Urmia Prisoners of Conscience End Weeklong Hunger Strike

Posted on: October 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – A mass hunger strike of Urmia Central prisoners of conscience ended on its fifth day after prison authorities engaged to addressing prisoner complaints of rampant abuse.

Strikes were underway as of October 16th, when prisoners launched a protest against a violent raid of the Political Ward (Ward 12) by special forces that left a number of prisoners wounded.

Divided between Ward 12 and the Youth Ward’s prisoners of conscience, protesters declared that the restoration of their legal rights would put an end to the strike.

In a recently-issued statement, strikers asked inmates’ families to appear at the front gate of Urmia Central on October 21st to demand justice for those inside. The statement impelled the head of the prison to invite groups of strikers for a sit-down in the prosecutor’s’ office– an invitation they declined, a close source said.

During the hunger strike, at least one prisoner, Habib Amini, was sent to the prison clinic for treatment following a decline in his health.

Below is a translation of the aforementioned statement. Its signatories asked to remain anonymous. :

“Pursuant to the hunger strike of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience at Urmia Central Prison that began October 16, 2018, the families of these and other prisoners are asked to appear before the Central Prison of Urmia on Sunday, October 21st to demand restoration of the legal and Shari’a-granted rights of their children, in a show of support for their legal and judicial demands.

This protest is a declaration of dissent with the extraordinary oppression and discrimination faced by prisoners and their families in this city. In a state of material and psychological insecurity, prisoners here live under surmounting pressures. We hope that officials have the compassion to reduce this targeted oppression.

Finally, we ask that all sensible minds be moved by this news, and react with the same power they displayed over the three recently executed Kurdish political prisoners and the missile offensive on Kurdistan.”

*

The Ward-12 raid occurred on the evening of October 15th, when political prisoners came to the defense of one of their comrades who had been physically assaulted for arguing with prison personnel. In response to their objections, authorities and special forces, numbering more than 50 and armed with with batons, tasers, and tear gas, stormed the political ward and laid into the inmates there. That same night, authorities assaulted and injured a number of prisoners of conscience in the Youth Ward.

Kamal Hassan Ramazan, Ahmad Tamooie, Osman Mostafapour, and Touraj Esmaili were among the first prisoners beaten in response to their objections of a group assault on their wardmate Hamid Rahimi. Personnel identified only as “Eskandar” and “Rezaie” reportedly commandeered additional Urmia prisoners to deal blows to the four men, breaking bones and teeth, and cutting one of them with a sharp object.

Ramezan, Tamoo’i, Mostafapoor, and two more Ward-12 bystanders, Hassan Rastegari and Kamran Darvishi, were among those injured in the onslaught that followed. The latter two were transferred to solitary confinement; Rastegari has since been returned to Ward 12. “Hassan Rastegari was badly bruised all over,” the source said, adding that prison authorities then sicced fellow prisoners on political detainees for a second time.

Urmia Central Prison authorities have a history of ruling my corporal punishment. On October 8, 2018, prisoner Morteza Zohrali’s right arm was broken in a beating by prison officials; On September 23rd, Youth Ward inmate Javad “Arash” Shirzad was sent to an outside hospital for treatment of a concussion sustained at the hands of “Bayramzadeh,” the prison’s internal director; in July, Saeed Seyed Abbasi was beaten and sent to solitary confinement without treatment of his injuries, all for arriving late to the prison yard for recreation time; and in May, according to HRANA reports, prisoner Saeed Nouri, a former IRGC lieutenant, was beaten by two personnel in the internal director’s office.

Reports indicate that political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience are more vulnerable than others to the gamut of inmate abuses. HRANA previously reported on a September 18th raid on Ward 12 by special forces, where guards pilfered and destroyed the prisoners’ personal belongings, including food they had purchased themselves.

More than 50 Special Forces Attack Ward 12 of Urmia Central Prison

Posted on: October 17th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In the latest of a long string of power abuses at Urmia Central Prison, more than 50 special forces responded to prisoner objections with severe beatings, breaking prisoners’ bones, and sending a number of them to solitary confinement on the night of October 15th.

A close source told HRANA that a large-scale reprisal was set into motion when three prisoners went to the guard’s office to check in on their wardmate Hamid Rahimi, who had been beaten there by four personnel and transferred to solitary confinement after a verbal altercation with staff. Rahimi is from Ward 12, designated for political prisoners.

Once arrived, the wardmates — identified as Kamal Hassan Ramazan, Ahmad Tamooie, and Osman Mostafapour — were met with their own violent beatings. Authorities started in on Tamooie, while additional prisoners, on orders from personnel members “Eskandar” and “Rezaie,” assaulted all three with a sharp object. Prisoner Touraj Esmaili was also beaten in the attack.

Authorities reportedly looked on as the attackers cut Esmaili, broke Ramezan’s nose, and busted the teeth of Tamooie, who has since gone on hunger strike to protest the assault.

