Mohammad Nazari was born in Shahin Dezh in Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province in 1971. On May 30, 1994, he was arrested by Revolutionary Guards forces in Boukan for his support of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. Nazari was sentenced to death by Urmieh Revolutionary Court Branch One presided over by Judge Mohammad Jalilzadeh. This sentence was commuted to a lifetime prison term some four years later.
Nazari has been tortured repeatedly in prison. He has petitioned the Islamic Republic’s judiciary for a retrial of his case on several occasions, though no such request has ever been approved. He has gone without temporary furlough for all these long years. Nazari has undertaken repeated hunger strikes: in the course of his latest, this very year, he addressed a letter to the people of Iran. In it, Nazari – who has lost his father, mother, and brother while behind bars – calls himself “the loneliest prisoner in the city.”
The full text of the letter appears below:
Hello, my fellow people:
I am the loneliest prisoner in this city. A city now inseparable from the name of its prison and all sorts of strange things; a city where 81 days of my hunger strike pass by and no ear is left to listen, no hand to give aid.
My name is Mohammad Nazari. For 24 years I’ve been behind bars, from Mahabad and Urmieh to Rajaishahr, this very prison. Each day I’ve grown more lonely, more forlorn, than the day before. My father and mother and brother have all gone off to the cemetery at Boukan: besides you, the people, I have no one. 81 days of my hunger strike have passed – a hunger strike made for one simple demand. My demand is neither freedom nor furlough. It is rather for the law to be carried out. A law (Articles 10, 99, 120, and 728 of the New Islamic Penal Code) according to which I should have been freed four and a half years ago - yet the unseen hands of those in power and security are keeping it from being carried out in my case. Now, after 24 years of prison, so lonely and so forlorn, no path remains before me but the hunger strike.
Where are you, my fellow people?
Think of me all alone: don’t leave me to my own devices. What makes me any different from Arash Sadeghi, who went hungry for more than 80 days - other than the fact he has a father, a spouse, and you, the people, while I have no one? My father, mother, and brother have been at rest in the Boukan cemetery for years. If there is any helping hand left for me, it is you, my fellow people, my sole support, and hope.
Help me, help my voice be heard: there is now nothing to deliver me from this agony of prison and hunger strike but death.
Help me to secure the legal right to freedom which they’ve withheld from me. Short of this, I will – should it come to it - remain on hunger strike until I too head off to the cemetery at Boukan, for no other place and no other people are left to me.
October 18, 2017