By: Marjan Golpira

Visually impaired man raises funds to free prisoner

News ID: 3831086 -
TEHRAN, Nov. 22 (MNA) – Alireza Mohammad Beiginia, who lost his eyesight in a clash with a motorcycle when he was 20, is on a mission to ‘free prisoners.’

Regardless of being hard up for some time now, Beiginia, the man of many talents, has taken steps of faith to collect donations for liberation of convicts from jail.

Just the other week, Beiginia raised Rls. 4,000,000 ($115) and released a convict, whose identity remains anonymous for protection of his privacy, from a prison in Isfahan, central Iran. “With that amount raised, we found out we could set a prisoner free in Isfahan who was waiting for as little money as we had collected.”

To do so, he said, “we originally targeted at Tasua and Ashura, however, we lagged behind in donations and aimed, instead, for Arbaeen”, 40 days after Ashura.

Tasua and Ashura, the 9th and 10th days of the month of Muharram, are days of mourning in Shia Islam to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Beiginia, too, the chief editor of the weekly Hezareh Sevom (The Third Millennium) website, believes that putting convicts behind bars costs the state and taxpayers a pretty penny rather than letting them loose on a small bond, yet under the supervision of probation officers. “It seems criminal that people convicted of misdemeanors face jail time.”

Beiginia said that people charged with misdemeanors, infractions or lesser offenses are to be placed on probation to serve community, a more cost-efficient plan, instead of being sentenced to jail. Therefore, the budget spent on state corrections and those locked up in jails can be used “more efficiently” elsewhere, he expressed.

To top that off, he argued, “the misconception here that the state punishes the convict whereas in reality their family is the one paying the price.”

The prisoner’s family, who tends to be from lower ranks of society, is left “high and dry” and the “grave burden falls on their shoulder.” A woman whose husband serves time is perhaps left with a family to raise and feed, and piled up bills and overdue rents to pay. “She is now in a very vulnerable and compromising position.”

If she turns out not to have any income, will have to go on job hunting mission and obviously in such economic downturn she will be having a tough time landing one, and if so, it’ll be just enough to make ends meet. 

So clearly, he sets out that incarceration can do the family and society more harm than good. Suffice to say, “Doomsday scenario awaits the entire family of prisoners.”

Today, 1.7 million Iranian women have become the sole breadwinner of their family due to loss of their husband to divorce, drug addiction, disability, imprisonment, etc., according to Habibollah Masoudi-Farid, deputy-Director of State Welfare Organization in Iran.

A challenge that calls for prompt attention of authorities, IRNA reported on its website. Opening out his heart, Beiginia is after giving us all a lesson in the mission he has taken up.

“Rather than awaiting people with no physical disability to assist us, the disabled, we made the right call to be of some help to them.” He said that if all of us go on in life tackling our own problems first, “There remains no time to reach out to others.” Beiginia is a textbook example of a man who never gives up in life, while rising up against all the odds.

With great willpower and a dogged determination, he refuses to see his disability as a debilitating factor. He is a fighter who fights his way, all the way.

He believes that we ought to find the good, even in less-than-great situations. “There’s always a way to find something positive. It may be hard to see at first, but one has to try looking closer.”

Beiginia has set his heart out on having more prisoners freed with the public’s help and asks for a pledge of support.  He urges everyone to pitch in a little as $1 to help free more prisoners.

“This is an example of doing great things with little money”, he expressed smilingly. Today, as you read this interview, Beiginia is on his way back to Iran from a journey he set out on to Karbala, a city in Iraq, for the occasion of Arbaeen.

The report originally published here

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