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The mullahs in Iran stifle any critical voice. Many dissidents of the regime have been imprisoned, many have fled the country, and many have been killed. Hossein Ronaghi, a 36-year-old blogger and activist, is one of the few political activists who still lives in Iran and criticizes the situation in the country. He has spent six years of his life behind bars for this very reason.

“I was tortured in Evin prison. I lost a kidney. I still suffer from the consequences of torture, but the good thing is that I am still alive and I can go on,” Ronaghi told Bild. “Dozens of political prisoners were killed in the prisons of the Islamic Republic last year alone. The last political prisoner to be killed in prison was the poet, writer and filmmaker Baktash Abtin.”

The famous author, Baktash Abtin, 47 years old, died of COVID-19 in Evin prison on Saturday, January 8, 2022. After his death, the clerical regime transferred three detained activists and journalists, Alieh Motalebzadeh, Narges Mohammadi, and Keyvan Samimi-Behbahani, to other prisons in worse conditions, far away from their families. Behbahani, 73 years old, is one of the oldest imprisoned journalists in the world!

Hossein Ronaghi continued: “With such actions, the Islamic Republic kills imprisoned activists and journalists. Currently, the regime is using the coronavirus as a tool to do this.”

Ronaghi accuses the Western media of not covering the truth of Iran as they should. In the last four years, the Iranian people have risen up against the regime five times and staged nationwide demonstrations.

The propaganda of lobbyists and the Islamic Republic has a major influence on Western politicians and media. It was because of this propaganda that Iran’s return to the nuclear talks (JCPOA) was generally welcomed. Ronaghi rebukes the fact that the West has turned a blind eye to what is happening inside Iran; the West does not see how the regime has turned the country into a land of repression, censorship and violence.

Hossein Ronaghi is active on social media and is currently working against a very dangerous law aimed at “censoring the Internet in Iran.” In addition, he is always trying to draw the attention of the international community to the situation inside the country.

Ronaghi describes the internal situation: “The regime has divided people into insiders and outsiders. A person who is in the category of insiders is part of the regime and is its supporter, has more rights and freedoms. But if one is an outsider, he is severely repressed, discriminated against and humiliated.

Ronaghi, himself, has been a member of the “outsiders” category. He grew up in a religious family with three siblings. He later found his way through the Internet and worked with a group against censorship. He was first arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison! Hossein Ronaghi spent a total of six years in prison on trumped-up charges such as “acting against national security.”

Hossein Ronaghi has not lost his fighting spirit: “It was a cruel era; I was sick and deprived of medical care. My brother was also arrested. He was brutally tortured in front of my eyes. Today I live with a kidney. I lost a lot of things; but not my courage.”

Despite all the dangers, he wants to stay in Iran and continue to fight for freedom, even though he knows that he might be arrested again! Even for this interview, he had to talk to his lawyer first and get advice from him.

“Iran is my homeland, I never want to leave my country,” the young blogger tells Bild. “Fear is something I struggle with every day, but the truth that has been suppressed must reach the world. The Western media do not see what is really happening in this country. Here is a war-torn land on which a totalitarian regime casts its heavy shadow; a land that is facing terrible and many crises.”

Translation of this interview in Bild.

Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!

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