By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Anniversaries are usually memorable and often associated with some kind of joy. Such as a birthday, graduation, marriage, or even the anniversary of buying a new house or car. For Saeed Masouri, however, it is completely the opposite. This January, he entered his 24th year of captivity in the prisons of the Iranian regime. His “crime” is supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
Prisons across Iran are swarmed with political prisoners and dissidents of the Ayatollahs regime. These are either those arrested in the uprisings of recent years, or those who have spent much of their lives in those dungeons. Masouri, a political prisoner, just started his twenty fourth year of captivity.
Saeed Masouri was born in Iran in 1966. In 1988, he left the country to continue his university education in medicine. In a short visit back home, on Jan. 8, 2001, he was picked up by IRGC as he was identified as a supporter of Mojahedin. He had joined the MEK while studying abroad. For a few months Saeed’s family were not aware of his return to Iran.
The regime first kept Saeed in a solitary confinement for 13 months at a prison in the southwestern city of Ahvaz. Later he was transferred to Tehran and on 25 May 2002 he stood before a court. That was a 10-minute trial at the Iranian capital’s Revolutionary Court. Saeed was sentenced to death for collaborating with the MEK, “to harm national security” and was jailed at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. In 2007, under the pressure from human rights organizations the regime stepped down and commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment. Saeed was transferred from Evin to Gohar Dasht prison in the nearby city of Karaj in 2009.
As Saeed’s brother, who lives abroad, says their jailed brother committed no crime and has endured a “horrible” 23 years in detention without even one hour of medical or family visit furlough.
It was in 2016 that Masouri wrote a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to raise the alarm about the threats to the lives of prisoners at Gohar Dasht. The MEK published his letter on its website.
The long years of captivity, along with tortures and hardships, have deposited bitter memories in the minds of Masouri and his fellow prisoners. During his imprisonment, Saeed Masouri has gone on hunger strikes many times for various reasons and in protest against the injustices and oppression of the prisoners.
In one of his recent letters Saeed wrote, “But the twenty-third year was different. A gory year and perhaps the bloodiest of all. I still can feel the warmth and whispers of the loved ones, fellow inmates whose lives were perished by the executioners. Mohsen Shekhari, Mohammad Mehdi Karami, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Khodanur Lajhai, Milad Zahravand or Qasim Abaste, Ayoub Karimi and Dawood Abdollahi ,… who were taken from our cells in Qazalhasar and never came back.”
“I still can hear their screams from neighboring cell… and others who right now are on the death list, waiting for their turn to come, Khosro Basharat, Anwar Khezri, Farhad Salimi, Kamran Sheikha, Mujahid Korkur , Reza Rasaei and … .
Prison alone can act as a graveyard for man and humanity, and when the guards come to take a fellow inmate, your eyes catch his last steps as he leaves in handcuffs and chains to the solitary confinement, and there is nothing you can do…and then every moment after that, you feel you are being hanged as well.
All over the past year, I always felt moment after moment that I have been executed with them. But indeed, how long? … and how far?”