Rebel with a pause

Amir-Parviz Mirsayafi says his brother was beaten to death


Rebel with a pause
by Peyvand Khorsandi

News that 31-year-old Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi has received an eight-year jail sentence for being a US “spy” comes a month after 29-year-old blogger Omid-Reza Mirsayafi was found dead in Evin prison and deals a blow to President Obama’s change of foreign policy tack with Iran’s clerics.  

It is, however, an apt blow – Obama’s now famous Norouz speech, in which he stopped short of praising Ayatollah Khamenei’s taste in underwear, eclipsed reports of Mr Mirsayafi’s death.

On 28 March, Voice of America Persian’s website published a report that quoted Reporters Sans Frontieres’ Reza Moini, Amir-Parviz Mirsayafi, Omid’s brother, and Masoumeh, his sister. In that report Amir-Parviz accused the prison authorities of having beaten his brother to death – it was accompanied by a head-and-shoulders shot of Omid’s roughed-up body.

His sister, Masoumeh Mirsayafi, has lashed out at inconsistencies in the account of events after Omid-Reza’s death given by the prison authorities, the coroner and the hospital.

This development, however, appears to have escaped English-language news outlets and bloggers with an interest in Omid’s story, while it has been reported in London’s Persian-language Keyhan.  

Below is a translation of an excerpt from the VOA Persian posting. The original Persian did not appear to have been edited and was frankly, sloppy, possibly because it’s a transcript of a broadcast. Either way, VOA Persian might consider translating its articles into English in future and following up this report. (Curiously, Reporters Sans Frontieres’ website doesn’t seem to carry the quotation below in English or Persian.)  

What Roxana Saberi or the detained blogger Hossein Derakhshan were doing in the Islamic Republic in the first place is their business. What’s clear is that they – and all those whose names do not feature in press reports – should be released immediately. And next time Mr Obama claims that “a common humanity” binds himself, the people of Iran and the Islamic Republic’s leaders together, he might check whether a blogger has been killed that week.

Amir-Parviz Mirsayafi [in translation from VOA report by Payam Yazdian, 28/03/2009]: Watch

The morning after we heard [the news of my brother Omid’s death] we went to identify the body. I saw the body myself. The left ear had suffered severe bleeding. His nose was bloody. His face was bruised. The back of his shoulders and his back were bruised and he appeared to have a skull fracture behind his ear such that the sheet his body had been wrapped in was covered with blood behind his head. Then, there [it’s not made clear where precisely] they handed the body over to us. We sent it to the coroner in Kahrizak. It was there for four hours and it seemed a post-mortem had been done but no explanation was given to us about what they found.   

We were given a form to fill in that had questions about Omid’s medical history, all of which we answered in the negative – he was not ill, or an addict or anything else. There was a section that asked whether we had any complaints to make. I wrote “yes” although there were people there who suggested that saying yes might result in the authorities withholding the body. I said in that case we don’t want the body, what use is my brother’s corpse to me?  

I wrote that we do have a complaint – the authorities at Evin prison are responsible, this is a suspicious death that must be investigated – and signed the form. After four hours we were given the body [for burial].  

When his body was undergoing the ritual wash, his ear still seemed to be bleeding despite the fact that we had been told he had taken [overdosed on] pills and his blood pressure had dived and then died…

My father worked as a hospital nurse for 30 years and says such a thing is not possible and that he had clearly suffered a beating. One of us managed, at the time we were identifying the body, to take a picture of the right side of Omid’s face. If only it had been taken from the left side.

We had been told that we would be given the coroner’s report in a week. When we spoke to others with similar experiences, they told us the report might take two to three months. We have no faith in receiving the true coroner’s report. They are sure to be under pressure to write things that agree with the government’s version of events. I believe that Omid suffered a beating… and the poor thing had such a delicate frame… I am sure that the attack made him fall ill and that he died as a result. 


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All Big lies

by Kourosh Aryamanesh (not verified) on

All bunch of lies. There is no torture, no political prisoners, no dissidents, no social injustice, no poverty, no drug addiction, no crime, no executions, no human rights violations, no restriction of any religion specially GHOM E ZALLEH BAHAI, no holocaust, no homosexuals. Where do you people come from? The picture is modified by Photoshop for sure. We would have no problems if you people followed the ESLAM E NAAB E MOHAMMDI and the SHARIA laws just like Taliban. Didn’t Imam Khomeini leave us specific instructions to conduct our lives accordingly? This guy dies of natural causes possibly overdosing on blogs and who gets blamed for it? The Islamic regime. Get your facts right.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

Please identify which of your last questions are rhetorical, and I would be happy not to answer them.


