International condemnation has increased following the detention of Farangis Mazloum, mother of political prisoner and anarcho-syndicalist, Sohail Arabi. A number heavily armed men, believed to be members of the Iranian security forces, arrested her at the family home in the capital Tehran on morning of Monday 22nd July. As yet the whereabouts of Farangis Mazloum remains unknown.
The tactics of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s security and intelligence apparatus arresting the family members of political and ideological prisoners is said to be common practice however according to one source who witnessed Monday’s dramatic events said, “at first, they said they will bring her back in a few hours, but when they realized that she uses certain drugs due to her heart surgery and muscle problems, they asked her to bring those drugs with her.”
Following an increase in solidarity and awareness of her son’s continuing detention by the state, several weeks ago, Farangis Mazloum took part in a video message in which she announced that her son was severely tortured in prison. Due to his injuries, which included a broken nose, Sohail Arabi had been systematically transferred to different prisons for writing letters about the conditions of his imprisonment and for teaching English and French in prison.
Farangis Mazloum is undoubtedly the brave mother to Soheil Arabi, the 34-year-old anarcho-syndicalist political prisoner in Fashafouyeh prison in southern Tehran. Since June 15th 2019, Soheil Arabi has been on hunger strike in protest at the horrendous prison conditions and lack of security and safety for political prisoners.
“Sohail’s interrogator while mocking him for teaching English and French told him that you invite people to heresy with these actions,” she said in the video.
Mazloum continued: “Is teaching prisoners considered a crime? Does it deserve breaking his nose and kicking him in the testicles to a point that one of his testicles is crushed and he needs urgent surgery and hospitalization?”
She warned that the judicial and prison officials wants to kill her son, and that is why they do not allow him to be hospitalized.
Sohail Arabi was sentenced to death in 2013 for some of his posts on Facebook. He was accused of insulting the prophet and “spreading corruption on earth” which is a common accusation directed at political activists by the state forces.
The Industrial Workers of the World and the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee express its concern with the brutal treatment of the Mazloum family with the recent detention of their mother and that of the continuing incarceration of fellow revolutionary unionist, Sohail Arabi, as well as other members of the ‘Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran’.
A spokesperson for the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee in Ireland said “It’s clear that the continuing ‘ghosting’ of political prisoners by the Iranian regime remains policy in order to cover up their ongoing brutality and ruthlessness towards dissident voices within the growing revolutionary workers movement in Iran.
“We add our voices to the international call of solidarity with the Mazloum family circle to demand the immediate release of their loved ones and that of their comrades held by the Iranian regime. We demand an end to the systematic practice of torture of trade unionists and political prisoners and call upon those interested in human rights and social justice to add their voices to demand the release of Farangis and Sohail Arabi Mazloum.”