Iranian Sunni prisoners of conscience were attacked and beaten by Raja’i Shahr Prison guards in Karaj after protesting prison conditions and denial of medical treatment. Many were injured but are still in solitary confinement.
Reports indicate that the prison guards beat the prisoners on 27 August, 2019, using electric shock and truncheons.
The prisoners had previously staged hunger strike in July to protest the authorities’ abuse of the prisoners and ignoring their problems such as lack of space, not being allowed to telephone their families and loved ones, deprivation of light and clean air, and being locked up inside their cells without being allowed to go outside for fresh air.
A peaceful gathering of HEPCO workers was violently repressed Monday, September 16, after the state security forces attacked the protesters. Reports indicate that 15 workers were injured while 30 to 40 were arrested.
Workers from the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) in the central city of Arak held their gathering for the second consecutive day, protesting months of unpaid wages and the privatization of the company which has left the once productive company in shambles.
The protesting workers were holding a banner reading, “We HEPCO workers are making it crystal clear: Our main demand is the clarification of the company shareholding and ownership status following five years of being left in limbo. We will no longer accept merely a new company director.”
Torture and corporal punishment are common practices in Iran’s prisons and also mandated by law.
Iran denies use of torture in prisons despite thousands of reports since the early 80’s that prove torture has been used to extract forced confessions from prisoners or to break the morale of political prisoners.
Article 38 of Iran’s Constitution states, “All forms of torture …are forbidden,” and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a State Party, states in Article 7: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Nonetheless, accounts from former prisoners reveal common practice of rape, beatings, mock executions and other forms of torture in Iran’s prisons, especially against dissidents. Prisoners frequently reported to have died under torture.
According to reports, Gholamreza Ziaei, the new chief of the Iranian regime’s notorious Evin prison in Tehran, has been mounting repression against prisoners.
Gholamreza Ziaei has adopted new rules which put more pressure on prisoners. One of these rules is the removal of health insurance plans for prisoners. This means that prisoners and their families are responsible to cover all the health and treatment costs of prisoners. Those who don’t have the money are deprived of medical treatment. Even if a prisoner is dying, they won’t be transferred to the medical center before paying for their treatment out of their own pockets.
This is while Iran’s State Prisons Organization and the judiciary to which it responds, as well as prison officials, are responsible for the health and wellbeing of detainees. However, prison authorities have little accountability to any independent body, especially when it comes to cases of political detainees.
"Iran: The Power of the Alternative" is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Special Sections Department.
The Washington Times had a report about the annual gathering of Iranian in exile, which took place at Ashraf 3 in Albania, organised by the Iran’s largest opposition group.
Ashraf 3 is the city built by more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents who used to be in Iraq.
In this report you can read: “Under the plan, Maryam Rajavi would step in as president-elect until elections are held. Mrs. Rajavi — the wife of MEK co-founder Massoud Rajavi, who disappeared in 2003 — was the star of Saturday’s event. Her remarks were interrupted repeatedly by loud chants of “Iran! Maryam! Freedom!” and “From Ashraf to Tehran, we will fight to the end!”
Iran sentenced Saba Kord Afshari, a civil rights activist to 24 years behind bars of which she will serve 15 for protesting compulsory veiling.
Saba Kord Afshari stood trial on 19 August, 2019, and was charged with “spreading corruption and prostitution by taking off her hijab and walking without a veil,” “spreading propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion.”
The verdict was issued by the branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and the lawyer of Ms Kordafshari was informed about it on 27 August.
Her sentences were increased by one-half because of “numerous charges and previous records.”
The maximum sentenced to be implemented for her is 15 years for “promoting corruption and prostitution by removing her veil and walking in the streets without the veil.”
The Iranian regime has a history of cracking down on its opponents. Incommunicado detentions, arbitrary abductions, summary executions, torture and enforced disappearances are among practices commonly used against opponents.
Dissident intellectuals and students, ethnic groups and religious minorities, and members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) have always been targeted.
With the brutal suppression of the last demonstrations in Tehran and other cities which peacefully demanded freedom on 20 June, 1981, the regime’s crackdown took a sharp turn and climaxed during the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.
In summer 1988, a wave of intense killings began in Evin and Gohardasht prisons, in Tehran and Karaj, respectively. The mass executions then extended to other prisons all across the country. Tens of thousands of political prisoners mostly members of the PMOI were among victims of enforced disappearances in Iran and extra-judicially executed during the massacre.
Political prisoner Akbar Bagheri has started a hunger strike since 7 August, protesting lack of medical access in prison which led to his deteriorating health and legal conditions, and his exile to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
kbar Bagheri, incarcerated in the Great Tehran Penitentiary, was taken to the ward of dangerous criminals on the fourth day of his strike.
According to Iranian law, prisons are required to divide prisoners according to the nature of their convictions.
But political prisoners continue to be transferred to and held in prisons and wards with inmates convicted of violent crimes or with substance abuse issues.
Article 69 of the prisons organization’s regulations states that: “All convicts, upon being admitted to walled prisons or rehabilitation centres, will be separated based on the type and duration of their sentence, prior record, character, morals and behaviour, in accordance with decisions made by the Prisoners Classification Council.”