Imprisoned teachers’ rights activist Mohammad Habibi has been denied family visits in Iran’s Evin Prison where he has been held on trumped-up national security charges since June 2018.
On October 30, the family of Mohammad Habibi were not allowed to visit him, and they were told that Habibi has been denied family visits since October 21 to November 12.
It came after Mohammad Habibi along with another prisoner of conscience Farhad Meysami signed an open letter protesting abuse and inhumane living conditions in prison.
In the letter they declared their refusal to abide by “arbitrary rules” and said that due to the violation of prisoners’ rights by the authorities, they would no longer follow all prison rules.
It is worth noting that after the appointment of Gholamreza Ziaei as the new chief of Evin Prison on July 27, 2019 unlawful restrictions against political prisoners mounted.
One of these rules is the removal of health insurance plans for prisoners. This means that prisoners and their families are responsible to cover all the health and treatment costs of prisoners. Those who don’t have the money are deprived of medical treatment. Even if a prisoner is dying, they won’t be transferred to the medical center before paying for their treatment out of their own pockets.
The new restrictions also include limitation on family visits. In the past three years, Iranian political prisoners were granted one visit every 28 days even if they didn’t make any requests in advance. But the new head of Evin prison has revoked this rule and set a new requirement that political prisoners must file a written request if they want to have visitors.
In their letter, Habibi and Meysami stated, “Given the numerous flagrant violations of prison regulations and other laws regarding the rights of prisoners, as well as the prison director’s refusal to respond to the prisoners’ repeated requests to discuss matters, from now on we will not feel obliged to comply with your arbitrary rules.”
“From now until you promise to observe the prisoners’ human and legal rights, we will not obey your so-called prison rules,” they wrote.
Mohammad Habibi was arrested on 10 May 2018, for participating in a peaceful gathering of teachers in Tehran.
He was convicted of several spurious national security-related charges stemming entirely from his human rights activities as a teacher trade unionist, and sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison, 74 lashes, a two-year travel ban and a two-year ban on “membership in political and social parties, groups or collectives”.