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Banafsheh Pourzand in an interview with Radio Koocheh

“Siamak Pourzand was imprisoned for years in his home”

2 May 2011

http://radiokoocheh.com/article/103784

02th May 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh / Radio Koocheh

ardavan@koochehmail.com

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

Iranian history and culture owe a lot to “Siamak Pourzand”, Iranian journalist and lawyer. Someone who had a huge experience in the media especially the press, and was also responsible of the management of the first festival of Iranian films and foreign films selected in 1954.

After the revolution, in 2000, after the incident in the Berlin conference, he was arrested and sentenced to eleven years. According to her daughter Banafsheh Pourzand, he was repeatedly under various physical and mental torture. He was also banned to leave the country and to have any kind of activity. Finally, on April 29, while he was under house arrest, died of disease.

In this regard, Ardavan Roozbeh had the following conversation with Banafsheh Pourzand, Siamak Pourzand’s daughter:

The Islamic Republic made him suffer a lot, also because they did not allow him to work and even breathe. The old man, in the past ten years, was not working, did not write anything, did not say anything, certainly he was a great threat to the regime that they did not let him come out and kept him depressed until he passed.

 

Mrs Pourzand, first of all, please accept my condolences on the passing of Mr. Siamak Pourzand, your father, and experienced journalist. please explain to us why although he had a 11 year prison sentence he was outside the prison, and somehow he was imprisoned. How do you explain these circumstances?

You know that he was in prison for 6 years. During the first year, he was held in private or solitary confinement and suffered a lot. When he was arrested, he was abducted from my aunt’s house. He was then 72 years old and what they inflicted to him is unimaginable and impossible to describe. But after the solitary confinement period he was nearly six years in prison and had different friends and compatriots that were there were helping him a lot and it comforted him to be in difficult times to be with in prison with people who believed politically in the same causes.

After three strokes and specially after the last one when he almost died, due to pressures from Amnesty International, UN and various European countries and American embassies on the  Islamic Republic, finally they so called released him for medical leave which is not freedom anyway. Because he could not do his job, his phone was tapped and he was not allowed to see his relatives. However, they created painful restrictions for him that unfortunately did not help his mood and due to stress his heart was not functioning well, he had various different problems, poor  circulation and depression. Pressures on him were really high and undefinable. Finally, he has not even got released.

9 years of the 11 years sentence has passed and we never knew and was unacceptable for us why they were not willing to release him to be able to leave Iran and live with my two sisters, Mehrangiz, his wife, my uncle who lives in Paris and other friends and people who are attached to my father. So he could have lived his last years of life aging with his loved ones and today I have heard the shocking news by my sister when I was at work. Still we do not know why he died and only know that it happened at home, not at the hospital, this news is not right that he died at the hospital. We are waiting for more news to see what really happened.

During all this time, did you try to have him to leave the country? Have you done any legal work and have not got a response?
A lot of legal work has been done because my father was known and because of his wife Mrs. Kar who was a lawyer and was active and knew many people that legally could help him, extensive research was done and my father was trying to follow up, and we tried to make him leave the country without controversy but the Iranian regime as usual with its natural pertinacity, did not allow him to leave.

We know that he was under house arrest. Was it a formal house arrest with a legal warrant ? Or in fact it was a siege situation?

I think practically it has been a siege, and legally my sister and step mother Mehrangiz can explain better. I can not describe the story legally but I can say that his phone was tapped, he had no rights and no permission to work. My father was a writer, culture and film historian, political analyst and Iran’s culture owed him a lot, because of all his artistic activities, he was well known but they silenced him. Unfortunately, they prosecuted him so much that I think he died of it all.

The Islamic Republic made him suffer a lot, also because they did not allow him to work and even breathe. The old man, in the past ten years, was not working, did not write anything, did not say anything, certainly he was a great threat to the regime that they did not let him come out and kept him depressed until he passed.

 

 
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