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Victims and Witnesses

A Letter From a Juvenile Inmate on Death Row

Mohammad Fadaei/Translated by Iran Human Rights Voice
June 6, 2008
Letter

He wrote in his letter:

I am 21 year old now. When first I went to jail I was 16 year old. I was a teenager, and like other teenagers, was still living with my childish dreams. I had my school books with me, and had no fear about the university entry exam. It was a sweet fear that did not come to me at all, and left me full of wistfulness.

I became involved in a childish street fight as a mediator and tried to prevent two people from breaking each others’ heads or noses, but I still cannot figure how one of those I tried to stop fighting died.

From the day my foot reached the police station, or indeed, when I went there as a witness to tell them what I saw during the fight, my life changed dramatically so that now thousands of doors have closed behind me. The time I spent in the police station were the most bitter days of my life. Such bitter days came to me as a nightmare every single night. I was beaten, lashed and was hung from the ceiling so many times that I lost my hope to live anymore. Whoever was coming to me beat me, I was tortured along with robbers and murderers in jail until during one of those unbearable nights I finally I gave up and I told them I was ready to write and sign whatever they wanted. Half an hour later, they gave me a piece of paper and a pen.
Without looking at what was written in the letter, I was forced to put my fingerprint on it. I swear I did not write anything and I did not know what was written on the paper. On the day of inspection they told me that I confessed that I was the killer. When I and my family could find time to figure out what was going on, the shadow of demise covered my life. My family hired two lawyers for me, but unfortunately, later we discovered that they were phony lawyers. Indeed, those who were not lawyers at all defended me in court.

I went to a jail that was full of crimes and criminals. Soon after, I found myself as a teenager among full-grown criminals. I was fighting with the walls of jail, the jailers and prisoners for my survival and to keep my dreams alive before I die. But my voice did not reach anywhere. One night I was taken to the gallows. When they asked me to write my will, believe me, I did not have anything to say since I did not know what dying meant to me. For me, my life was stopped at the age of 16 during which time I had to go to sleep while I was reading my books.
They put a noose around my neck and I closed my eyes for a second and prayed with my whole heart to God for help. Only a few seconds before removing the chair underneath me, with the help of another lawyer, it was found out that both of my lawyers were swindlers, and at the day of execution they did not show up. Thus, the execution was stopped at the very last moment. When I was going down the stairs from the gallows I saw my school and classroom in front of my eyes again. Again I felt like I was going to school full of enthusiasm for my school, books and notebooks.
Now, once more, I am waiting for execution. I am no longer afraid of death. I have lived with it for several years. I am have suffered from such nightmares for years and before me my dreams were executed. There is no single day in which I do not say to my mom that this might be my last call to her, and every day she cries. There are other people like me whose life has stopped at the age of 16. Also, there are many people out there who have not tasted the sweetness of their life for whatever reason and have to wait thinking that every night could be their last night. Today I am writing this letter to you and I still cannot believe that I have been separated from my school and my friends forever. I still cannot believe that I am grown up and my childhood and youth has ended. I cannot believe that I have to die in few days.
Today, on behalf of myself and all teenagers in situations like myself who are not very few, adjure for those who have experienced their childish dreams. On behalf of our families, I ask for making inquiries about our cases. Please, provide the circumstances such that our files and the files of other people in similar cases are investigated in a just environment, and without any aggressiveness and exhaustive and soulless bureaucracies in which our circumstances in prison will be ignored.
With the hope for life,
Mohammad Fadaei,

Born in 1987,

Karaj Rejaei Shahr prison