Yesterday, at least 50 prisoners of conscience in Evin Prison refused to appear at the visitation hall in protest to the treatment of prisoners at the prison. Subsequently, Javad Alikhani, Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, Saeed Matinpour, Arash Saghar, Farshad Ghorbanpour and Saeed Jalalifar were all transferred to Ward 209. Since they are all their finalized prison terms, this transfer is considered illegal.
According to several sources, a group of political prisoners inside Ward 350 has been on hunger strike over the past three days in protest to the lack of investigation into the death of Hoda Saber, a political prisoner who died after a hunger strike and subsequent heart attack on 10 June 2011. The Campaign believes his death was a result of the negligence of prison and judicial authorities.
A source close to the families of political prisoners told the Campaign that the “political fasting” among the prisoners may also serve to commemorate the anniversary of post-election public protests known as the “Green Movement.”
The source told the Campaign that the six prisoners were transferred because security authorities thought them influential in holding a ceremony inside Ward 350′s yard, in which political prisoners gave speeches and sang songs. According to these sources, Police Special Forces stormed the ceremony with sticks, ended the ceremony, and transferred the six inmates to solitary confinement in Ward 209.
Marzieh Rahimi, the wife of Abolfazl Ghadyani, a 66-year-old prisoner who has written several critical letters from prison to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, confirmed the news and told the Campaign that she was unable to visit with her husband on 11 June:
The atmosphere was very tense, because many families had come to visit their children from other towns, but were unable to visit with them. The prisoners decided to object to the lack of observation of their basic rights in prison, and refused to come to visitation on 11 June. Over the past two years, they have repeatedly asked for their basic rights to in-person visits, telephone calls, medical furlough, and medical attention, but none of these have happened. Therefore, on the anniversary of the election and its aftermath they did this.
Abolfazl Ghadyani was sentenced to five years in prison for “propagating against the state,” and “acting against national security
According to Marzieh Rahimi, prisoners who refused to visit with their families on 11 June included Abolfazl Ghadyani, Mohsen Mirdamadi, Feyzollah Arabsorkhi, Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, Javad Alikhani, Emad Bahavar, and Seyed Alireza Beheshti.
Last week, the families of 46 political prisoners in Ward 350 wrote a letter to Tehran’s Prosecutor, criticizing the lawlessness and deprivation of prisoners; basic rights. “We do not wish for our loved ones privileges beyond the rights other prisoners enjoy, rights that were observed even in this prison prior to your oversight of post-election political prisoners inside Ward 350. Are these too much to ask in a country that claims to implement Islamic justice?” stated the letter.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, one of the prisoners transferred to Ward 209, is a journalist and former editor of the economy desk at several reformist newspapers. On 20 June 2009 authorities arrested him at his home and sentenced him to seven years and four months in prison on the charge of writing articles critical of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic performance. Over the past three years, he was only allowed furlough once in March 2010. He has been deprived of in-person visits for the past year. The Tehran Prosecutor has even refused to allow his transfer to the prison clinic for a teeth treatment.
Ward 350 of Evin Prison is considered a general ward for political prisoners. The ward operates under the oversight of Iran’s Prisons Organization. Ward 209 of Evin Prison, however, illegally operates under the oversight of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. Most of the cells in Ward 209 are solitary cells. Since neither the Prisons Organizations nor other inspectors or outside organizations are allowed to visit or access this ward, intelligence officers inside the ward are able to mistreat political prisoners. Most reports pertaining to the mistreatment and physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of conscience come from this ward. In Ward 209 of Evin Prison, access to books and newspapers is not allowed, whereas in Ward 350 or other general wards within Evin Prison, prisoners are allowed such access. Ward 2-A of Evin Prison, under the oversight of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), has similar conditions to Ward 209.