Iranian Activist Reports on First Prison Visit Since Ward 350 Attack + Denial of Iranian AuthoritiesApril 26, 2014
Some of the prisoners of conscience who Iranian security agents brutally attacked in Evin’s Ward 350 were granted prison visits with their families on Monday. More than a hundred supporters including activists Narges Mohammadi, Mohammad Maleki, Mohammad Nourizad, and Arash Sadeghi were reported to have accompanied the families.
Following the prison visit Sadeghi published the text below on his Facebook profile. Sadeghi was released from prison in summer 2013 after global campaigns and pressures from human rights bodies and international authorities.
When we arrived at the gates of Evin Prison this morning we first noticed the heavy presence of plainclothes agents. From the people who were supposed to meet us there Dr. Mohammad Maleki, Mohammad Nourizad, Narges Mohammadi, and Behnam Moussivand came. We greeted each other and entered the prison’s very busy visitation hall. There was a crowd of about 150 to 200 people; some of the visitors were families of the prisoners and everyone else had come along for the support. [Iranian authorities] did not grant visitation rights to the prisoners who had been transferred to solitary confinement after [being attacked].
Suddenly the cry of a woman was heard. [I realized] that it was Saeed Matinpour‘s mom. [editor’s note This journalist and human rights activist based in Iran’s province of Azerbaijan is in solitary confinement and did not show up for the visit]. The families of those who had [the chance to] visit with their loved ones told Saeed’s mom that [her son] was so severely beaten that he had lost consciousness for a long time. Saeed’s mother beat herself [with her arms] while cursing [the authorities]. At the north side of the hall we heard the cry of another woman. It was Akbar Amini‘s mom. They had told her that her son’s neck was broken [as a result of being assaulted by Intelligence agents]. The next to hear about the injuries of her loved one was the wife of Omid Behroozi, an imprisoned Gonabadi Dervish. His head has [suffered fractures] and a ruptured vein in his arm. Numerous family members chant in the visitation hall: “Death to [Down with] the Dictator” and “Political Prisoners must be freed”.
The tragedy [of the assault on prisoners of conscience by intelligence and prison agents] goes far deeper. Colonel Imanian had ordered the attack on the prisoners of Ward 350 in Evin Prison. Prior to the assault, he had paged the security forces and said that “those who do not have the heart to beat up [the prisoners] should not enter the ward.” The raid sbegan, and the forces assault the prisoners with fists, kicks, and batons. Then the security agents separated 20 of the prisoners and transferred them to a room with no cameras where they beat up the prisoners severely. Afterward, the forces dragged the prisoners suffering from broken bones to a van parked in front of Ward 350. They shaved the head of the prisoners and transferred them to solitary confinements in Ward 240 of Evin Prison.
Many of the prisoners beaten and left behind remain in section 350 with broken legs and arms; they are not receiving any medical attention. The prisoners of Ward 350 have pledged to go on hunger strike if the injured do not receive medical attention within three days.
P.S. This is only a fraction of what happened during the security forces’ assault on Ward 350 of Evin Prison. I will provide more details about the incident in later posts.
PRISONERS ON HUNGER STRIKE
Editor’s Note: According to reports, there are approximately 40 prisoners of conscience currently on hunger strike in protest to the Ward 350 attack.
IRANIAN AUTHORITIES DENY THE ATTACK EVER HAPPENED
Report by Kaleme: Following the bloody assault on prisoners of conscience in Ward 350 of Evin Prison, carried out by Ministry of Intelligence agents, Esmaeili, the head of State Prisons and Security and Corrective Measures Organization (SPSCMO), has gone to the National Security Committee in the Iranian Parliament to, in his words, “enlighten and persuade the deputies who have been fooled by the international climate”.
Esmaeili has denied the incident altogether since the first hours after the news of the attack leaked. Before the deputies in the Committee he denied any prisoner was beaten or injured. He later claimed that the deputies were all convinced by his explanations.
In an interview with Tasnim news agency, Golamhossein Esmaeili said that he “attended the session to tell some friends not to be misled and deceived by prevarications”. He added: “In today’s session with National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, I explained to the deputies that nobody was injured nor was there any skirmishes, nor has anyone been transferred to a hospital”.
Esmaeili also threatened prisoners who spread the news of the attack and stated: “SPSCMO has created case files for those prisoners who are spreading rumors”. The Chair of National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Naghavi Hosseini, also confirmed Esmaeili’s statements and said: “Mr. Esameili made it clear that except one person who has hit his own hand against a glass and injured himself, nobody was injured, beaten or has had any problems due to clashes with inspectors…In my view, these prisoners resisted the inspection so that Zionist agents, Monafeghin (hypocrites, the term used to described the People’s Mujahedin of Iran) and seditionists (term used to refer to Green Movement supporters) could launch all this commotion against the Islamic Republic..The families claim that several prisoner have been killed, some have their hands and some had their heads dislodged, but we asked Mr. Esmaeili for explanation and he offered his explanations”.