On December 21, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a prisoner of conscience, writer and member of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was dispatched from Evin Prison to a hospital outside the prison after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. Earlier, he and another prisoner of conscience, Baktash Abtin, tested positive. This has raised alarms about the spread of the virus amongst prisoners in Evin Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mahabadi was hospitalized due to a high fever and other severe symptoms. Abtin was hospitalized earlier in Tehran due to poor health and COVID-19 symptoms.
Mahabadi was sentenced on May 15, 2019 by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Mohmmad Mohammad Moghayeseh. His sentence included one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and five years on the charge of “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against national security”. On September 26, 2020, he was arrested and sent to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.
Mahabadi’s career as a writer kicked off in 1978 with the publication of his book “Local Children”. Some of his works include “Nothing Comes Out of the Sack, But What Was In It”, a seven-volume story collection called “My Favorite Stories”, a collection of research titled “Razi War”, and the 19-volume tale collection “Encyclopedia of Iranian Legends and Fairy Tales” (co-author Ali Ashraf Darvishian).
HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, has confirmed that yesterday, September 29, civil activist Arsham Rezai was relocated to the quarantine section of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj after testing positive for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 surge in Iran’s prisons has been a major threat to the health and safety of their inmates, who frequently do not receive timely or adequate medical care from authorities.
Arsham Rezai was arrested on January 7 of 2019 by the regime’s intelligence and security forces. On November 13 of that year, he was released on bail for 2 billion Rial (approx. 8000 dollars).
On February 26, 2019, the Islamic Revolutionary court sentenced Mr. Rezai, without informing the defendant’s attorney that the court session was taking place, to eight years and six months imprisonment on the charges “propaganda against the regime”, ” collusion against national security”, and ” offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, from the charges, the severest punishment of 5 years was enforceable.
To serve his sentence, on October 18, 2020, he was arrested and transferred to a solitary confinement cell in Rajai Shahr Prison. Finally, he was relocated to a public section of this prison on December 19 2020.
On January 20 of this year, on new charges, the revolutionary court sentenced him to an additional 15 months imprisonment (which was later reduced to 11 months on appeal) and 4 months penal labor.