ARi: My questions were

by sdf (not verified) on

ARi: My questions were rhetorical, and your pompous attitude does not add to your credibility.

Where is your evidence that VOA has not adhered to "good journalism" convention?? Do you have information to the contrary?

Are you saying that VOA did not verify its source or did not do fact checking? Until you prove otherwise, your accusations are baseless.


Tragic indeed...

by alborz on

... and I am afraid that we have not seen anything yet.

I believe in Justice and I have no doubt in my mind that when it is served, it will consume the entire Iranian nation.  I already grieve for their fate.



Is the picture real

by Dear me (not verified) on

Scratch and sniff technology will soon arrive so apologists for the Mr Khamenei and ecin prison smell stench of the ISlamic republic.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

Standards in journalism have been enumerated by several academic and professional organizations. For example here is a list of rules drawn up by The Society of Professional Journalists. Fact checking and source verifying are always included in such lists.


good journalistic

by sdf (not verified) on

good journalistic standards?? define that? by whom?

There are hundreds of stories in the past 30 years with absolutely no journalistic problems that have not and will not be widely reported. This is nothing new. The MSM is complicit in enabling the IRI because the West does not want democracy for Iran. The West wants the mullahs in Iran as long as they can to keep Iran backward and destitude, period.

If it were reported by the IRNA or Kayahan, then it would have satisfactory to you?



Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

What I am suggesting:

The reason the story hasn't been more widely publicized is that the original reporting does not meet good journalistic standards.

What is my motivation:

Indicate what such standards include (original image) so that this very important story gets the exposure it deserves.


one of many crimes

by Arash Kamangir (not verified) on

Mirsayafi is one of many intelectuals who have been murdered by a regime who claim to represent God on Earth and its president gives lecture to other nations about human rights and humanity.
Mirsayafi is one of a few intelectuals who chose to stay in the country they loved with whole heart and he could not bear to see a criminal band of mullahs to rot his beloved land. Mullahs will pay for sure one day for all their crimes.



by Ayatoilet (not verified) on

When a 29 year old dies or is killed in Islamic Republic's prisons it is the Zionist's fault, because they oppress the Palestinians. Do I make any sense?


Ari, what are you

by sdf (not verified) on

Ari, what are you suggesting? Are you trying to tell us this is fake picture? Are you trying to accuse the VOA of purgery and fraud??

What is your real motivation in creating doubts? Why are you trying to portray that heinous crimes like this one is out-of the ordinary for the iRI?

Azarin Sadegh


by Azarin Sadegh on

After spending a few days away from my laptop and the news, I opened's page and this picture hit me like the lightning...

I'm speechless. I don't know what to say...I just posted it to my facebook and told my friends that this young man used to be handsome ... Even if I had already read the emails about Delara and Roxana, but nothing was more shocking than this image. 

I know I'm going to get angry later, but right now, I'm still shocked. How about you?



Please send this link to as many as newspapers in yur community

by Amir Nasiri (not verified) on

How can we pretend we are men?
How can we pretend we are Iranians?
How can we pretend we love our country?
How can we call ourselves human?
How can we be such a cowards and just express ourselves on this site and do nothing else?
How can we sit quite for 30 years and let these animals destroy our country, kill or sons and daughters, humiliate our women and we pretend nothing is happening?
How can we let our people starve to death while we have agreat life styles here?
How can we let these cockroach, fascists take our country to another war while 90% of the poultaion is not even approvong their existence?
We Iranian don't hate Israelis or Jews or Bahais or anyone else.

We Iranians are just been oppressed by a regime that has us by our throat and threatens to kill our families if we speak.
We Iranians are not Ahmadinejad or IRI, we are rational and just people.
We the son's and daughters of Cyrus and Darius.
We love poetry, great food and party.
We admire other cultures.

I ask to take apoll and ask Iranian around the world of how many of them will favor referendum in Iran.

