Iran: A call to save lives of hunger striking political prisoners
On July 30, the Warden of Rajaii Shahr Prison along with special execution guards wearing black masks, attacked Hall 12 of Ward 4, beating 53 prisoners there and damaging their belongings. They broke the air conditioners and water purification device, tore up prisoners’ personal photos and notes, and stole their money.
A number of these prisoners are vocal supporters of the Iranian opposition, PMOI/MEK.
The prisoners subsequently transferred to a high security section in this prison which is equipped with CCTV and is separated from the rest of the prison by security dividers. More than 60 surveillance devices and 40 closed-circuit cameras have been installed in this hall to prevent any leakage of reports outside. All openings and windows have been covered and sealed with metal sheets.
Some of them were transferred to solitary confinement with handcuffs and shackles. 18 of these prisoners went on hunger strike to protest harsh treatment by prison authorities and guards as the prisoners were not allowed to take their medicines and personal belongings with them.
The 18 are identified as, Khaled Hardani, Reza Akbari Monfared, Shahin Zoghitabar, Saeid Masuri, Jafar Eghdami, Payam Shakiba, Abolghasem Fuladvand, Hamid Babaei, Hamzeh Savari, Saeid Shirzad, Hassan Sadeghi, Majid Assadi, Loghman and Zanyar Moradi, Ebrahim Firouzi, Amir Ghaziani and Vahid Nasiri.
In solidarity with their fellow inmates, Misters Mohammad Bannazadeh Amirkhizi, and Mohammad Ali Mansouri also staged hunger strike in Hall 10 of Ward4.
Some of the prisoners are presently suffering from poor health as they have been denied their necessary medications and reasonable ventilation in the new building.
Relatives of one of the prisoners expressed concern about these conditions and said, “The Iranian Judiciary’s security system is apparently trying to create concentration-camp-like conditions by stepping up control, imposing more restrictions and depriving prisoners from their basic needs. Security officials in the Judiciary also intend to undermine political prisoners’ power by jeopardizing their health.”
Iranian authorities have attempted in every possible way to force the prisoners to end their hunger strike. They have threatened two death-row inmates, Loghman and Zanyar Moradi, with carrying out their sentences if they continue their hunger strike. They have threatened others by depriving them of any family visits.
This is not the first time that the Iranian regime has targeted defenseless political prisoners who have to go on hunger strike and risk their own health to convey their voice to the outside world.
Human Rights Monitor urges all international human rights organizations and authorities, particularly the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zayd Raad Al Hussein and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights, Ms. Asma Jahangir, and the rapporteurs on torture and the right to life to take urgent action to save the lives of these political prisoners and send a delegation to Iran to investigate treatment of political prisoners.
We also call on all democratic governments to make their relations with the Iranian regime conditional upon improvement of the human rights situation in Iran and release of political prisoners.