NCRI – An Iranian prisoner has launched a desperate appeal for help to take legal action against the regime for amputating his fingers and toes and sending him into exile in Karaj prison.
Reza Safari is pleading for aid from lawyers and human rights groups to prosecute the Iranian authorities for ‘material and moral damages’ that have ruined his life.
The 42-year-old has already spent 17 years in prison after first being arrested in 1995 for theft ‘committed out of necessity’ to feed his poverty-stricken family.
In an appeal from Karaj prison Mr Safari wrote: “During the years of 1991 to 1995, I committed several thefts which were truly out of real need and necessity due to being unemployed and the extreme poverty of my family. I was arrested in October 1995 and sent to Arak prison.
“I was condemned to have my right hand fingers, except for the thumb, to be cut off and to pay off for the stolen property. When this verdict was read to me I thought that the judge has given this sentence to frighten me, but unfortunately, this verdict was carried out on 21 August 1997 with just one day remaining to the month of Ramadan. I was only 26 years old at the time.
“My fingers were cut off by an electric scissor used to cut iron and it had trace of blood on it which meant it had been used many times for such verdicts. They cut off my fingers without any general or local anesthesia.” (See photo: Warning graphic image)
“I always kept telling myself that it would have been better had they executed me instead. That way I would just die once and it would have been over with.”
Mr Safari was released from prison after five years in 2000, and his handicap meant he was unable to provide for his elderly father and two younger sisters.
He added: “Worse conditions awaited me outside the prison. Anywhere that I went, all eyes were watching me and everyone kept a distance from me. My amputated fingers were a seal on the forehead.
“I tried very hard to find a job, but I got nowhere. Not only they would not give me a job, but they would mention me as a thief.”
A year later he was arrested again and sentenced to have the toes of his left foot – a sentence not carried out until eight years later.
He said: “My left foot toes were cut off by that same electric scissor that had cut off my fingers. The sense of absurdity in me doubled, especially that I could not do many of my daily chores because I missed fingers and toes and I needed to ask others to help me.
“Two years after my sentence had been carried out, on June 7, 2011, I was sent to exile to Karaj prison in Alborz Province. Because of this, I can no longer plead for insolvency and repay for the stolen goods in instalments to attain my freedom.
“I can no longer remain in my own city so that I could somehow contact my complainant and attain his consent. Moreover, being away from my family has me badly depressed and in the past three years I have had no family visits which just adds to my other agonies.
“In the end, I declare that I am placing charges against the authorities of the Islamic Republic and the Judiciary for cutting off members of my body and turning me into a handicap and for the damages, material and moral, that I have suffered.
“I am requesting from jurists, lawyers, human rights activists, and pertinent organizations and institutions to work to redeem my rights anyway that they can.”
Mr. Safari’s appeal has been published in Persian in a number websites.