Iranian political prisoner under harsh conditions in solitary confinement

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Prison authorities two weeks ago transferred political prisoner Mehdi Farahi Shandiz to solitary confinement in the Central Prison of Karaj.

The teacher and political prisoner Mehdi Farahi Shandiz has been deprived of calls and meetings with family members, and there’s no news of him since then, which has raised concerns about his conditions and health.

Farahi Shandiz is an activist and electrical engineering graduate from Isfahan’s Industrial University. He is now in the eighth year of his prison sentence.

Farahi Shandiz was first arrested in 2010 under bogus national security charges and for insulting Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime.

His prison sentence was later extended from 3 to 12 years under various vague excuses. During his incarceration, Farahi Shandiz has endured different physical and mental tortures. He has also been regularly denied medical care.

Farahi Shandiz has had no sort of communications with his family since February 10.

On February 11, the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, Farahi Shandiz had chanted slogans of “down with dictator” and “down with Khamenei” in protest to 40 years of torture and executions under the tyrannical rule of the mullahs.

After Farahi Shandiz’s demonstration, prison guards attacked him in his cell and violently transferred him to solitary confinement while beating him.

Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, 57, was sentenced to nine years in prison for three separate charges of “insulting the supreme leader,” six years of which were for charges brought against him while he was in prison.

The labor activist, who worked as a private high school tutor, was first arrested at a gathering on International Labor Day on May 1, 2009 at Laleh Park in Tehran. He was released nine months later after spending most of his detention in solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry’s Ward 209 at Evin Prison.

He was arrested again in June 2010 and charged with “insulting the supreme leader.”

During a month-long detention period in the Kahrizak detainment facility in southern Tehran, Farahi Shandiz was severely tortured and assaulted,” according to reports. He was released on bail two months later.

In May 2011, Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to three years in prison. Farahi Shandiz began his sentence in January 2012 and has been in prison ever since.

The first time Farahi Shandiz was charged with “insulting the supreme leader” (June 2010) was due to frustration from repeated failed attempts to retrieve his personal belongings, which had been confiscated after he was detained at a labor rally on May 1, 2009.

He was tired and angry so he shouted ‘death to Khamenei’ and then the guards at the Revolutionary Court arrested him.

During the first trial held in May 2011, Judge [Mohammad] Moghisseh summoned three guards from the Revolutionary Court, who testified that Mehdi had shouted ‘death to Khamenei,’ and for that he was sentenced to three years in prison.

When Mehdi was transferred from Evin Prison’s Ward 350 to Ward 8, the guards used various excuses to send him to solitary confinement and beat him up.

During these beatings, Mehdi again shouted ‘death to Khamenei,’ so they reported him and opened two more cases against him.

One of the two additional charges against Farahi Shandiz of “insulting the supreme leader” was approved by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, who sentenced him to three more years in prison. The name of the trial judge who sentenced him to an additional three years in prison for the third charge is not known.

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