Siamak Namazi Asks Judiciary Chief to Stop Authorities from Blocking “Granted” Temporary Leave
February 8, 2020 – In a letter from Evin Prison in Tehran where he has been held since October 2015, Iranian American businessman Siamak Namazi asked Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi why his requests for furlough have been repeatedly denied while those around him continue to be allowed to go on temporary leave.
“For the past four years, while enduring punishment for a crime I did not commit, I have been trying to restore my rights with the help of almighty God within the laws of our beloved country,” wrote Namazi in a letter that was published in Persian on February 7, 2020, by the Ghanoon Telegram messaging app channel.
“Four years and four months have passed without a break… Meanwhile I have witnessed the brother of a senior state official being given furlough just hours after being put into prison,” he added.
His elderly father Baquer Namazi, an Iranian American former UNICEF official, was also sentenced to 10 years after traveling to the country to see his son but was eventually allowed to go on restricted medical leave due to life-threatening heart problems. The Namazi family recently told NRP that Baquer is not allowed to leave the country.
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners and prisoners held in politically sensitive cases as a form of additional punishment.
At least 11 dual and foreign nationals who were arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or the Intelligence Ministry are currently imprisoned in the country. Iranian authorities pressure prisoners and their families to keep their stories secret, so that number could be higher.
Following is a translation of Namazi’s letter by the Center for Human Rights in Iran:
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Dr. Ebrahim Raisi
I, Siamak Namazi, who sincerely believe in my innocence, have been accused of cooperation with the enemy U.S. government against the Islamic Republic in an extra-judicial process and unfairly condemned to 10 years in prison by Judge [Abolqasem] Salavati, whose sentence was upheld by Branch 36 of the Appeals Court.
For the past four years, while enduring punishment for a crime I did not commit, I have been trying to restore my rights with the help of almighty God within the laws of our beloved country.
I have witnessed certain individuals being granted all kinds of pardons, temporary releases and furloughs even before they were eligible under the law. Therefore I hope I, too, will be treated with mercy and be able to enjoy the minimum of rights granted to prisoners, such as going on furlough after serving more than a third of my sentence.
Four years and four months have passed without a break and meanwhile I have observed all the laws and displayed good behavior, as all the prison authorities will attest. It is my request and expectation to be granted furlough for a few weeks, as I am deserving of it. This would create an opportunity to repair my poor mental and physical state and allow me to help my 83-year-old father recover from a life-threatening illness and rectify my family’s deplorable situation.
I should note that after a year of submitting numerous furlough requests, on August 23 — that is more than five months ago — I was told that approval had finally been granted. However, after the submission of bail set by the assistant prosecutor, suddenly and without explanation, the amount was tripled and even when that was presented with the help of relatives, the authorities, without any reason, are still refusing to grant furlough.
Meanwhile I have witnessed the brother of a senior state official being given furlough just hours after being put into prison.
In conclusion I ask that you issue an order to the authorities to stop trying to destroy me and my family and observe the laws concerning security prisoners and recognize my rights.