We need change and we need to have people to bring upon the change. We need let these animals know that threat and violence will not take our identity and our pride away from us.

We need to let the rest of the world know that we are part of the international family and we will contribute to the the better of this world.

We need to show to the world that we are not fanatics and we don't approve of stoning, or public hanging or public lashing of our women and young girls and boys.

We need to show to the world that we are Iranians and we are the peope of Pesria.

Zendeh Bad Iran, Irani va Omid Jaan
Ruhesh shad bashad


In his nowrooz message Obama

by Meehan (not verified) on

In his nowrooz message Obama said that the Islamic regime of Iran must first stop terror.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

Thanks for considering my point. I've already emailed VOA for the original image. For we jaded Iranians there are so many points to connect, we really don't need more evidence to prove to ourselves what's going on in Evin. We can still help keep the human rights process moving because solid evidence hits harder during international negotiations, where human rights advocates can piggyback their causes on top of other political agendas. For example, recently released CIA documents--probably because of pressure from civic minded US organizations--has helped keep serious focus on the absues at Guantanamo. To prevent the IRI from taking advantage of these revelations, thereby continuing prisoner abuse, we need equally clean and solid evidence to present to the international human rights arena. The original image of Omidreza's condition at the time of death is very important, because as far as I know, it is the first forensic document that is able to physically contradict official statements as to the cause of death. Let the NY Times ignore that evidence!

By the way, sorry for the English response. My Farsi keyboard is a human rights violator in itself.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

اری جان مومنت

Shazde Asdola Mirza

البته پیشنهاد جنابعالی بسیار متین و منطقی‌ ست، و مورد حمایت این حقیر.  ولی‌ به روباه گفتند شاهدت کیه، گفت دمبم!  مملکتی که توش یه لیوان آب خوردن تو ماه رمضون، چهار تا موی رنگ کرده از زیر روسری، یا حتی پیرهن آستین کوتاه مردونه، هفتاد تا شلاق داره.  کشوری که توش یه کلمه انتقاد به رهبر و ولایت فقیه، شکنجه و زندون داره.  حکومتی که به آسونی مخالفین رو خفه میکنه یا با قمه تیکه تیکه؛ کارش خیلی‌ وقته که از سند و مدرک گذشته!

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

من با ولایت فقیه مخالفم  

And in defending against the IRI's assault on the freedom of speech, I want to make sure that my ammo isn't tainted. It would weaken the human rights cause if I blogged about Omid's brutal mistreatment only to have the IRI publish a verifiable image that contradicts my evidence. Evidence of Omidreza's death by beating seems to be there; so help the human rights cause by demanding to have it presented in an incontrvertible format: a format useable by honest journalistic standards.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

بابا شما هم انگار که نوبرش رو آوردین!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

کتک زدن، شکنجه کردن، قپونی، مشت و لگد، سر تو فاضلاب، تجاوز جنسی‌، بستن مجرای ادرار، کشیدن ناخن ها، سوزوندن گوشت و پوست، شوک الکتریکی‌، اینها همش جزو برنامه‌های تفریحاتی هتل اوین هستند.  کل این "بسته تفریحاتی" رو به انضمام محل اقامت، میتونید با یه جمله "من با ولایت فقیه مخالفم" خریداری فرمایید!  کجائ دنیا یه همچین هتل خوبی‌ سراغ دارید، و یه همچو قیمت مناسبی؟


A Question

by Abarmard on

Is the above picture of Omid Reza? 

If yes then how is the person say that he THINKS he was beaten? This clearly shows that there was a beating. I am a little confused here. Where is the doubt coming from? Based on this picture, do you really need to see blood from ears to be convinced?

I just don't get the text here. I look at the picture and doesn't match the description of the text above. Please clarify. Thank you.

(How can someone be so sick to be able to do this kind of torture?) 

Ari Siletz

Please help cause

by Ari Siletz on

"This development, however, appears to have escaped English-language news outlets and bloggers with an interest in Omid’s story..."   It would help serious human rights promoters if Persian-language Keyhan or VOA website published a link to the uncompressed picture taken of Omid's face, exactly as the image came out of the camera. This would be more solid evidence than any coroner's report from Iranian authorities. 

