Evin Prison Violating Iranian Law by Keeping Political Prisoners in Wards With Violent Offenders
Some Prisoners Attacked With “Brass Knuckles and Knives”
The authorities of Evin Prison in Tehran are violating Iranian law by refusing to move four political prisoners who have been attacked by other inmates to a ward for non-violent offenders, a source told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Between January and March of 2017, filmmaker Keyvan Karimi, political activist Ali Shariati, musician Mehdi Rajabian and Vahid Sayadi Nasiri—all imprisoned for their peaceful political activities—were beaten and threatened on several occasions by inmates convicted of serious crimes, said the source.
“They believe their mental health and physical safety are endangered because the authorities refuse to implement the rules on (separating prisoners),” the source told the Campaign.
According to Articles 8 of Iran’s State Prisons Organization’s regulations, “All convicts, upon being admitted to walled prisons or rehabilitation centers, will be separated based on the type and duration of their sentence, prior record, character, morals and behavior in accordance with decisions made by the Prisoners Classification Council.”
“The wards for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, such as Ward 350, have enough space and some are almost empty, but the judicial officials refuse to put all of them together because they have an irrational fear that the political prisoners might develop networks and organize,” the source told the Campaign.
“Most of the ordinary prisoners don’t mind political inmates and they all live alongside each other with minimum problems,” continued the source. “But some of the inmates have violent behavioral issues and can’t avoid getting into fights.”
“What’s worse is that sometimes the guards instigate these fights to abuse the political prisoners they don’t like,” added the source. “Also, it’s usually pointless to complain to the authorities about these thugs because (the guards) have immunity.”
The Campaign has learned that about 80 inmates of Evin Prison convicted for their peaceful political activities, as well as prisoners of conscience, who have been imprisoned for their personal beliefs, are being held in wards alongside violent offenders.
Families of Political Prisoners Speak Out
A letter from a group of families of political prisoners calling for the separation of prisoners according to the law was published by the Kalame website on February 26, 2017.
“The judicial branch, in violation of the law and its duties, is keeping political prisoners in wards with prisoners convicted of various other crimes,” said the letter. “We respect prisoners who are themselves victims of wrong economic and social policies, but some of them are creating serious problems for political prisoners and destroying their peace.”
“In several instances, the attackers were under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and used brass knuckles and knives against political prisoners,” added the letter. “Fortunately, their blows were not fatal and our dear political prisoners were only injured.”
“The judiciary is responsible for prisoners’ safety,” continued the letter. “We call on prison officials and guards to prevent any future tragedy by implementing explicit regulations for the separation of prisoners on the basis of the type of their conviction.”