Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dead protester's mother wants answers: Sohrab Aarabi's mother Parvin Fahimi says she cannot remain silent

A dead protester's mother says in a videotaped statement that she is still haunted by key questions more than four months after her son was killed. (video and translation at the end of this report)

Sohrab Aarabi disappeared on June 15, 2009, a particularly deadly day for protesters in the streets of Tehran. He was 19. His mother Parvin Fahimi sought him for 26 agonizing days, before the authorities told her to retrieve his body at the morgue on July 11.

(The following video provides a summary of Sohrab Aarabi's story)

Fahimi has called for the killer of her son to be identified and brought to justice, but her latest statement shows that the authorities have denied her even the most elementary information.

'I want to know where he died. No one has answered this question yet,' Fahimi says in the new video. 'Was he killed in prison? Was he killed on the streets?'

The exact circumstances and time of Sohrab's death have never been revealed by the Islamic regime, although tantalizing clues and facts have emerged. One crucial document is the coroner's report which indicates that Sohrab's body was delivered to the morgue on June 19. The identity or function of the individuals who brought the body to the morgue were not given.

'If he was killed on June 15, where was he during those four days?' Fahimi asks.

In the months following Sohrab's death, the 53-year-old mother's determination to obtain the truth and her refusal to be cowed into silence have turned her into an iconic figure of the opposition. She has participated in mass rallies and given numerous interviews, particularly to the foreign Farsi-language outlets which are anathema to the regime.

The following footage shows her during the Ghods Day protests on September 18. The crowd around her takes up the chant, 'Sohrab has not died. It is the government that is dead.'

In early October, she told the Voice of America that Sohrab had been shot from a distance of 'three to 15 meters by a Kalashnikov,' according to information garnered by her lawyer.

'His arms were lowered. They shot him in such a way that the bullet broke his left arm, passed under his heart, and punctured his lung. But it is unclear whether they took him to a hospital or not,' she told Radio Farda around the same time.

Asked whether she now thought that her son had died in vain, she responded, 'No. He went out for his beliefs and these children will always live on.' (For videos and report on those interviews, go here)


Fahimi's latest statement:

Parvin Fahimi:
A key question for me is, Where was Sohrab killed? And no one has responded to this question yet. I want to know where Sohrab was killed. Was he killed in prison? Was he killed in the street? And where was he during those few days? Especially those four days. In the coroner's letter, they wrote that he was delivered on June 19. Where was he during those four days? If he was killed on June 15, where was my child during those four days? Did they take care of him or did they not? What did my child ask for, what did he say? They haven't given back his personal belongings. None of his personal belongings have been returned. One of our friends dreamt that Sohrab was looking for his shoes. These things hurt me, pain me. I can't remain silent.