When our father went to Iran for his first trip after the revolution, I wondered how long it would take him to finish his business and come home. A while later, they began facing hardships on their livelihood and business. I remember wondering what my brother and sister were feeling when they received the news that Karan and Afarin were in prison. The bureaucracy in Iran can be brutal from what I witnessed while I stayed with Karan and Afarin for the summer of 2009. Since July 20th, 2016, they have been held in “temporary confinement”. We know for a fact that they were in solitary confinement for at least one month. During their time in solitary confinement, twelve of the days were spent by the Sepah searching their house and offices in Tehran. During the stint in solitary, Afarin and Karan were questioned repeatedly about being spies.
What the IRGC found did not amount to anything outside of the statute of what a Zoroastrian or art gallery owner would be allowed to have within private premises. Since evidence for “espionage” were non-existent, originally we were led to believe that these charges were dropped. Soon we heard that they were brought up again by the presiding judge. Afterwards, Karan and Afarin were moved into a slightly larger cell which was 2 X 3.5 meters. The cell had 3 blankets on which to sleep, a communal bathroom, TV, a daily newspaper and two additional prisoners. Mind you, this is without going through the proper channels and statutes necessitated by law.
What Karan’s three children (Aundia, Cyrus and myself) want is the immediate release of Karan and Afarin as we know they are kind, and we are certain they are innocent and have committed no crime.
We ask for an open trial to the public with national and independent international lawyers be allowed to represent them, with unbiased jury (including of women, artists and Zoroastrian minority), and independent press and without pressures to influence the outcome.
All of these requests are commensurate with Iranian law.
If the trial comes to a head, and there is no other option, we will bring support from friends, family and numerous other supporters of civil liberties and the love for Karan and Afarin.
With Love from Your Son, Maziar