Siamak Pourzand, Respected Journalist and Political Activist, Passes at 80

Saturday 30 April 2011

Change for Equality: Siamak Pourzand, well-respected and seasoned journalist and political activist, passed away on April 29, 2011 at the age of 80 in Tehran, in the absence of his wife and children. He was married to Mehrangiz Kar, lawyer and human rights and women’s rights activist.

Siamak Pourzand was arrested in 2001 in Tehran and sentenced to serve 11 years in prison. According to Amnesty International, as a result of extreme pressures during interrogations, he partook in a forced televised confession, broadcast by Iranian state television. Siamak Pourzand was held in solitary confinement for a long period of time and despite the fact that judiciary officials had promised the European Union that they would release him first from among a list ten political prisoners scheduled to be released, they failed to do so.

Siamak Pourzand faced numerous health problems as a result of injuries, both physical and emotional, suffered during his incarceration. Despite tireless efforts by Mehrangiz Kar and his children Banafsheh, Leily and Azadeh, who all live outside of Iran, to obtain permission for Siamak Pourzand to travel outside of Iran, authorities prevented him from leaving the country to receive appropriate medical care and be with his loved ones. According to a report by BBC News Persian the family had tried to obtain guarantees from officials within the government so that Pourzand’s children could safely travel to Iran and visit with their father, but their repeated requests for such guarantees were denied.

Alas, Simak Pourzand passed away, his longing to once again be with his children, unrealized. Siamak Pourzand was living testimony to the cruelty and injustice endured by political and social activists, who should be regarded as national treasures. May he rest in peace.

The team at Change for Equality express their great regret at the passing of a great Iranian journalist and offer their heartfelt condolences to his wife, Mehrangiz Kar, and his children, Banafsheh, Leily and Azadeh Pourzand. We wish them peace and strength during these difficult times.


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