Mothers in Iran whose family members have been victims of political repression or execution have spoken out against the use of the death penalty and offered their condolences to the bereaved.
Sholeh Pakravan, whose daughter Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed in Iran in 2014 after killing an Iranian intelligence officer who tried to rape her, has become a powerful advocate for human rights in Iran, where politically motivated execution is regularly used against women and minors.
“Let us chain our hands together to prevent the harm to our loved ones inflicted by the [regime],” she said in a letter dedicated to the parents of those executed in last Wednesday’s hanging of 25 mostly Kurdish political prisoners being held near Tehran.
She also deplored the strategy used by Tehran of slandering victims of execution through their state-directed press apparatus, as well as denying families the right to bury their loved ones.
“I know you still feel a great pang in your heart,” she went on.
“You do not understand the meaning of sleep and food, fatigue and pain… I know all anxieties suddenly disappear and instead a sea of sorrow emerges in your heart. You feel that the bitterness of moments cast all over your world and all of your dreams cannot come true. You cannot hear your children’s voice or you cannot embrace or smell them. I know you go to sleep enthusiastically so that you see your children in the dream”.
The emotional pain inflicted by the executions was also evoked by the mothers of the victims of last week’s execution.
“The successive executions brought death to our children without any trial, lawyer, due process or [regard] for international laws,” they said in a statement.
“In the past few decades, many women have mourned the death of their children in the darkness and solitude. They shed tears and nobody wiped them away or consoled them…We, as mothers, know that the suffering from the loss of a child is endless; no matter if they die by a rope or gunshot. The suffering never fades away and the nightmares do not leave us.”
Pakravan spoke Sunday at Tehran’s Behesht Zahra Cemetery to mark the first anniversary of her daughter’s execution, saying there are “hundreds and hundreds” of mothers in Iran who cannot sleep at night because their sons and daughters have been snatched away from them by the Iranian authorities.
She was joined by Gohar Eshghi, mother of dissident Iranian web-blogger Sattar Behest who was tortured to death in prison in Iran in 2012. Ms. Eshghi vowed at the ceremony to be the voice of her late son and to bring his murderers to justice.
The execution of Pakravan’s daughter occurred despite strong efforts to attract international attention to the case. Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said at the time that Ms. Jabbari’s execution had political motives and that it was unlawful even within the framework of the mullahs’ “medieval” laws. Following the execution, Mrs. Rajavi called for an independent international probe into the execution of Jabbari as an example of arbitrary, extrajudicial and criminal death sentences in Iran.