Arresting PMOI families: hefty price for freedom and democracy
Since the first days of the mullahs’ rule in Iran, pressuring PMOI families to cooperate with the regime has been a long lasting policy. Over the past three decades thousands of PMOI families have been harassed, tortured, even executed. This policy has continued in recent years with the regime arresting and executing individuals just because their relatives were members of the PMOI at Ashraf or now Camp Liberty.
The latest of such arrests came on 11 October when the parents of PMOI member, Shaqayeq Azimi, were arrested just because their daughter was a member of the PMOI. At a recent conference in the British Parliament Ms. Azimi addressed the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom and spoke about this incident. She said:
“I was informed a few days ago that my parents have been arrested in Iran on October 11 due to the activities of my sister and me and for being supporters and sympathizers of the PMOI (MEK).
Both my parents are ex-political prisoners. My mother suffers from MS and she has spent many years behind bars and under torture both in 1980s and in recent years. In early 2009 she was rearrested and spent two years in prison solely for visiting me and my sister in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. She faces severe risks currently both due to her health and also circumstances enforced in prison.
As I mentioned before, my father is also an ex-political prisoner, persecuted both during the Shah’s time and under the Mullahs’ rule.”
The case of Ms. Azimi is only one of thousands of cases where PMOI families are persecuted for their affiliation with the PMOI. In recent years in many cases where individuals were arrested and eventually executed for their family relation with PMOI members.
– Ali Saremi, 63, was arrested because he visited his son at Camp Ashraf. He was imprisoned for several years and eventually given the death sentence. Despite the fact that Amnesty International issued a number of Urgent Action statements asking for his death sentence to be suspended, the Iranian regime paid no attention and hanged him on December 28th, 2010.
– Jafar Kazemi was arrested in the summer of 2009 after he visited his teenage son at Ashraf. The Iranian regime sentenced him to death and he was executed on 24 January 2011.
– Mohsen Dokmechi, 53, visited his daughter at Ashraf. After returning to Iran, he was arrested and imprisoned. Mr. Dokmechi was suffering from pancreatic cancer yet prison officials deprived him of medical treatment. The regime planned to take revenge over the fact that he refused to say the PMOI is keeping his daughter in Ashraf against her will. The ayatollahs deprived him of medical care and he suffered continuous pain for 7 months. Mr. Dokmechi finally died to his illness. It is worth noting that following his death the regime has to this day summoned his wife to the prosecutor’s office many times and placed her under immense pressure.
Currently, many PMOI family members are behind bars just because their relatives are PMOI members. They have received vague imprisonment sentences.
– Ali Mo’ezi, 65, is currently behind bars. He was arrested after he visited his two daughters at Ashraf. He was scheduled to be released last year yet the Iranian regime kept him behind bars as he refused to cooperate with authorities. The regime’s judiciary forged a new case and sentenced him to another year in prison. From that day forward he has been under continuous harassment and deprived of medical care. International human rights organizations have urgent requests calling for his release, yet Tehran has left all calls unanswered.
– Saleh Kohandel was arrested while security forces raided his home and put a gun to the head of his nine year-old daughter Pariya since she wouldn’t let go of her dad. He received a ten year imprisonment sentence. He has been behind bars for 9 years now. The Iran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and prison torturers have told him he will be executed since his children are PMOI members, or they will keep him in jail until he dies there. To this day his health conditions have deteriorated many times while in prison, yet the regime has deprived him of medical care. Saleh suffers from blood cancer.
– Mashallah (Hamid) Haeri, 64, was arrested because he had relatives at Ashraf. He received a 15 year imprisonment sentence. Mr. Haeri, suffering from a heart illness, has to this day suffered two heart attacks.
The abovementioned cases were only examples of the Iranian regime’s approach towards PMOI families. This issue is yet another example of how this tyrannical regime treats its own citizens. The situation of ordinary Iranian citizens is no better with executions on the rise during Rouhani’s tenure. However, the Iranian regime’s enmity towards the PMOI families who do not cooperate with the mullahs has a long history.
The Iranian people and PMOI families yearn for freedom and democracy. Freedom and democracy always comes with a hefty price tag, which the Iranian people have paid in the past 4 decades. They have sacrificed over 120,000 of their best sons and daughters. The time has come for the West to side with the Iranian people and Resistance and instead of shaking the bloody hands of the mullahs, shake hands and recognize the legitimate opposition to this tyrannical regime.
Eventually the winds of change will blow in Iran. Western countries must choose side for history will judge them on it.