Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi’s Contact Colleague from Prison

Don’t Forget Us!!

Friday 15 February 2008

Kurds for Change: Fatemeh Goftari, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi* members of Azar Mehr NGO in Sanandaj, Kurdistan have been in prison for several months. During a telephone conversation with Negin Sheikholeslami, the Director of Azar Mehr NGO, the three women described their situation in prison. In an interview with Kurds for Change, the site of the Campaign for Kurdistan, Ms. Sheikholeslami provides information about the status of these women’s rights activists and their telephone discussion.

Ms. Sheikholeslami explained that: "in their short phone contact with me, these women stressed that they had not committed any crime. They had only sought justice and their only crime was to work for the equality of human beings—human beings who are discriminated against in this country because of their gender or ethnicity. We are only seeking our human rights, and as citizens we are asking that our rights be respected, they explained. These women went further to emphasize that: we have spent several months under intolerable conditions for crimes which we have not committed, and despite all the false accusations against us, we have not only lost our beliefs, but we have in fact based on what we have witnessed during our time in prison and in our discussions with female prisoners have come to believe more than ever before in the justness of our demands and our cause."

Hana, Ronak and Fatemeh Goftari referred to women in prison who feel that for years now they have been forgotten. No one inquires about them, and some of their family members have disowned them, preferring that they just disappear. Faced with the presence of women’s rights activists [Hana and Ronak] and a mother [Fatemeh Goftari] who advocates for peace in their midst, these female prisoners, have come to slowly trust, and in the hopes that their voices are heard, to tell their stories—stories which attest the role that social and family problems have played in their fate and their eventual imprisonment.

In closing and on behalf of her imprisoned colleagues, Ronak, Hana and Fatemeh Goftari, Ms. Sheikholeslam, the Director of Azar Mehr NGO, had this message to pass on: "these women explained that: we are not terrorists, and our activities were only intended to address and rectify gender and ethnic discrimination, and our aim is to bring peace and reconciliation to our country and between our people. Don’t forget about us…"


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