Iran: Political prisoner under increasing pressure in Ardebil Prison

Political prisoner Ali Pezhgol who is serving his 8th year in Ardebil Central Prison, was transferred from the political prisoners’ section to Section 1. This is against the principle of the separation of crimes. The transfer is said to have been ordered by the head of the prison and was accompanied by force.

It should be noted that Ali Pezhgol, who is from Hormozgān Province, was charged with “illegal crossing of the border, spreading propaganda against the regime, distributing and reproducing CDs of Sunni radical scholars, and membership in the Abdolmalek Rigi group”. He was detained in 2010 by agents of the Intelligence Agency and was convicted in two separate cases in the Zahedan Revolutionary Court. Mr. Pezhgol was sentenced to 15 years of prison to be served in Khalkhal Prison and another one year of prison in a separate case.

Prior to this, a source close to the political prisoner said that Ali was only distributing the speeches of prominent Sunni scholars and none of the other activities he was accused of were true.“The Sunni scholars live in Iran and distributing their speeches cannot be considered a crime”, the source added.

“Ali had once met with a member of the Rigi group, but was not informed that the person was from Rigi and had no specific intentiond,” the source said.

“When he was no more than 18 years old, he confessed to anything they told him under torture. The tortures were so severe, that according to him, he was willing to say anything to make it stop.

He was tortured and interrogated for 9 months in solitary confinement. Among the usual tortures was being lashed on his legs until they were black and bruised and until blood gathered until his nails. After that one of the more heavily built interrogators would kick his legs to increase the pain. The signs of torture are still evident on his body after six years. Ali was also subjected to mental torture. This included being verbally abused and threatened that his family members would be arrested. He was also stripped naked by the interrogators so that, as they called it, his “dignity” would be stripped from him. During the nine months of incarceration in solitary confinement, the sounds of others being tortured at nights prevented him from resting. Reports indicate that his mother who had come to see him from far away in the Zahedan Intelligence Agency was told that “we are going to execute your son” which had led to health issues for the elderly woman.

After his arrest, Ali Pezhgol’s father, who was a municipal employee, was fired without any explanation.

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