Political Prisoner Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb Continues Hunger Strike Amidst Deteriorating Health in Ghezel Hesar Prison

Political prisoner Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb persists in his hunger strike at Ghezel Hesar Prison, facing a decline in health.

A reliable source close to Ahmadi Ragheb confirmed his unwavering commitment to the hunger strike, revealing alarming symptoms such as low blood pressure, lethargy, and diminishing consciousness. The severity of his condition is evident, with his palm turning blue. Despite his deteriorating health, prison officials remain unresponsive to his demands, while judicial authorities have initiated two new legal cases, accusing him of propaganda against the regime.

The source stated that Ahmadi Ragheb initiated the hunger strike in protest against these legal charges and the increasing number of executions. His concerns have been met with indifference from the prison administration.

Ahmadi Ragheb’s arrest took place in March 2023, leading to his incarceration in Evin Prison. In May 2023, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran imposed a five-year and eight-month prison sentence along with additional penalties. Notably, five years of this term are currently enforceable.

In September of the same year, he, along with several other political prisoners, was transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison. Ahmadi Ragheb has a history of previous convictions and imprisonments due to his commitment to peaceful activism. The current hunger strike underscores his continued resistance against perceived injustices and an appeal for attention to his grievances.

Tragic Suicide at Ghezel Hesar Prison Claims Inmate’s Life

On February 26, 2024, a devastating incident unfolded at Ghezel Hesar Prison as an inmate, identified as Hossein Jalali from Shiraz, took his own life by ingesting pills.

According to a source close to Jalali’s family, who confirmed this tragic occurrence to HRANA, the inmate had been incarcerated for drug-related offenses. Approximately seven months ago, he commenced serving a 25-year prison term at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj and succumbed to a fatal pill overdose.

Regrettably, HRANA has learned that Jalali passed away before reaching the hospital.

In 2023, the Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran documented seven deaths attributed to illness, twelve suicides, one case of self-immolation, and four instances of prisoners being murdered within prisons nationwide.

Four Political Prisoners on Death Row Executed

On January 29, 2024, a somber day unfolded at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj as four political prisoners on death row—Mohsen Mazloum, Pezhman Fatehi, Vafa Azarbar, and Hazhir Faramarzi—were executed. The previous day, they were transferred from Evin Prison to Ghezel Hesar in anticipation of their impending execution.

Despite international efforts urging Iran’s regime to halt the execution, these prisoners met their fate. Masoud Shams-Nejad, their legal representative, expressed his dismay, stating, “My clients were executed this morning, notwithstanding the fact that both preliminary and final indictments had established that the defendants were arrested before the alleged operation. It’s retribution before the crime, an irony which has now a reality.”

On July 23, 2022, Iran Police Intelligence (FARAJA) arrested them in the Sumay-ye Beradust District of Urmia County. Tasnim, a security-institution-affiliated news agency, reported their arrest as part of “a network of Israeli spies.” The agency claimed they possessed operational and communication equipment, along with explosive materials, and had entered the country from the Kurdistan region with plans to carry out unprecedented terrorist operations in sensitive, secure locations.

Approximately 80 days after their arrest, Iran’s state TV aired their coerced confessions, accusing them of spying for foreign intelligence and stating they had been apprehended in sensitive sites in Isfahan.

Their lawyer had earlier decried the due process and conviction as unjust and unfair, asserting that he and his clients were denied their rights throughout the proceedings.

Human rights organizations had questioned the details of these individuals’ legal cases, including the credibility of the charges, evidence, legal proceedings, and the performance of security institutions. In recent weeks, prominent groups and figures emphasized that the Iranian regime had scapegoated them through a setup case, mirroring a precedent set by the regime.

Execution of Inmate in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj

On January 23, 2024, Ghezel Hesar Prison officials carried out the execution of inmate Ahmad Asgarat, convicted of murder.

According to HRANA, Asgarat was implicated in the murder of a man, allegedly in collaboration with his wife, following an extramarital affair.

As of now, there have been no reports on this execution from official sources or domestic media outlets within the country.

It’s worth noting that on the same day, two other prisoners, Mohammad Ghobadloo and Farhad Salimi, were also executed.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Sunni Prisoner Farhad Salimi Executed in Ghezel Hesar, Karaj

On January 23, 2024, Sunni Prisoner Farhad Salimi was executed in Ghezel Hesar, Karaj, following more than 13 years of incarceration.

In this legal case, three other Sunni defendants—Ghasem Abasteh, Ayoub Karimi, and Davoud Abdollahi—were executed on November 5, November 29, 2023, and January 2, 2024, respectively.

A source close to Salimi’s family informed HRANA that they had not received any phone calls from him in the days leading up to the execution, and the family was not formally notified about the carrying out of the sentence.

The unnamed source, citing security concerns, expressed, “A psychological game was played with the Salimi family; no official took responsibility to inform them about his whereabouts, status, or any plans they had for him. The family was not even formally notified about the execution; we only learned about it through his fellow inmates. The family is actively seeking further inquiries and custody of the body.”

