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“I came from Evin, more Resolute than before” “Interview with Reza Entesari”


Interview with Reza Entesari
Shima Shahrabi

Only a few hours after his release attended before the camera and just did wish that a law based on the will and determination of people is formed so that the law is not misused as a tool for exerting pressure. Reza Entesari a few days ago after passing four years in prison was freed. He is a photojournalist and one of Gonabadi Dervishes who had been arrested in year 2011 while photographing thesession of dervishes. Reza Entesari months in prison for failing to respect the rights of prisoners refused to meet and went on hunger strike. For this reason, at first he was moved from ward 350 of Evin prison to the prison of Rajai-Shahr, afterward; was transferred to ward 8 of Evin jail. I spoke with him on the first day of his release from prison while many had come to see him.

Qestion: How were your press activities in connection with the Dervishes formed?
Answer: Indeed, when they began to demolish our place of worship (Hosseiniyeh), and also we went under the news boycott, subsequently, we intended to form a legal collection. Some friends took the responsibility of the advocacy work, we designed Majzooban Noor Website in order to inform about the condition of Gonabadi Dervishes and I commenced to work in the press section.

Question: prior to that, you had activities and collaborations with radio and television?
Answer: yes, but after year 82 (2003), due to the activities that I did I was involved with radio and television, afterward, after the events of 88 (2009) I was totally banned, meaning that I have not been allowed to enter the compound of radio and television.
Question: When arrested, some news was released that you were beat there, and also the news of your hand surgery, what exactly happened?
Answer: Although these guys do know that we are calm and peaceful spirit and nature, when they came I was told to lie on the ground, I did and then they began to beat me. They broke my hand as well as my rib bone. The first three days I was in the cell, I was hurt and had lots of pain and I had no any medicine and therapy. On the fourth day, they took an x-ray from the fractures, afterward; I was taken to the hospital for the surgery. This is an experience. These sorts of pains, broken hand and so on will pass but the pain of rights which is ignored and suppressed will remain and live on. Let’s pass this.

Question: You, indeed, strived and fought for your rights in prison, say, hunger strike or not going to visit hall and…..
Answer: We were on the hunger strike to protest the lack of medical treatment toward our fellows and friends, then we were transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj, but when we were returned from the mentioned prison to Evin prison we were sent to ward 8 so – called the exile of prisoners in Evin. It itself is a violation of law, because the principle of separation of crime was not respected. We protested but the authorities of prison mentioned that the transfer has been implemented under the order of the judicial officials and prosecutor. But according to the regulations and rules of prison, the responsibility of holding prisoners is with the officials of prison, not prosecutor. So, based on this rule, the separation of crimes should be respected but they overlooked this regulation. As I knew the regulation, at the time of my arrival to ward 8 I told them that if you say that you did not order this, so, tell those who released this order that Reza Entesari won’t comply the provision of this rule and will stay here with the same conditions which he was held in political wards.

Question: what conditions did not you comply?
Answer: In general wards if inmates want to go out of ward, to the campus of the prison, meeting hall, and also transfer to the medical centers, have to wear the uniforms of prison that indeed the ward 8 was included as well. But in political wards, the prisoner can appear in the mentioned places in his own and non-prison clothes. As I had told you earlier, I according to the regulations and rules of prison ignored the rules of this ward and eight months I rejected any meeting, because I used to wear non-prison clothes, subsequently, they hampered me to have any meeting and I didn’t want to be under the suppression. So, although my family used to come to visit me in the meeting hall, I didn’t go there. After eight months they accepted me to go to meeting hall in my clothes (non-prison clothes). It was the same about my dispatch to medical center, because according to evident regulations I wanted to go to medical centers in non-prison clothes, so; they prevented me from transferring and until recently I have not been allowed to go to the medical centers when I suffered from heart diseases.

Question: You spent your period of imprisonment in two locations which are known as the most notorious prisons and ward; in Rajai-Shahr and ward 8. How do you see the condition of these mentioned locations?
Answer: Ward 8 was too busy and crowded, and also it has a short celling because this building is designed for office building and not a where for holding the inmates. Leaving apart, more than two and half times the number of beds, prisoners are held there and also it has its own problems. Long lines for bathrooms and water closets, and also the observance of health issues because of overcrowding was hard. Rajai-Shahr prison differs from Evin prison on the whole. You enter a building, and you do not get out of here. Because everything, including the prison clinic, meeting hall and so on lie in the same building. What bothered me more than any thing in the prison was the presence of a large number of Baha’is who were imprisoned for their opinions and ideas and suffered from predetermined long-term sentences. It means, for instance, at the time of arrest they are induced to five years prison, then the court issues this sentence, and eventually this verdict is confirmed as it has been predetermined.

Question:Your sentence was eight and a half years, what happened that suddenly half of your sentence was suspended?
Answer: I don’t know really, because we had not petitioned. Once they decided to suspend half of our sentence. They took the files with them and then this has been done.
Question: Will these suspended sentences affect your activities?
Answer: All the concerns that we had before the arrest, we will have also until the full implementation of complete respect for legal rights, and with more attention and enthusiasm we will pursue them. If any of the legal rights for us and for the community of dervishes wants to be spoiled and violated, we will be definitely more determined to deal with. In fact, during these years we have obtained some experiences, we discovered and figured out a series of details on the different tasks and stronger and more resilient we will continue our way and objectives.

Question: What sort of career from now do you want to commence?
Answer: The same previous activities in the field of press and media, in the same direction, but with diverse position.