Content Notice: Torture, court railroading.
Back in June, I wrote about a local professor by the name of Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who was imprisoned by Iranian intelligence under charges of “collaborating with a hostile government.” Now, word has come back that Dr. Homa Hoodfar was released, and is recovering in Oman.
Not all is sunshine and roses. Iran is still holding a number of dual nationals on highly suspect convictions, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was recently handed a 5 year prison sentence, to be served in the same torture complex Dr. Hoodfar was confined in. Nizar Zakka is serving 10 years for a similarly trumped up conviction. Reportedly, Nazanin can’t even walk anymore. Both are dual nationals, just the some of the victims in a long history of ramming hundreds of people through a kangaroo court and handing down absurd sentences.
The latter is a journalist and businessman, the former a non-profit worker. They are not spies, but scapegoats to make Iran’s revolutionary guard look competent, numbers to fill out a line on a ledger.
Not much but good will can go out to Nazanin and Nizar. Not only are they being held in a prison notorious for killing and torturing its prisoners, but their lives are indisputably damaged by their circumstances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Iran, as ever, remains antagonistic in its foreign policy, rebuffing diplomats and conducting this entire process in secret. Prisoners are lucky to even have lawyers, and even when they do access is highly limited. Dr. Hoodfar is a conspicuous exception to the Revolutionary Guard’s processes. No shortage of reasons to believe this is nothing but an operation to make someone look good to the totalitarian regime, and the sheer injustice makes my stomach twist. I can’t imagine the pain of knowing a loved one is confined in a place as vile as Evin Prison, all for the sake of filling someone’s political agenda.