Mehdi Karroubi by criticizing the stubborn attitude of the prison authorities with regards to political prisoners’ demands stated: “One should sit down and listen to their concerns. I am very worried about the consequences of this hunger strike and the health of the prisoners and I urge my children to end their hunger strike and the authorities must also pay attention and follow up on their demands, because hunger strike has very harmful consequences which shows itself in future.”
According to the report by SahamNews, Etemad Melli Party’s official website, Mehdi Karroubi met with a group of families of the imprisoned journalists. At the beginning of the meeting, the families of imprisoned journalist, while speaking of the situation of their loved ones in prisons, thanked Mehdi Karroubi for his efforts and follow-ups and demanded the authorities and elders of the establishment pay more attention to journalists.
In continuation Mehdi Karroubi expressed his deep concerns and said: “I am extremely distressed by the country’s situation and the confrontations that are being taken place against journalists and the families of [political] prisoners.” He added: “I follow up every day and I do all I can but I am extremely worried about the status of the loved ones who have gone on hunger strike. Hunger strike has very negative consequences, which will show in the future. These loved ones are also young and may end up developing diseases which is worrying.”
Mehdi Karroubi added: “One should sit and listen to what they have to say. I am really worried of the consequences of this hunger strike and the health of the prisoners; and I ask my children to end their strike and the authorities must also pay attention to their demands and review them.”
He continued: “Unfortunately, very disturbing reports of the conducts of the interrogators against the [political] prisoners are being received and this way of governing is not acceptable. In a religious government, a government that its constitution is based on people’s votes and in a government that has formed based on commendable values, such a way and method is not acceptable. Even in a nonreligious government or a dictatorship, such methods are not observed. We fought with the corrupt, autocratic and dependent government of Shah but even that corrupt and autocratic government also at the end respected some boundaries.”
Mehdi Karroubi referred to the events that happened following the last year’s rigged presidential election and the inappropriate treatment of the people, and said: “Last year, some thought that by some crackdowns they would be able to end the issue in a short period of time, but at that time I said that this issue could not be wrapped up. This is a demand and will of the people, who energetically went to ballot boxes and abruptly witnessed their votes being stolen. I told them that the demand of the people is their votes. Don’t make the slogans and demands go beyond this. At that time I suggested that some groups get formed and the issue be investigated; for instance representatives of the candidates and the Guardian Council be present and the election once again be investigated.”
In continuation of his remarks and while criticizing the economic situation of the country, Mehdi Karroubi referred to the disagreements between the parliament and the administration and said that the administration does not even tolerate this parliament that was formed by disqualifying two thousands of the candidates [by the Guarding Council] and confronts the parliament and everyday issues become more complicated.
Mehdi Karroubi also pointed out the reports regarding the journalist Reza Tajik being violated in prison and said: “Humiliating treatment [of the prisoners] to break the spirits of political prisoners is a method that has been used over the last year and these treatments are in contradiction with Islam and in Islam we are commanded [by God] that we are not allowed to [even] look into people’s personal lives.”
Karroubi continued: Who are this group really that have the government in hands? Who are they really? If the government was in the hands of the defined right wing group, it was not this worrying but we don’t know who these people are and where they have come from. We only pray that they don’t do something that country reaches the critical and irrecoverable point. In any case, the economic condition of the country and our (the country’s) isolation is extremely distressing.”
While commemorating late Esmael Tatary, the representative of people of Kermanshah province (west of Iran), Mehdi Karroubi said: “A respected person, Mr. Tatari, who was also present at the warfronts and used to be responsible for Basij, passed away but they (the government) didn’t even allow to hold memorial service for him. In 1349 (1970), Mr. Saeedi was arrested [by Shah’s agents] and then was martyred. At that time, late Ayatollah Taleghani prayed over his body and they opened the mosque’s door and held memorial service for him. Now someone has passed away but they don’t allow to have memorial service [even] at his district.” Karroubi emphasized: “These methods will not work.”
Mehdi Karroubi hoped that justice will prevail and said: “People have paid for the establishment greatly and God willing, the establishment and the country will return to their main and correct path.”
In this meeting, Mehdi Karroubi also pointed out the Day of Journalists and said: “According to international statistics, Iran has become number one in imprisoning and confronting journalists. Since last year and until now several journalists have been imprisoned, some of whom are released on bails; also some [journalists] have left the country. They are inarguably assets of the country. We (the country) have distanced educated people, experts in culture and academia, who are our pride.”
At the end Mehdi Karroubi stated: “In any case, we are in a bad era. The condition of journalists has become depressing and is not satisfactory. The judiciary has also lost its independence and is under pressure. These methods are not acceptable to many officials in the judiciary but they are under pressure and cannot do anything.”