By Sina Adhami
This week marks the 2nd anniversary of the massacre of Camp Ashraf residents (01.09.13) and the 50th Anniversary of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) (06.09.65). Both historic events are of great significance to me as each have inspired me to take hold of their torch and continue their journey until freedom comes to Iran.
A relative of mine, PMOI Deputy Secretary General Ms. Zohreh Ghaemi (left), was one of the 52 courageous Ashraf residents who were murdered at the behest of the current mullah regime in Iran. One of the earliest memories my mother had with her was when they were in the same ward in Evin Prison in the 80’s. In the most difficult days, where they were both threatened by execution, Zohreh was always full of positive energy and inspired all those around her to keep up their spirits. In the 2009 attacks on Camp Ashraf, although her friends attempted to keep her away and safe from harm (as to her high ranked responsibilities), due to her brave and fearless character, she found a way to confront the Iraqi forces head on in aid of her comrades. She was then attacked fiercely, with great explosion/gunshot damage to her leg. Even with such a serious injury, she smiled and held up the peace sign as she was being transported on the stretcher. One of the latest communications my mother had with her was in the form of a letter, in which she wrote, “We will be victorious”.
Saeed Mohsen (centre; home photographs), one of the three founders of the PMOI, is my great uncle from my mother’s side. He was put before a death squad and executed on 25.05.1972 after long months of resistance in the dungeons of the Shah’s SAVAK (secret police). One of the earliest memories my mother had of Saeed, was when she visited him in Ghasr prison in Tehran just a few months before his execution. Although Saeed was very young at the time, he had suffered considerably from torture, and this was visible in his appearance. He would point out the torturers to my grandma, telling her that these people are torturing my friends in unimaginable ways. My mother always describes how intelligent, kind and cheerful Saeed was – especially in Nowrouz (the Persian New Year) when he would buy new clothes for all the children and friends. In his appearance at court, when he had time to talk to my grandma he said: “Don’t worry if they untruthfully call us anarchists (kharabkar) or Islamic Marxists; in five years time everyone will understand what we stood for and our names will be written on the walls of every street”.
50 years on we see his and his friends’ names recognised all over the world.
Lastly, I would like to remember my great uncle Mehdi Mohsen (right; Saeed Mohsen’s younger brother) who was killed under torture by SAVAK in Evin Prison just 4 months after Saeed’s execution. My mother remembers a time when he was in hiding. My grandma asked him to give up as he would be killed like Saeed, but Mehdi insisted he would continue Saeed’s path for freedom. When the SAVAK found him, he attempted to swallow Cyanide so they wouldn’t capture him alive, however, he was unsuccessful. They then tortured him viciously to make him release information, but he did not say a word. He later died under torture but the SAVAK did not release information of this. Even today, no one knows where they buried him.
Sina Adhami is a Masters of Laws student at The University of Law, London, and a human rights activist.