be like to become pawns in a game I do not understand and nor suspect I ever will. The political games between Iran and the U.S.; the power game between... I am not even sure who the players are and what motivations they have. I have run out of speculations.

The days, hours and seconds pass torturously slowly for me... but time is running out quickly for my 80-year-old father who has been hospitalized twice since his arrest for reasons still unclear to me. I still hope, every second of every day, that reason and justice will prevail and my innocent father and brother will be released and returned home to their loved ones before it is too late.

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