Parisa Kakaee, the women activist and a member of the Committee for Human Rights Reporters, was arrested on January 1, after responding to a telephone summons and appearing at the office of the Intelligence Ministry. Currently seven members of the Committee are being detained in Ward 209 of Evin prison, and other members have been threatened and summoned


In the following interview, we spoke with Parisa Kakaee’s mother.
Q:What was Parisa like as a young girl?
A:She was always a kind girl. She especially showed kindness to those who were younger and more vulnerable than she was. When she was in kindergarten at the age of five, she took care of the younger children. When I came to pick her up from school, her teacher told me that Parisa helped prepare the younger children’s snacks and milk. She made sure that the kids were fed first.
Her love and generosity towards others continued over the years, through grade school and on. She helped children who had less money and support, children who came from single-parent families. She would save her allowance and buy presents for children who earned good grades. She would buy them socks, notebooks, and pencils. She was very popular with the otherchildren. As she grew older, she would talk to the mothers about their children and offer them support and advice. In high school, she studied the natural sciences, then decided to switch majors so that she could study psychology because she wanted to learn more about the social sciences and human behavior. She felt that she could contribute more to society through her work as a psychologist.
At the university, she continued to help others and volunteered at many organizations, such as the Ameneh Orphanage, the White Cane Center for the Blind, and numerous children’s organizations which helped serve underprivileged children. She helped their mothers enter training programs to enable them to work and support their children. She loved to hike and often took other children, who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to go, with her. She visited homes for the elderly and later, she was hired at UNICEF Iran and traveled to disparity provinces such as Sistan and Baluchistan.
She was always very independent. From a very young age, she would say that women should be independent and not be afraid.
Q: How did you learn of her arrest?
A:Parisa told me that someone from the Ministry of Intelligence called and told her that she had to be taken in. I told her not to go. But she told me not to worry. She said that she had done nothing wrong, was not affiliated with any political groups. Her work was to report on human rights.
Q: Have you had contact with her since her detainment?
Since she’s been taken in, she’s called about 3 times, with her interrogator nearby. Her father, brother, and I have been able to visit her twice for 20 minutes where we speak to her over the phone with a glass dividing us. She was in good spirits and said that she had not been treated badly. I had given her money and she used it to buy shampoo, soap, and clothes, since she did not have permission to accept clothes from home. She has access to her heart medication and when she caught a cold, was taken to the prison clinic and treated right away.
Q:Have the authorities mentioned the possibility of releasing Parisa on the condition of putting up bail?
A:No, we haven’t heard anything. But we wouldn’t be able to offer anything since we rent our apartment and have nothing to offer.
Q:How are you holding up?
A:I’m having a difficult time. I don’t understand why they arrested her. She has always done good for her community and has tried to help and empower others. She doesn’t deserve this.
I cry everywhere, people stop me in public and ask me what’s wrong. I can’t sleep. I worked for 32 years at the Ministry of Education and have received numerous honors for my teaching services. Parisa’s father was a high ranking officer in the air force, who’s now retired. He doesn’t leave the house, he’s so sick with worry. He waits for her phone call to hear her voice. When he does leave, he’s distracted. He almost got hit by a bus recently, he was so distracted, when he was crossing the street.
We were never political. We never got involved in political activities. We just want her to come home.
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