soheil arabi letter

soheil arabi letter

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    October 4, 2014

    These days I am like a mad dog that merely counts its own barks,

    bites its own paws,

    and longs for the screeching noise of a car’s brake,(1)

    longs for the screeching noise of a car’s brake


    Longs for the screeching noise of a car’s brake! I say this because I have experienced it.

    How much longer can one take this?? One more day, two more? Once, twice? How much longer?!!

    Everyday after they count the number of prisoners, he closes his eyes and thinks that the loud speaker will be turned on as soon as he is about to fall asleep, and will announce the list of those who will be transferred (no, rather exiled) to Rajai-Shahr to endure imprisonment among murderers, smugglers and… But no, it is not so easy as you may think! I wish exile, cohabitation of political prisoners with a group of dangerous bandits and prison visit hardships were the only adversities!

    Click Click… (the sound of the loudspeaker turning on), and they announce on the pager: Mr. Soheil Arabi must report to the gate of the prison hall for his sentence to be carried out (2).

    The time has finally come! As he climbs down the bed, he presses his daughter’s picture on his chest and remembers happier days. He is filled with regret and worries, worries about his wife and daughter’s future. A daughter who is sensitive and an introvert like him and has already been damaged, let alone having to face ….

    He puts on his clothes and prefers to leave without saying farewell.

    He is not in the mood to hear the stereotypical consolations, such as: Don’t worry, Soheil, they are probably just going to whip you. Yes, hopefully they are going to inform you that your death sentence has been repealed. They will just beat you and then you will only have to serve your one year sentence for “propagation against the regime”, or,

    • Where in the world do they execute people for writing articles and criticism?
    • My dear brother Soheil, Be strong and don’t have any sorrows. I will take care of Rojan and your family!
    • My dear school buddy, your are with me and my comrade …. The winter is over …. Oh Iran, Oh … (3)

    All these voices are mixed up in his head. He doesn’t hear anything anymore and before he knows, he is sitting in a solitary cell….

    He hears the prison guard saying: Get ready for your final visit with your family.


    No, it is impossible to endure these seconds!

    Every step of the walk between the solitary cell and the visiting hall feels like an execution!

    What can one say to his loved ones on his last visit? Is there anything he can say? Is there anything? On the last visit?

    The thought of this is one thousand times more painful than the actual noose hugging one’s neck!!

    Every step toward the visiting hall feels like an execution, and he longs for these moments to end. He longs to hear the morning call to prayer (4) and for his sentence to be carried out!

    He can no longer tolerate the feeling of being executed every second of the day!

    He wakes up with the morning call to prayer, but he is not in solitary confinement. This torturous sound comes from the loudspeaker of Evin prison’s ward 350, and gives the news of another dog day starting.

    And again, you have to wait for the pager announcing: Soheil Arabi must report to the gate of the prison hall ….

    Yes, this is why he longs for the screeching noise of a car’s brake (The final sound of the call to morning prayer in solitary confinement, before going to the gallows) (4).

    • This is in reference to a car running over a mad dog and is a metaphor for someone who knows he is condemned to death and is tired of waiting.
    • This means it is time for his execution. The repeated calling of death row inmates to report for carrying out their sentence is a common practice in Iran’s prisons as form of psychological torture.
    • These are the first lines of three famous songs that are sung in prisons to comfort death row inmates.
    • Executions in Iran prisons are carried out right after the call to morning prayer.

    International Committee Against Execution