Fazel Hawramy,Wednesday 16 May 2012
This month marks the second anniversary of the execution of a primary school teacher, who paid with his life for refusing to make televised confession about a crime he didn’t commit.
Farzad Kamangar was 31 when he was detained by the security forces in July 2006 for allegedly collaborating with the Kurdish opposition groups. The government accused him of being “an enemy of god”. His mother believes that her son’s only crime was his ‘Kurdishness’ and his lawyer Khalil Bahramian maintained that “there was not a shred of evidence” against him.
Interrogators in numerous prisons where Farzad was held for four years, put him through severe physical and mental torture to break his resistance. Farzad’s letters and articles about the inhumane conditions inside prison helped to bring international condemnations from many organisations including UNICEF and the Education International which represents teachers across the globe.
When the authorities realised that they could not break Farzad under torture, they decided to silence him for ever. In the early hours of the 9th May 2010, Farzad and four other prisoners were lead to the gallows. Contrary to Iranian law his lawyer and his family were not informed. Within a few minutes, his lifeless body was hanging from a noose in Evin prison in Tehran.
His death was another reminder to the Iranian people that the Islamic Republic maintains its grip on power through creating a climate of fear and disregarding its own laws.
Even in death, Farzad managed to unite the people of Iran as the Kurdish region went on strike and many mourned his death across the country and in the diaspora. Fearing more unrest, the Islamic Republic, contrary to the basic tenets of Islam, refused to hand over his body and those of his co-defendants, depriving their families of a dignified burial for their loved ones.
In his last message smuggled out of prison, Farzad wrote: “Is it possible to be a teacher where there is a drought of justice and fairness and not teach the alphabet of hope and equality?”