An Appeal from Siamak Pourzand’s Daughter: ‘My Father Has Given Up on Life, Release Him.’”
By Fereshteh Ghazi, An Interview with Lily Pourzand, Rooz Online, Tuesday December 1, 2009.
Siamak Pourzand's Recent Photo at the Hospital
We have interviewed the daughter of Siamak Pourzand, the 78 year-old Iranian journalist who, in the words of his family, “since last week has given up eating meals and has cut off telephone communication with his friends and family”, about his condition. Pourzand has been confined to the Tus Hospital [in Tehran] for the past 15 days due to his deteriorating physical and mental condition, although he himself has said “I’m not physically ill; they have made me mentally ill.” For this reason, Lily Pourzand implores, “My father is no danger to the Islamic Republic; give him permission to leave the country.”
Siamak Pourzand was also hospitalized at Iran Mehr Hospital on October 22 but was released after several days. At that time Lily told Rooz that “her father was not discharged from the hospital due to an improvement in his health, but rather because there was nothing more that could be done.”
But with Pourzand’s condition becoming serious, Lily tells Rooz: “After the last report that you published about my father about a month ago, my father was released from Iran Mehr hospital and was put on a new treatment, but the medications did not have much effect, because of his absolute loneliness and his deeply damaged mental state, especially as he refuses to take the medicines that he must take on a strict regimen.
Ms. Pourzand, who is a lawyer residing in Canada, adds, “My father expressed deep stress and uncomfortable, scattered agitation on the telephone and we didn’t know what to do, until two weeks ago, with the deterioration of his condition, he was first taken to a clinic and from there transferred to the hospital.”
Having mentioned that Tus Hospital does not have a neurological and psychological department, she says, “My father prefers to stay in this hospital because we have doctors and friends working there and they help greatly; however, unfortunately this help has not had any effect and Father has not eaten at all since last week, and since five days ago, he has cut off his telephone communication with his family and however much we beg, he only says ‘I can’t talk’ and hangs up.”
According to Lily Pourzand, “My father is also refusing to accept or speak to friends and acquaintances and this illustrates how this journalist is giving up on life and has washed his hands of everything that has to do with life.”
Siamak Pourzand’s daughter says, “My father’s doctor is trying and trying to get him transferred to a specialized neurological clinic but unfortunately [my father] still doesn’t have the will to go, and neither we nor his doctor can predict what is going to happen.”
Ms. Pourzand, who is seeking the issuance of a visa for her father to exit the country, says, “With the condition that my father is in, it is extremely urgent that he get permission to fly out immediately, as it is possible that if he is given an exit visa and his passport [which had been confiscated] his mental state may greatly improve, and our wish is that he be allowed to leave the country and be with his children and family for some time.”
Having said that Mr. Pourzand is giving up on everything, Ms. Pourzand adds, “The only chance for renewing any sense of hope in life for him is to get him permission to leave the country and see his family; my father, in his condition, poses absolutely no danger to the Islamic Republic that would cause them to deny him permission.”
According to Lily Pourzand, Mr. Pourzand’s doctors have recommended that anyone who wishes to should go to visit him even if he refuses or doesn’t speak to them, because the presence of people and friends is crucial to the improvement of the journalist’s mental state.
Body or Mind?
On another note, a Rooz reader has written in an email message discussing Siamak Pourzand’s hospitalization in Tus Hospital and his visit with the journalist, “Mr. Pourzand said, ‘I’m not physically ill; they have made me mentally ill.”
In continuation, having mentioned that Siamak Pourzand is under sedation and is consuming nothing besides water, this reader explained the deterioration of Mr. Pourzand’s mental and physical condition by writing, “Mr. Pourzand really has no serious physical problem but due to the depth of his depression he is suffering. In his own words, after the elections his mental health has become far worse, since a great number of friends with whom he had passed great times have either been imprisoned or have left Iran and he has been deeply affected by not having them around. He is truly lonely and in need of attention; in addition he is deeply afraid of everything. I see a strange fear in his existence. Severely, just like in prison! He deeply misses his family and friends.”
Siamak Pourzand since seven years ago has been a prisoner of the security services; he has been sent home at times due to deteriorations of his physical condition and then detained again after a period.
Siamak Pourzand’s wife, Mehrangiz Kar, and two of the journalist’s daughters, Banafsheh and Azadeh, live in America and Lily Pourzand, the other daughter, lives in Canada. They have requested clemency from the officials of the Islamic Republic several times so that they may go to their father’s side but to this date no response has been given to them.
Lily Pourzand had previously spoken of this to Rooz, saying, “Both during the Khatami administration and over the past four years we have several times directly and indirectly written letters to various organs and individuals, even begging, that they provide us with letters of clemency so that we may go see our father and take care of him. My mother has even personally written a letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making this request but to date they have given us no answer; for each of us, returning to Iran is tantamount to risking being detained and put in some secret facility, and we can’t take anything more like that. My mother went to prison and developed cancer, and my father too has been afflicted as you see.”
At the same time she had referred to the trip of Azadeh, the youngest daughter of Mr. Pourzand to Iran and had said, “Azadeh was only 16 years old when she left Iran and hadn’t gotten involved in political matters or human rights and was occupied only with her education. When Father was transferred from jail to the hospital and then home [in 2004], she went to Iran to be at his side, and of course at that time when Mr. Khatami was also the president, we were able via various intermediaries to gain promises of clemency for her to travel to Iran. They said to us that it was only on condition that she leave Iran within ten days and Azadeh still went, but unfortunately, she, who was no older than 19 years, was interrogated and harassed. What is interesting is that living outside of the country, we were not very familiar with the concept of the
[governmental organization] “Children’s and Youths’ Intellectual Development Organization, but Azadeh was interrogated under the auspices of this organization for hours, and she later said that she had lost hope of returning [to America].”
Ms. Pourzand had explained then, “It has been years since my father abandoned his typical social activities and has closed himself off from everything [political] with the goal of hearing his children’s voices again and being at his wife’s side and that of his children, but the judicial and security organs have not given him such permission. We only hope to be able to embrace our father once again and to take care of him.”
For Original in Persian click here.