In his open letter to President Hassan Rouhani and the heads of the Iranian security services, Iranian scholar and dissident Mohammad Maleki explains how the government has pressured both him and his family as punishment for his dissent. After describing demands the intelligence ministry made of his son Abouzar and the suffering Abouzar has been subjected to, Maleki asks President Rouhani: “Why won’t you leave the families alone?”
Mohammad Maleki, born in 1933 in Tehran’s Shemiran district, served as the first president of the post-revolutionary University of Tehran. He has been jailed as a political prisoner under both the pre-revolutionary monarchy and the Islamic Republic. After criticizing the closure of Iran’s universities [as part of the “Cultural Revolution”], he was arrested without charge in July 1981 and spent five years in prison under harsh conditions. After his release, Maleki requested and was granted his retirement. Although he has written numerous Books and Manuals and articles, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has blocked many from publication.
Maleki was arrested again alongside members of Iran’s Nationalist-Religious opposition group in March 2001. After Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential elections, he was jailed for defending the Green Movement and detained for 191 days before being released on bail.
Mohammad Maleki to Hassan Rouhani: "Why Won’t You Leave the Families Alone?"
I have been resting at home for the past couple of days due to the cold weather and the aggravation of my illness. My son Abouzar contacted me at six o’clock today. He let me know that the interrogator had phoned him, asking him to accompany me to the Intelligence Ministry. I asked my son to call the interrogator – if he had his phone number – and inform him that I was not in any condition to visit him. Moreover, under no circumstances would I heed a summons issued over the phone. If he needs to see me, he should send me a written summons.
I fail to see any reason for contacting my son, for whom the authorities have caused numerous difficulties throughout these years, and subjecting him to pressure. They have confiscated Abouzar’s bachelor’s degree and have refused to return it because he is Mohammed Maleki’s son. Time and time again, they have summoned him to the Intelligence Ministry, pressured him, and asked questions that had nothing whatsoever to do with him. They have prevented him from taking part in university examinations and have refused to leave his spouse and private life in peace. They have brought various hardships down on him, and only because he is Mohammed Maleki’s son.
At [Shahid Beheshti] University and in the presence of academics today, Mr. Rouhani asked: “Why are the universities quiet and the professors silent?”
Mr. President, throughout all these years, in the face of the authorities’ violent and inimical actions that have led to backbreaking sanctions against our people, I have never been silent.
Mr. President, I was never silent in the wake of the violations of human rights in my country and the jailing of political activists and prisoners of conscience. I protested.
Mr. President, I was never silent in the midst of the unrestricted waves of executions and the propagation of violence in the society. I protested.
Mr. President, I am an academic. I was never silent throughout these years, and this is the fate [governmental authorities] have created for my family and me.
Mr. President, only a few hours after your speech, the Intelligence Ministry contacted my son and me in order to coerce us into silence. All these years, I have said time and time again that I will never be silent, that they can sentence me to their choice of punishment. Do you still expect the academics to break their silence?
I have thus far endured the abuses and harms to which my family and I were subjected without openly discussing them. But now my patience has expired. I ask the government: What did my family do wrong? Why are they dragged into this, if your problem is with me? Why do you persecute Abouzar so much? Why did you ban me from leaving the country, preventing me from visiting my children? Why do you threaten my child, Omar, so he cannot return to his country and visit his mother and father?
Many families from political backgrounds deal with and suffer from similar issues. Gentlemen, please stop this! Fear God, and glean lessons from the fate of others.
If this persecution persists, I will take my complaints directly to international human rights organizations and to the United Nations Special Rapporteur.
Original text: Rooz Online