Imprisoned Kurdish Author Beaten at the End of his Hunger Strike
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Friday, August 17th, political prisoner Ali Badrkhani’s transfer between the wards of Urmia Central Prison (OCP) quickly devolved into admission at the prison’s medical clinic.
Badrkhani had agreed to end a seven-day hunger strike in exchange for a transfer from solitary confinement back to OCP’s labor ward. A group of about ten violent offenders accosted Badrkhani during the transfer as prison officials stood by and goaded the attackers.
One week earlier, Badrkhani had declared the hunger strike in protest to his transfer to the labor ward, a measure he alleged was disproportionate to his criminal charges, and where he said he experienced harassment at the hands of prison officials. In immediate response to the hunger strike, OCP officials transferred Badrkhani to solitary confinement, where he remained for one week until reaching an agreement with the OCP warden and the judge presiding over his case.
Per the terms of their agreement, Badrkhani was being transferred back to the labor ward when a group of about ten violent offenders intercepted Badrkhani and beat him, bruising his face and injuring his shoulder with a sharp object. He was sent to OCP’s medical clinic for treatment.
The attackers were led by labor ward manager Merhali Farhang, who managed the OCP’s political prisoner ward from 2010 to 2016. During his tenure, Farhang reportedly secured the transfer of several violent prisoners to his ward, in order to intimidate and exert pressure on the inmates under his supervision. Several violent altercations between political prisoners and violent offenders have been attributed to Farhang’s management.
Ali Badrkhani was arrested in the winter of 2015 and released on bail within a few months. Upon his release, he was barred from completing the last semester of his Master’s Degree at the University of Tehran. On March 16, 2017, he was convicted of threatening national security and sentenced to a three-year prison term by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia. He was taken to Ward 3-4 of the OCP to serve his three-year sentence the following spring.
Ali Badrkhani, a.k.a. Shwan, is a Kurdish author who holds dual citizenship of Iran and Iraq. His works include Turkey, Democracy, and the Kurds, Deliberate Discourse, Refugee of Love and Kurdish Folk Tales.