Reports Indicate the Death of Sasan Niknafs in Prison; The Family is Worried and Waiting for Prison Officials to Respond

As of Monday, June 7, reports indicate that political prisoner Sasan Niknafs has died in the Greater Tehran Prison due to medical negligence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, prison officials significantly delayed sending Mr. Niknafs to a properly-equipped hospital outside the prison, despite the clear urgency of his condition.

Niknafs has long suffered from diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver, gastritis, high blood pressure, and psychological problems.

The political prisoner was finally transferred to the prison’s health center two days ago where he reportedly died.

Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals sentenced Niknafs to eight years in prison on charges of conspiracy against the country’s security, propaganda against the regime, and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic and the leadership. 5 years of imprisonment applied to him after applying article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

36-year-old Niknafs, father of two girls aged 8 and 9, endured eleven months of incarceration in poor physical and psychological condition. According to his lawyer, during a recent meeting, the effects of self-harm were visible on his hands.

Prison authorities have not officially announced the news of his death at the time of this writing despite repeated inquiries from his family and lawyer.

 

 

 Political Prisoner Soheil Arabi Faced with New Charges

On May 31, Soheil Arabi, a prisoner of conscience in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, was taken to a virtual arraignment hearing on new charges.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 3 of the Evin Prosecutor’s Office held the hearing and charged Arabi with “propaganda activities against the regime and disturbing the public opinion”.

Mr. Arabi was accused of creating reports on the poor condition of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, criticizing the conduct of prison authorities, especially the prison’s assistant prosecutor, going on a hunger strike to support political prisoners deprived of  medical treatment, and writing statements in support of the nationwide protests of November 2019.

Arabi was punitively transferred from the Greater Tehran Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj last September. He was then summoned and acquitted by Branch 8 of the Shahr-e-Shahri Prosecutor’s Office for another lawsuit in December.

Soheil Arabi has been imprisoned since November 2013 and has been deprived of leaves of absence throughout his entire imprisonment.

Mohammad Turkmani Punitively Transferred to the Ward of Prisoners Accused of Violent Crimes in Greater Tehran Prison

On June 1, political prisoner Mohammad Turkmani was punitively transferred to section 4 of the Greater Tehran Prison. Turkmani is currently being held alongside prisoners accused of violent crimes.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the transfer was made in violation of the principle of separation of prisoners based on crime.

Turkmani has been serving a five-year sentence in the Greater Tehran Prison since February of this year.

In 2019, the political prisoner was sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Salavati, to seven years and six months in prison on charges of insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, insulting the leadership, propaganda against the regime, and blasphemy.

The applicable sentence was reduced to five years in prison by the court of appeals.

The principle of separating prisoners accused of violent crimes is not without precedent; Hossein Hashemi, another political prisoner who was punitively transferred to section 4, was violently beaten by cellmates on June 2.

Arjang Davoodi Transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj in Eighteenth Year of Imprisonment

Last week, 69-year-old political prisoner Arjang Davoodi was transferred from Zahedan Prison in Sistan and Baluchestan Province to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary and then to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, in 2016  Mr. Davoodi was transferred to Zabol and then Zahedan Prisons in Sistan and Baluchestan Province to serve his sentence in exile.

Davoodi is currently serving his 18th year in prison.

HRANA Recap: Recent Hunger Strikes in Iranian Prisons

Khalid Pirzadeh on a hunger strike in the Greater Tehran Prison

 

On May 31, political prisoner Khaled Pirzadeh went on a hunger strike for the second time this year in the Greater Tehran Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Pirzadeh has been denied visitations and leave in the 25 months since his imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Pirzadeh went on a hunger strike following the failure of authorities to fulfill their promise to agree to parole. Pirzadeh ended his hunger strike in March after authorities promised that his demands would be met.

In May of 2019, the political prisoner was sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, to 5 years in prison, and an additional 2 years for “insulting the leadership”.  According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, of the 7 total years, 5 can be enforced on Pirzadeh on the charge of “conspiracy and collusion”.

Khaled Pirzadeh underwent foot surgery in August 2020. His legs and spine were severely damaged during detention and required further surgery and physiotherapy. He was also barred from being hospitalized in December 2020 despite having a heart problem.

 

 

Iraj Hatami on a hunger strike in protest of continued imprisonment in Rajai Shahr Prison 

 

On May 30, Iraj Hatami, currently being held in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, went on a hunger strike to protest his continued imprisonment and the fact that previous time served in detention has not been counted towards his 10 year sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  Hatami was arrested by security forces in October 2010 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “collaborating with a hostile US government”.

Before his arrest, Hatami worked for the Ministry of Defense and spent two years and three months in military detention. Had this time been counted by prison officials, Hatami’s 10 year sentence would have ended last year. Mr. Hatami suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.

 

 

Farzad Samani on a hunger strike in the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center in Urmia

 

Farzad Samani, a student detained in one of the IRGC intelligence detention centers in Urmia, went on a hunger strike on May 30.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Samani has been on a hunger strike to protest pressure from the IRGC’s intelligence services and the extension of his and Sakar Eini’s imprisonment for the sixth consecutive time.

The undergraduate student was arrested in his dormitory at Kharazmi University in Karaj in December 2020, and was later transferred to the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center in Urmia.

So far, no information is available on the charges against Samani and Eini.

 

 

Hossein Hashemi on a hunger strike in Tehran Prison after his punitive transfer

 

On Tuesday, June 1, political prisoner Hossein Hashemi went on a hunger strike in the Greater Tehran Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  Hashemi is one of the detainees from the November 2019 nationwide protests.

Per the report, Hashemi was taken from the ward under the pretext of going to interrogation, but was then transferred to the 4th section of the Greater Tehran Prison, which holds prisoners accused of violent crimes.

It is said that Mr. Hashemi’s transfer took place following a verbal argument with Eliassi, the supervising prosecutor of the Evin court. Eliassi had previously threatened to move Hussein Hashemi to a place where he would regret his actions.

 

 

Abolfazl Ghasali went on a hunger strike in Evin prison in Tehran

Tehran resident Abolfazl Ghasali, currently serving out a sentence in Evin Prison, has been on a hunger strike since May 27.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ghasali demands to be granted leave of absence during the COVID-19 outbreak, release on parole due to family’s financial problems, and a retrial.

Ghasali has had several nosebleeds since the day he started the hunger strike. The prisoner is also said to have suffered heart and lung problems during his detention due to poor nutrition and poor prison conditions. He also went on a hunger strike in December last year to protest the failure to address his needs.

In 2018, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh, sentenced Ghasali to a total of 7 years in prison on charges of “Gathering and colluding and disturbing public order with the intention of committing a crime against national security”, and “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

3 years and 6 months of imprisonment are enforceable under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.

 

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Akbar Gholizadeh sent  to Tehran Prison After Appeal Denied

On May 12, 2021, civil activist Akbar Gholizadeh (Yashar Tabrizi) was arrested and transferred to the Greater Tehran Prison to serve out a 3 month and 1 day sentence

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Akbar Gholizadeh  was arrested on charges of “propaganda against the regime”.

The charge is said to be related to a news report he prepared about working children, the homeless, and grave dwellers (a particular form of homelessness in Iran).

Gholizadeh, son of Baitullah, has served time for his human rights work before. In March of 2018, he was arrested and then temporarily released 12 days later.  Gholizadeh was given this latest sentence by the Shahriar Revolutionary Court, which was then upheld by Branch 54 of the Tehran Court of Appeals.