The roots of the case trace back to September 2008 when Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, was assassinated by unidentified individuals. In January-February 2010, Salimi and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection to the assassination.

During his detention, Salimi faced multiple charges, including enmity against God (Moharebeh), allegedly through sympathizing with Salafism—a charge he consistently refuted. After spending fourteen months in legal limbo, Salimi was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj, where he remained until his relocation to Ghezel Hesar Prison in August of the current year.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then assigned to Branch 15 of the court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for him and six other defendants—Anvar Khezri, Kamran Sheikheh, Davoud Abdollahi, Khosro Besharat, Ghasem Abasteh, and Ayoub Karimi. This time, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences for him and his co-defendants.

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Mohammad Ghobadloo Executed in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj

Mizan, the judiciary’s news agency, has reported the execution of Mohammad Ghobadloo, a detainee connected to the 2022 nationwide protests, in Ghezel Hesar Prison, Karaj.

Amidst growing controversy, Amir Raisian, Ghobadloo’s lawyer, publicly disclosed yesterday that despite the Supreme Court overturning the death sentence, he was informed of the imminent execution scheduled for Tuesday, January 23.

Raisian clarified, “The death sentence (Qisas or reprisal) had been overturned by the Supreme Court, and the case was transferred to another branch (Branch 5 of the Criminal Court of Tehran), awaiting the results of forensic re-examinations for the verdict. However, after several months, the case was unexpectedly reassigned to Branch 39 following a Supreme Court directive. Now, just hours before the scheduled execution, we have been notified of this sudden development.”

Raisian strongly denounced the execution, asserting, “This execution lacks any legal basis and should be considered a case of manslaughter.”

The execution of Ghobadloo has triggered widespread condemnation on Farsi-speaking social media platforms. Concurrently, Mizan released a video featuring Ghobadloo’s coerced confessions. The judiciary’s news agency has dismissed claims that Ghobadloo suffered from major mental disorders, including bipolar disorders.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Abolghasem Salavati, Ghobadloo faced charges such as “spreading corruption on earth through crimes against the physical integrity of people.” Additional allegations included “destruction of public property” and “acting against national security by causing unrest.”

During the court proceedings, Ghobadloo emphasized “being influenced by the psychological consequences resulting from the non-use of his medications on the night of the incident.” Simultaneously, the prison doctor of the Great Tehran Penitentiary and the prison supervisor confirmed the mentally precarious condition of the accused, a factor overlooked by forensic experts during the trial.

Execution of Three Inmates in Ghezel Hesar Prison for Drug Offenses

On January 17, 2024, Ghezel Hesar Prison executed three inmates convicted of drug-related crimes.

HRANA has identified two of them as Iman Sha’abani and Bahman Fathollahzadeh. The third inmate is an Afghan national whose name remains undisclosed.

Sha’abani and Fathollahzadeh received the death penalty in a legal case. Another co-defendant, Bamyar Fathollahzadeh, met the same fate last month.”

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. The lack of official information raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

 

Execution of Three Inmates at Ghezel Hesar Prison

Karaj, January 7, 2024 – The authorities at Ghezel (Qezel) Hesar Prison recently executed three individuals on death row.

According to HRANA, the inmates subjected to capital punishment were identified as Mohammad-Hossein Geravand, Kiomars Gholami, and Hamed Khodadad. The first two were convicted of offenses related to drugs, while the third was sentenced for murder.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following closely behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

 

Execution of Three Inmates at Qezel Hesar Prison

Qezel (Ghezel) Hesar Prison in Karaj recently executed three inmates who had been convicted of murder and rape.

HRANA has identified two of the executed individuals as Akbar Qara Gozlu and Ehsan Hamedi, both previously convicted of murder. The third inmate subjected to capital punishment was convicted of rape.

As of the time of this report, no official statements from authorities or coverage by domestic media outlets within the country have confirmed these executions.

According to data gathered by the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists, Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj witnessed the highest number of executions in 2023, with Zahedan Prison following behind. For a comprehensive examination of the details and statistics surrounding the executions in Iran, refer to HRANA’s report.

Two Inmates Executed in Qezel Hesar Prison for Drug Offenses

On November 28, officials at Qezel Hesar Prison in Karaj executed two inmates convicted of drug offenses.

The individuals, identified by HRANA as Eghbal Fathollahi and Mohsen Amraie, were transferred to solitary confinement one day before their execution.

No official sources or domestic media outlets within the country have provided coverage of these executions at the time of writing. The lack of official information raises concerns about transparency and accountability in the execution process.

According to data compiled by the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), between October 10, 2022, and October 8, 2023, a total of 659 individuals were executed by hanging in Iran, representing a 24% increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Seven of these executions were conducted publicly. Concerningly, many of the defendants were denied access to a fair trial and due process. For details and statistics, read HRANA’s report.