Iran: Political Prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared Writes Of Her Support For Uprising – OpEd

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While people across the world celebrated New Year’s Eve, Maryam Akbari Monfared marked the 13th year of her imprisonment in the dungeons of the Iranian regime. She described the regime’s prisons as “hell-like” in a letter that was published by the media. 

Akbari Monfared, the mother of three, was arrested on December 29, 2009, on the charge of being a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). She was taken to Evin prison in the middle of the night, without a warrant, and under the pretext of providing explanations.  

“Without giving me a chance to say goodbye to my loved ones, they took me to Evin prison to give some explanations and made the ridiculous promise that ‘you will return to your children in the morning,’” Akbari Monfared wrote. “As of December 29, 2022, thirteen years have passed since I was separated from my 4-year-old Sarah and my two 12-year-old daughters on that winter midnight.” 

Since her arrest, she has not had a single day of leave and has been under constant torture and pressure, including the denial of urgent medical treatment.  

“This is not a 4,000-page story, but the pure reality of a life under the domination of fascists who imposed it on us while we refused to give in,” Akbari Monfared wrote. “On this side of the bars, in the dark desert of torture and oppression, as far as one can see – even where one cannot see – there is just vileness and brutality.” 

In her letter, Maryam Akbari Monfared expressed her support for the nationwide protests that have been ongoing across Iran since September 16, when the regime’s security forces murdered Mahsa Amini, a 23-year-old woman who was arrested on charges of violating the regime’s oppressive hijab rules. The protests have turned into a full-fledged uprising calling for the overthrow of the regime in its entirety. 

“To my daughters and sons, who are bravely on the streets… I say: if you are arrested, do not trust the interrogators even an iota,” Akbari Monfared wrote. “To the grieving families … I say that I share in their grief too. I hold their hands from here and stand shoulder to shoulder with them, stronger than before, for justice. With the news of every protest and every uprising, and with the sparks of this rebellious flame, the hearts of women whose only hope of freedom is to break these iron gates are filled with hope.” 

Three of Akbari Monfared’s brothers and a sister were executed by the mullahs’ regime. Alireza Akbari, an MEK member, was executed in 1981. Gholamreza Akbari, also a member of the MEK, was murdered under torture in 1985. MEK members Abdulreza and Roghiyeh Akbari were executed during the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners. The massacre was overseen by Ebrahim Raisi, the regime’s current president. 

Akbari Monfared is one of many Iranian political prisoners who are behind bars because they are relatives of MEK members. The Iranian regime has a zero-tolerance policy for any support or connections to the MEK. It constantly persecutes MEK relatives and has so far executed more than 120,000 members and supporters of Iran’s main opposition group.  

Mahin Horri writes for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)

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