Latest Situation of Prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison: Hunger Strike Continues
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 18 prisoners are on the 25th day of their 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.
An informed source explained to HRANA’s reporter regarding the situation of the prisoners: “prisoners were transferred to hall 10, which was built and developed by security forces, after the inspection with the beatings of prisoners and taking the most personal belongings of prisoners, including medicines without permission, after the transfer of political prisoners to the yard on July 30, 2017.”
The source continued, “10 people who had protested were taken to solitary confinement, but four of them were returned to hall 10 after several hours, and six others were transferred to hall 10 from solitary confinement after several weeks.”
Hassan Sadeghi, Saeed Masoori, Reza Akbari Monfared, Amir Ghaziani, Abolghasem Fouladvand and Jafar Eghdami are the 6 prisoners of the 18 prisoners on hunger strike who have been so far identified by HRANA. The identities of 12 other prisoners are still under investigation. There are 53 political-security prisoners in this hall.
The number of strikers was reported to be 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.