Or if Iranian authorities wish to challenge the authenticity of the image, they should post an uncompressed image of their own. Any tampering can be detected by experts.



by ayatolah haji (not verified) on

زندان اوین رو بد ساختن سقف کوتاهی داره من رو هم چند شب بردن اما بعد فهمیدن موج شیمیائی هستم ولم کردن . سر این بیچاره زندانی ها به سقف می خورد و برای همین مرگ ومیر زیاده احمقی نژاد هم بر علیه نژاد پرستی قیام کرده دیگه از این خنده دار نمی شد برای چی سالن رو ترک کردن مردم پول می دهند تا شو خنده دار ببینند آن وقت داش احمق ما شوی خنده دار گذاشت و همه زدند بیرون..وقتی همه را باز رسی می کنند اون یارو چطوری کلاه گیس قرمز با خودش آورده بود داخل


The biggest injustice to

by Pace Lover (not verified) on

The biggest injustice to those killed innocently and those who're for a civil society in Iran, is committed by those like the author who utter hateful extreme emotional and stupid speeches like Obama admiring Ayatollah's underwear!, etc. Every time someone tries to move away from violence and promote peace and civility, angry folks like the author step in and promote what else??!!?

There are two ways in life: Violence or civility. Violence breeds violence. Civility breeds civility. Civility brings justice. Violence brings more dead and tortured.


Anon.. laughing..You Cretan...

by delldaar on

Look at the bruises on the face and the neck of this innocent man. He did'nt died of waterboarding,,,you should know better about the tourcher methods of your Bassigi and bache akhound friends.He died of blows to the head and neck.continue laughing till the time that you and your compatriots have to answer for these atrocities, then we shall see , who,s laughing..


to: shazdeh

by shamoniri (not verified) on

shazdeh asdolah: You're hilarious. Are u sure you're not a mollah yourself??LOL


My condolances to his family.

by Tahirih on

May this writing and vison of Bahaullah bring peace to every wronged one in Iran:


Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá (Tihrán), for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and  gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his favors unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation. Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee “the Day Spring of His light,” inasmuch as within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been conferred upon thee—a name through which the Day Star of grace hath shed its splendor, through which both earth and heaven have been illumined. Ere long will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in the gracious favor of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus hath it been decreed in the wondrous Book.( Gleanings from writings of Bahaullah, page 110-111). 


The Torch Has Been Passed on…

by LalehGillani on

With heavy hearts, we march forward, remembering the fallen in every step of the way.

Please join the army of bloggers in Iran by writing articles and posting them on web sites accessible to Iranians. Our voices must be heard louder and stronger than ever!


Mr. Obama wants to make friends with those murderers!!!

by Wishful thinker (not verified) on

Well who's going to help Iranians?

Iranians are not helping Iranians. Everybody is for him/herself and their pockets and the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth is very eager to probably hug and make friends with those criminals ruling over Iran.

So who will avenge those poor souls? I am afraid we are going to see a hell of a lot more of these injustices.

I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel.


خدا لعنتشون


خدا لعنتشون کنه این سادیست‌ها رو که به هیچ احدی رحم نمیکنند. روزی اینها هم به سزای اعمالشون خواهند رسید.



condolences to you and your family

by shirazie (not verified) on

The Pen is and always will be mightier than the sword.

I can not come with words to express my sorrow and anger for destruction precious lives.

My condolences to you and your family

Shazde Asdola Mirza

امان از این پله‌های زندان اوین!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

اون خانوم زهرا کاظمی بیچاره هم چشماش ندید و از پله‌های اوین سکندری خورد و مرد! اصلا میگن سر هر پلکان هتل اوین پنج تا علامت و اعلان هست که میگه: "مواظب این پله‌ها باشید"!

خوب گمونم این پسر بیچاره هم چشماش کور بود و دندش نرم، و هر چی‌ بشش گفتن که، با چشم و گوش باز تو اوین حرکت کن، سرش نشد.

وگر نه، شما از هر بنده خدایی که پا تو اون "کارخونه آدم سازی" گذاشته سوال کنید، بجز از انسانیت، صفا، مهربونی و محبت "سربازان گمنام امام زمان" چیزی نداره که تعریف کنه! ایشالا یه فرصتی بشه که، جوونای ایرون بتونن تلافی این ۳۰ سال محبت و مهمون نوازی رو سر برادران بازجوی اوین پیاده کنند!