These days, instead of”the newspaper office or his work place” he carries a “small notebook” along with it’s “regular pen” which is often beside him which often becomes his “refuge” at times when he heart fills with Nostalgic moments. A man, who despite all the events happening to him over the past year feels “we no longer should complain about the events of the past, at this point our focus should be on tomorrow.”
Massoud Bastany was born in Arak 32 years ago, and has been a known name among reporters. Undoubtedly the walls of Rajaishahr knows, the tales of the sun and the darkness is the shameful repeat of his tale from the cold corner of his prison cell. These are narratives of a boy whom during “break time” will scream:
Our breakage has come to the highest point
We are glass, and glass will be sharper once broken
This is not the first imprisonment for Masoud Bastany. He has previously seen these walls over weeks and months of detention. This young reporter was first brought to prison by the weekly “Voice of Reform” [Nedaye Eslahat] at the age of 24, which he was released from on bail.
“Akbar Ganji”’s Hunger Strike on 2006 (1384) brought the now 27-year-old Massoud Bastani to prison for the second time. This time it lasted two weeks and once again heavy bail brought breezes of freedom upon him, but this time the freedom didn’t last long as the first arrest brought him back to prison to serve a 6 months sentence. At Arak prison, the place where he spent his hundredth day behind bars, he explains: “ the hundredth day of my imprisonment was passed. Imprisonment for me whose only crime is critical support and putting all efforts to spread the true cause of reform, support for civil society activists and intellectuals as well as isolated efforts towards reclaiming rights of political prisoners and journalists, including Hashem Aghajari, Abbas Abdi, Behrouz Geranpayh, Taghi Rahmani, Reza Alijani, Hoda Saber and Akbar Ganji and Nasser Zarafshan, and for being the editor of the weekly “Call for Reform”. Is it ever possible to easily say and put aside hundred days in imprisonment.”
On June 2009 (Khordad 1388) which blackened what was to be green, during the early days when the impact of green baton and silver bullets were a come back for the green silence, during the days that painted the green June’s heart with red, and made a pool of blood from Sohrab’s heart , two days after the beginning of these lying days, his wife “Mahsa Amrabadi” was arrested. this time the story was different than the previous month and year sentences. Not only it was in the role of prison, also was a training hall for “show trial” and a place to show “legitimacy” of the current government through “the stories of it’s prisoners”. A place where “poetry”, “lashes” and “torture” are placed together.
Absence of Masoud Bastani from home, caused his wife’s arrest and at the time for following the case in court and at intelligence, they would not arrest him, nor free his wife. But the followups had an adverse effect for them, not only his wife was not released, Masoud Bastany was also arrested on August 5 2009 (Mordad 14 1388).
The story of early days of Masoud Bastany’s arrested, is the story of Tehran’s bloody street in June and July in Iran’s mourning time, it’s the story of all prisoners whose green bracelets were tied to the cold prison bars, it’s the story of solitary confinement and the hot interrogation rooms, the story of blindfolds and interrogators who play god in front of god’s eyes, it’s the story of stage executions and kidnap from lovers. It has been said the love of his imprisoned wife brought Masoud Bastany to the “show trials” and can it be anything other than that, which if it were other than that, the fear of solitary confinement and interrogators whose guns are aimed at the heart of all Iranians, has not left any other way.
In one of these show trials Masoud Bastany acknowledged , in one of those days that Arash Rahmanipour prisoner who was arrested before the election, was describing his post election riots, in one of those days that Saeed Hajarian was wheeled out of a home miles further than the Evin prison and his “confessions” were read by another person, in one of those days that we became the joke of a Stalinist show was issued to Iran by a neighboring country. We mentioned and remember that show trials “were the stories of prisoners whose mission was to prove the government’s legitimacy.” The illegitimate government who demanded legitimacy and acceptance from prisoners. The words published from Masoud Bastany’s trial which were not even his words, are as stated: “attack towards the government and undermining the performance of the government’s four-year plan and governmental institutions such as Legal Guardian Council, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the Basij and police forces, weakening Ahmadinejad himself, creating doubts in the election results, publishing mixed news based on abuse of public property, and implementation of election fraud was among our given agenda to break the unity and inflammation in our society. ”
This show that was held in the form of a trial, was an experimentation of everything but a court, the only thing Bastany’s lawyer whom had not seen the case, talked to the defendant, knew anything about his case, nor was aware of the court date could say after becoming aware of the confessions and the show trials was: “I can not call this a trial.”
Illegal process of young journalist’s judicial cases did not end at the end of the trials and did not subside the thirst for revenge in interrogators, Masoud Bastany was left in solitary confinement and was denied the the right to meet with a lawyer and his lawyer was banned from viewing or reading the files. Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, the place where “Ahmadinejad’s government was legitimized”, where Judge Salavati sat at his imaginary bench, but in reality recited the “issued” sentences, on September 17 sentenced Masoud Bastany, journalists to 6 years imprisonment under charges of “propaganda against the regime and society, and conspiring to create chaos”. Masoud Bastani was not even released on bail after being read the issued sentence by Judge Salavati, was not given a bail until the sentence’s approval from appeal court and the sentence was throughly confirmed by Branch 25 of Tehran appeals court and the oppressed Islamic Republic left this young reporter in prison for six springs of his life.
Two months after the confirmation of this sentence Bastani and Ahmad Zeidabadi were transferred to Rajaishahr prison in Karaj, among dangerous criminals. An experience he was put through in 2006 and mentioned in his hundredth day behind bars letter; a place where he might miss again and once again failed to report on the commemoration ceremony of Majid Sharif and Kazem Sami.
Masoud Bastany writes well that others are aware of all “happening to them”, and the toxic air of Evin prison and all those “beaten” bodies and the said vulgar “profanity”: “Now why can issuing disclosures against those who beat and interrogated us in worst conditions? Who doesn’t know the injustice imposed in interrogation rooms of ward 240 and hallways we occasionally passed each other by? What is the need for me to repeat the vulgar words and threats they brought me to the court with and eventually put their unjust and unfair sentences on our cases. What is the need to write open letters to the head of Judiciary and Senior judiciary officials and complain and let them know not only the Islamic compassion and generosity is absent in our cases, but law and justice have not been observed in this regard either! But what was our crime? What did we want that was so wrong? ”
Today the journalist of our tale, whose narrative are yet to be told, has been imprisoned for 548 days, from solitary confinement of Evin prison to short roof cells of Rajaishahr; a place where he “awaits tomorrows” and “the day to see the light and beauty shawn upon all of us. ” ۵۴۸ days of Masoud Bastani’s sentence have passed without leave, but as he mentions himself, how can 548 days of imprisonment be overlooked?
Sincere hopes for his release.
* This post dedicated to his dear wife Mahsa Amrabadi