A Comprehensive Report on the Latest Developments in Rajai Shahr Prison
HRANA News Agency – An estimated number of 50 political prisoners held in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj have been transferred to a new and security hall in recent weeks. There are the deprivations which have been imposed on prisoners in this hall where even the toilets are equipped with CCTV cameras. The situation has prompted political prisoners to protest. At least 16 prisoners are on hunger strike in a critical condition.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), 53 political-security prisoners detained in hall 12 of Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj were transferred to a hall which was previously rebuilt and developed by security forces, with the presence of a large number of prison guards, without prior notice on July 30, 2017. The hall is equipped with a large number of surveillance cameras and surveillance devices, as well as the shields that separate it from the rest of the prison.The families of these prisoners in the wake of their concern about the fate of their relatives, had referred to the judicial authorities who are responsible for this issue but these efforts had not resulted.
One of the people who participated in the joint pursuit by families, told HRANA’s reporter: “I along with several other families, went to the prosecutor’s office and then to the prisons’ organization and the office of the general directorate of the prisons of Tehran province and on August 23, 2017.”
The source continued,” Haj Moradi, (Deputy Prosecutor in Prison Supervision), said that those were prison problems and were not related to him. ‘We have taken the necessary steps, the rest is in the hands of Mr. Mohebi, the head of the entire prison organization.’”
The source pointed out that the Deputy Prosecutor in Prison had received the families’ letter and added “but the General Directorate of the Prisons Organization did not allow us enter his office, even though we were there for hours. They refused to give us an opportunity to talk. They said that this was not within their authority and it did not relate to Mohebi (the General Directorate of the Prisons Organization), and we should discuss the matter with Kahandani, prison supervisor of the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj.”
The source emphasizes in the end that “a letter was also filed at the office of the organization of prisons of the whole country and was scheduled to follow up the respond and a letter was filed in the office of Mr. Ajaee deputy of the judiciary at the same time.”
Another member of the family explained to HRANA’s reporter about the backstage of pursuing by families on August 23, 2017, “Instead of answering us, they expelled us from the building of the General Prisons Organization of Tehran Province by force and threatened us and Amir Ghaziani’s mother who insisted most of all that she would not leave the building until the officials would respond to her, was pulled out of the building by the physical encounter and disrespectfully which was really a painful scene for us.”
It is reported from prison at the same time that the prisoners continue their hunger strike in the protest. Right now the identities of 16 prisoners who are on hunger strike have been identified by HRANA, including: Saeed Shirzad, Ibrahim Firouzi, Saeed Masoori, Amir Ghaziani, Shahin Zoogitabar, Abolqasem Fouladvand, Vahid Sayad Nasiri, Mohammad Amirkhizi, Mohammad Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri, Jafar (Shahin) Eqdami, Reza Akbari Monfared, Payam Shakiba, Majid Asadi, Hassan Sadeghi, Mohammad Nozari and Reza Shahabi.
Among the strikers, Mohammad Nazari and Reza Shahabi also demand investigating their legal status in addition to protesting against the new prison environment.
It is said that the number of prisoners on hunger strikers was higher but some of them have ended their strike on the request of other prisoners for reasons such as medical problems. Among these prisoners is Saeed Pourheidar, who has changed his strike to a fast due to the use of cardiovascular medicine.
Also, Hassan Sadeqi was transferred to Farabi Hospital in Tehran because of vision problems on August 23, 2017, but despite the advice of the physicians, decided to continue his hunger strike.
It is reported that a number of prisoners, including Reza Akbari Monfared, Abolqasem (Javad), Fouladvand, Jafar Egdami, Shahin Zoghitabar, Saeed Shirzad, and some others were sent to prison clinic. Prison authorities have so far refused to receive formal letters from prisoners about the hunger strike and register them in the administrative system of the prison.
Dr. Karimi, medical officer of the clinic in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj told the prisoners that the daily and continuous health care was not possible in the clinic because the prisoners’ strike was not recorded in the prison system.
Also, Amir Ghaziani has been transferred to solitary confinement on August 23, 2017, due to breaking the surveillance equipment (Hearing devices embedded in the ward).
