“In his last contact which took place on 25 March, Ehsan was under more intense pressure than he had been previously and he was regularly told to relay specific sentences to us, to the point that I felt that the goal of this call was not to wish a happy new year, but rather to tell us that he is under pressure in prison for our interviews outside. Pointing out that I was aware his interrogator was hearing my voice, I said that we have no other recourse but to inform [the press] about his situation, so that perhaps we can hear news from him in prison. I said that under the circumstances, these interviews are inevitable,” Nahid Kouhshekaf, Houshmand’s wife, told the Campaign.
According to Houshmand’s wife, despite his transfer, Houshmand is still deprived of the right to regular telephone calls and visitations. “During his call he expressed concern for me and it’s probable that they have also threatened him with my arrest because Ehsan constantly emphasized that I should be more cautious for the sake of the kids,” said Nahid Kouhshekaf.
Ehsan Houshmand, a journalist who reports on social issues, is a National-Religious activist and an ethnic issues researcher. On 7 January 2012 authorities arrested him and transferred him to Evin Prison. He was held in solitary confinement but was transferred and is currently in a cell with two prisoners in Security Ward 209.
Kouhshekaf said that her husband has only had one visit with his family in three months, during which he was very thin and depressed. “On 15 March we were finally allowed to see him after three months. Ehsan has become very thin and weary. The pressure during solitary was completely clear in his tone and body; he was very depressed and kept kissing the glass for my daughter and his mother. Unfortunately, he has serious ear pain because of the beatings during his interrogation. The prison doctor that examined him confirmed that his ear pain is due to the beatings.”
Houshmand’s wife also spoke with the Campaign about his charges. “Ehsan’s charges were mainly [based on] his interviews, for example the one with Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, and emails and contacts with his friends outside the country. But Ehsan hasn’t had a lot of contact with his friends abroad! I don’t understand their insistence to exaggerate this case … With whatever he told us in that meeting, Ehsan wanted to show us that the reason for his being in prison is so that he accepts the charges,” Kouhshekaf said, adding that he does not accept any of his charges.
Nahid Kouhshekaf told the Campaign that two days after the 25 March telephone call, she went with her children and her husband’s 80-year-old ailing father to the Moghaddas Court Complex, and tried to obtain a visit. She was told that Ehsan’s interrogator did not allow him to have visits. She pointed out that during the New Year’s holidays courts are shut down and nobody is responsive to the requests of prisoners families. “There was only a shift judge on duty who said he couldn’t do anything for political prisoners,” she said.