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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Remembering Ramin Hossein Panahi

Ramin was the member of an opposition party that held different political beliefs, but in Iran, being different is a crime! Discrimination and racism is at the heart of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This new blog will appear in my upcoming book, "Dear God: Please bring freedom to Iran."

Ramin Hossein Panahi lived a very short time on this earth. He died by hanging at the age of 24. Life didn’t give him the opportunity to make his dreams and wishes come true. Ramin had many dreams. He had hope for his nation, his family, and worked tirelessly for the freedom of his people. His friends remember him as a humble person of great character. He had a sense of humor and remained clam in adversity. He rarely got angry or mad at his friends. He honored women, children, and stood up against the injustices against the Kurdish people, because he was one of them!

            Ramin didn’t have the privilege of knowing his elder brother Anwer for a very long time. Anwer meet his fate after being arrested by the Iranian regime and then sentenced to death. At the time of his brother’s execution, he was studying hard in high school. Unfortunately, his hard work didn’t pay off. Ramin wasn’t able to enroll in college because of his family’s involvement in politics and also because his brothers we Peshmerga. Peshmerga literally means, “those who face death.” Ramin’s brothers were members of the military forces of the federal region of Iraqi Kurdistan, and opposed by the Iranian regime.

            At the tender age of just 16, Ramin was arrested by the Iranian government and held in solitary confinement by the intelligence service for 45 days. Although beaten and tortured while in prison, Ramin learned at an early age how to survive and resist the cruelty of the regime. With both of his brothers suffering together in prison, the responsibility for managing the home fell on the shoulders of Ramin at such a young age. Both of his parents and his other two sisters were very ill, so Ramin had to grow up very quickly. While being the head of the house, Ramin continued his counter-political activities against the Islamic Republic. He spoke out against the death penalty and because of his human rights activities he was arrested jailed, and tortured many times by the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.)

            Following in the footsteps of his brothers, Ramin crossed the border, coming into Southern Kurdistan and became a Komala Peshmerga, an armed communist ethnic party, exiled in Northern Iraq. This group had been heavily involved in guerilla warfare against the Iranian government. By joining this party Ramin had once and for all sealed his fate in his struggle for freedom against the Islamic Republic.

            In June 2016, The IRGC opened fire on Ramin and his three friends as they were riding in his car. Ramin was seriously wounded in the thigh, his left arm and in the back. All three of his friends were killed. In a mockery and miscarriage of justice, Ramin was sentenced to death in a “kangaroo”14-minute trial for simply belonging to an opposition party. He was falsely charged with being armed with both a rifle and a grenade.  During the investigation period, Ramin was denied access to his lawyer and his family, as well as any details of the evidence against him. Intelligence officials repeatedly pressured him to make a televised confession on Iranian TV, apologizing for his beliefs, and speaking out against the Kurdish people and his family. Ramin vehemently refused and instead began a deadly hunger strike protesting the charges against him. Amnesty International took up his case and began a powerful campaign protesting against his execution. Thousands of Iranians took to Twitter in a tweet storm calling for the government to stop his unjust execution. The Twitter storm proved to be a powerful tool that was successful in postponing the execution, but unfortunately on September 8, 2018, after months of brutal torture, Ramin was finally hanged in Raja’I Shahr prison, in Karaj, Iran.

            The Iranian government had once again succeeded in silencing another human being, simply because his political and religious beliefs were different from theirs! In Iran, if you are a Christian, or a member of the Bahai’ Faith, or a member of the Komala Party, then according to the regime, you are an enemy of God, or one who is acting against national security.

            The discrimination and racism is so deep and so embedded in the twisted hearts and minds of the Iranian regime. They cannot and will not accept a person who believes differently or contrary to the official Islamic religion. There is no freedom or tolerance in their perverted minds.

            Whenever there is talk about humanity, Rami’s name will come to mind. Whenever there is talk of courage and steadfastness, Ramin will be remembered. He will never be forgotten. He was a mighty symbol of resistance against the government. One day when the Islamic Republic finally collapses and a democratic regime replaces it, there will a bronze statue of Ramin in its town square. He will forever be a courageous symbol of the Kurdish nation. He stood strong and majestic as a mountain until the very end, refusing to be political pawn in the devious hands of the evil Iranian government.