An informed source told HRANA’s reporter about other developments in recent days: “Prisoners who purchase their main food items annually, had delivered some of their food that was corrupted due to power outages of freezers on August 23, 2017.”
The guards threw the food, including rotten meat, into the hall way, but the prisoners refused to take them. While the fate of hundreds of kilos of raw rice which have been provided with personal funds of prisoners is unknown.
The prisoners were informed that their previous bank cards, which provide the possibility of shopping from stores in prison, were blocked with all their cash and new cards were issued for them, and the cash of previous cards was not transmitted to new cards.
It should be noted that all of the political prisoners were compulsively transferred to hall 10 without the permission to take their personal belongings and with the imminent presence of the prison guards and the security officials on July 30, 2017.
10 of the protesters were taken to solitary confinement but 4 of them were returned to the hall 10 after several hours and 6 others including Hassan Sadeghi, Saeed Masoori, Reza Akbari Monfared, Amir Ghaziani, Abolghasem Fouladvand and Jafar Egdami were remained in solitary confinement for several weeks before being transferred to the hall 10.
The number of strikers was reported up to 22 prisoners in the first stage, but the number of these people decreased for various reasons, especially the physical condition of some prisoners.
Another informed source who did not want his name to be disclosed, explained to HRANA’s reporter about the last situation of the prisoners: “Only one cooler which has been provided by prisoners themselves, works in such a large and crowded hall that practically has no effect on reducing the temperature of the hall.”
This source explained about the health status of the prisoners: “The general physical condition of the elderly prisoners is not appropriate. The medicine of some prisoners has not yet been delivered to them, and medical care is at the lowest level for patients.”
He emphasized that “despite regulations of the prisons organization and the principles of citizenship, there is no place to be reserved for CCTV cameras for prisoners to change their clothes. In fact, no privacy is possible for them.”
The source close to the prisoners in hall 10 emphasized that some of the prisoners’ equipment had been destroyed or left in the previous hall, including refrigerators, TVs, coolers, food plates and a water purifier.
The limitation of visits is another recent problem of prisoners in addition to the lack of permission to contact the family and the lawyer. Particularly prisoners who have wives or other family members in Evin prison, were deprived of this possibility while previously had regular visits to other prisoners.
It is said that the head of the prison, Mohammad Mardani, has a major responsibility in displacing and exerting pressure on the political-security prisoners of the prison, although he claimed that this was done on the orders of the judicial authorities.
However, he had claimed that such command had not been issued by the judicial authorities and even the command of transferring prisoners to solitary confinement for 20 days was done only by the decision of Mohammad Mardani and without a notice to the disciplinary council of the prison or the prosecutor’s office.
It should be noted that all of the political prisoners in hall 12 of Rajai Shahr prison of Karaj were compulsively transferred to hall 10 without permission to taking their personal belongings and with the imminent presence of the prison guards and the security officials on July 30, 2017.
Hall 10 of Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj (Ward 4) as the new place for holding political prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj was previously the place of holding a group of Sunni prisoners who were executed last year in mass executions.
After the executions of these prisoners this place was restored and developed from the security perspective by the security forces and under their supervision.
Changing the structure of this hall, by welding doors, adding CCTV cameras to all rooms, and even bathrooms and sanitary facilities, and possibly, taking other things to restrain and monitor, had taken time until the last month.
It is said that about 40 CCTV cameras are likely to be installed in this place. Also, all the pores of this ward are welded and covered, like windows.
The aforementioned ward does not have air conditioning, and prisoners have been deprived of having access to safe drinking water because of the lack of permission for transferring the water purification devices that prisoners had provided at their own expense.
In the wake of tensions, stressful conditions that were doubled in the cases of beatings the protesters, lack of air conditioning in the new place and lack of access to medicines, a number of political prisoners’ physical condition have deteriorated, and some of them were taken to infirmary for couple of hours on July 31, including Hamid Babaei, Peyman Kooshkbaghi, Adel Naeimi, Farhad Fahandejh and Saeed Pourheidar.
The prisoners have been told that this rare transfer has taken place at the behest of the presidential organization of the country’s prisons, with the aim of preventing the publication of news and reports from this place.
It should be noted that the transferred prisoners, who are estimated to be 53 men, are mostly from prisoners in other cities of the country, who have been exiled to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.