Memorial Service in Honour of Akbar Mohammadi
Date: August 12, 2007
Location: Haines Hall 39, UCLA
On Sunday August 12, 2007 I attended the remembrance service for Akbar Mohammadi, student activists, political prisoner and a real national hero.
Akbar Mohammadi was arrested during the famous July 9th 1999 (18 Tir) pro-democracy student demonstrations. He was accused of being one of the leaders of the student movement. The Islamic Regime officials tortured him for months in the most brutal way in order to obtain a confession from him, however even under the most brutal and inhumane conditions he refused to confess either against himself or against any of the other students that were involved in the demonstrations.
Eventually he was sentenced to death, but due to extensive international pressure his sentence was reduced to 15 years imprisonment. Akbar Mohammadi died in the Evin prison in August of 2006 while he was in hunger strike, and under very questionable circumstances.
It is strongly believed by many Iranians including myself that Akbar was murdered in prison by Islamic Regime officials, because of the great fear the Regime felt towards this brave Iranian man.
About 300 people attended this event. There were a number of speakers from different political parties, as well as number of great poets and Iranian artists. My two favorite speeches were of Manouchehr Mohammadi and Kourosh Sehati. Manouchehr is Akbar’s brother and was arrested at the same time as Akbar and went through the same tortures and was in prison with Akbar for seven years. He was forced to escape from Iran after Akbar’s death. He spoke about his memories of Akbar especially in prison.
Kourosh Sehati is also a student activist who was Akbar’s cellmate for two years. He also spoke about his memories with Akbar. Listening to these two men was a great pleasure and helped me know Akbar on a more personal level.
I also had the great honour to speak at this event; I attended on my own behalf as well as on behalf of Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group I am working with very closely. I also had the pleasure to deliver number statements that were sent from Evin and Gohardasht Prison in support of Akbar Mohammadi and his family. All statements were read throughout the event and I know his family very much appreciated the gesture of these freedom fighters in Iran who saw Akbar not only as a friend but also as a real leader.
On this special day I asked the people present to remember many other freedom fighters that are currently in the Islamic Regime dungeons and need our help. It is so very important to remember them while they are alive and able to fight, if we don’t remember them today and try to raise their voices, tomorrow might be too late. I ask everyone to please remember Keyvan Rafiee, Behrouz Javid Tehrani, Farzad Kamangar, Abolfazl Jahandar, Saeed Derakhshandi, Mohammadi Hassan Fallahizadeh, Abdolreza Rajabi, Amir Reza Mohammadi, Farhad Vakili, Ali Heydariyan, Mostafa Sangtarash, Abbas Shirza, Dr. Ebrahim Afshar, Hashem Shahiniya, Amir Hossein Heshmatsaran,
Alireza Karimi Khyrabadi, Mostafa Daryanavard, Reza Babatabar, Babak Dadbakhsh, Farshid Babayi Farzi, Abdolreza Najafiyan, Hossein Asghari and so many more…
In conclusion I thought it was a great event, although I would have liked to have seen more people participate in an event remembering a great national hero who gave up his life for a free Iran. It can be easy to lose hope especially when we saw 5000 Iranians attend a Dariush concert the night before this event, however only 300 people were willing to attend this particular event.
However I cannot and will not lose hope, because as long as Iran has such brave and freedom loving young men and women following in Akbar Mohammadi’s footsteps and fighting for justice, democracy and freedom the Islamic Regime will never win.
In memory of Akbar Mohammadi and in the hopes of having his dreams realized in the very near future
Long Live Freedom