The Iranian Judiciary published a video clip announcing the closure of Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison in Karaj and the transfer of its inmates to other prisons. Since Monday night, July 31, 2023, at least 300 inmates, including many political prisoners, have been transferred to other prisons without prior notice.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, detainees of the nationwide protests, including Mohammad Baroughani and eight others accused in the Ekbatan case, were transferred from Gohardasht prison to Qezel Hessar prison in Karaj. All these detainees were held without trial and are charged with Moharebeh (waging war on God).
Mohammad Baroughani, Milad Armon, Alireza Kafa’i, Amir Mohammad Khosh Eghabal, Alireza Barmarzpournak, Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Hosseini, Hossein Nemati, Mehdi Imani, and Navid Najjaran were transferred to Ward 3 of Qezel Hessar.
According to reports, the new location lacks proper ventilation and cooling systems. The detainees are packed in a closed space in the suffocating heat of Karaj. Conditions in these halls are considered substandard with little ventilation. The ceiling of the yard, where prisoners take fresh air is covered with fences. The rooms are small, only 6 square meters, and the baths have no showers or hot water. There is no place for washing dishes, and dishes are washed in the washroom.
Qezel Hessar prison mostly houses violent criminals with drug-related and smuggling charges, and it is not suitable for political prisoners. According to the principle of separation of crimes, inmates detained on financial charges, murder and criminal charges, theft, and political and ideological charges should be held in separated and each group should be held in their own designated ward.
On Wednesday, August 2, 2023, political prisoners from Gohardasht prison, who are among the longest held political prisoners in Iran for more than 10 years, were transferred to Ward 8 of Evin prison. They were not allowed to take with them any personal belongings, not even the clothes they need.
An informed source said political prisoners Saeed Masouri, Afshin Baymani, Matin Ahmadian, Hamzeh Savari, Loqman Aminpour, Mohammad Shafe’ii, Saman Yassin, and two other political prisoners have been transferred to Ward 8 of Evin prison.
Saeed Masouri, Afshin Baymani, and Matin Ahmadian are among the longest held political prisoners in Iran, who have been imprisoned for 12 to 22 years.
The plan to transfer prisons outside of urban areas was proposed several years ago. However, in the wake various popular protests in support of prisoners last year, the Iranian regime became determined to pursue this plan.
Intelligence institutions intend to transfer at least 20 main prisons located in provincial centers to remote areas. The Technical and Engineering Office of Iran’s Prisons emphasized in June 2022 that the plan to transfer provincial prisons outside of urban areas would be pursued more seriously. In April 2023, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Eje’i, the head of the Iranian judiciary, ordered the closure of Gohardasht prison and the transfer of its prisoners to other prisons. The relocation and transfer were carried out under the pretext that Gohardasht prison was located in the city of Karaj.