When authorities were met with outcry over the assaults, they moved to disperse the victims and their comrades among different wards; when that measure, too, was met with resistance, prison authorities sent for reinforcements.

Prison guards and dozens of special forces stormed Ward 12 armed with batons, tasers, and tear gas, laying into Ramezan, Tamoo’i, Mostafapoor, and two more Ward-12 bystanders, Hassan Rastegari and Kamran Darvishi. The latter two were then transferred to solitary confinement; Rastegari has since been returned to Ward 12. “Hassan Rastegari was badly bruised all over,” the source said, adding that additional prisoners had attacked the men on orders from prison authorities.

Shortly thereafter, authorities established a perimeter around Ward 12. Crowded around the ward’s door were all those in charge of the prison, its investigations and protection unit, and Intelligence Security of West Azerbaijan Province. Inside the ward, dozens of special forces took up watch, while still more stood armed guard roof.

The special forces dispersed a few hours later, with the exception of a few that remained in the main prison hall.

Kamal Hassan Ramezan is on death row for political charges. Ahmad Tamooie is serving a 15-year sentence, and Osman Mostafapour is serving a 35-year sentence. As of the date of this report, the health statuses of the assaulted prisoners have yet to be confirmed.

Iran’s Prison Bureau stipulates that prisoner and prison-cell inspections must be carried out with respect to prisoners’ safety, i.e. to uncover and confiscate contraband items such as weapons and narcotics. Increasingly common, however, are inspections that lead to insults or destruction of prisoner property, and political detainees have proven to be popular targets. HRANA previously reported on the September 18th storming of Ward 12 by special forces, where guards pilfered and destroyed the prisoners’ personal belongings, including food they had purchased themselves.

Compounding harassment and pilfering at Urmia Central Prison is its authorities’ liberal use of corporal punishment. On October 8, 2018, prisoner Morteza Zohrali’s right arm was broken in a beating by prison officials; On September 23rd, Youth Ward inmate Javad “Arash” Shirzad was sent to an outside hospital for treatment of a concussion sustained at the hands of “Bayramzadeh,” the prison’s internal director; in July, Saeed Seyed Abbasi was beaten and sent to solitary confinement without treatment of his injuries, all for arriving late to the prison yard for recreation time; and in May, according to HRANA reports, prisoner Saeed Nouri, a former IRGC lieutenant, was beaten by two personnel in the internal director’s office.

Osman Mostafapour Deprived of Furlough and Parole after Serving 27 Years

Posted on: September 27th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Osman Mostafapour, prisoner in Urmia Central Prison, who is in his twenty-seventh year of imprisonment, has been deprived of having furlough or parole.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), over the past month, Osman Mustafapour, political prisoner in Ward 12 of Urmia Central Prison, has requested   prison’s judge for a furlough permission but it has been denied. (more…)

Osman Mostafapour; 27 Years Imprisonment without Furlough

Posted on: June 28th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Osman Mostafapour, political prisoner in Urmia prison has begun the 27th year of his imprisonment without furlough. In 1994, He was sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison in two separate cases.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Osman Mostafapour, born in 1967, was arrested on July 14, 1991. He was sentenced to death on charge of murder by branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Urmia by Judge Javaheri. The sentence was commuted to 10 years imprisonment in 2000. (more…)

The List of Prisoners Charged with Muharebeh and Sentenced to More than 20 Years

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Prisoners who have been charged with Muharebeh according to the old Penal Code, would find the chance of a retrial, after the changes and may receive reduction in their sentences or be released. Currently there are at least 48 male prisoners in Iranian prisons on charges of Muharebeh, who have in different ways been sentenced to more than twenty years imprisonment (with the exception of life imprisonment sentences).

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), 48 male prisoners in Iranian prisons on charges of Muharebeh, who have in different ways been sentenced to more than twenty years imprisonment (with the exception of life imprisonment sentences). Due to the changes in the Islamic Penal Code in 2013, these prisoners may request for a retrial. Some might receive reduction in their sentences and some others who have served many years in prison may get released. (more…)

Hunger Strikers in Critical Condition at Uremia Prison

Posted on: December 23rd, 2014

HRANA News Agency – Despite deteriorating health condition of at least 13 striking prisoners at Uremia Central Prison, these prisoners continue their hunger strike.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), out of 26 striking prisoners who are at 33rd day of their hunger strike, at least 13 are in critical health condition. According to the reports, on December 21st general health of two prisoners “Ali Ahmad Soleymani and Khazar Rasoulizadeh” have deteriorated and started seeing blood spots in their vomit. Although they have been sent to the prison clinic, they refused to be injected with fluids and returned to the general ward later. (more…)

Hunger Strike at Uremia Prison Is Still Going On

Posted on: December 11th, 2014

HRANA News Agency – Twentieth day of hunger strike of 26 political prisoners detained in the central prison of Uremia (Darya) passed while the authorities regardless of the strikers’ demands were trying to convince them to break their strike.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), on Thursday 20th November, prisoners in ward 12 of central prison of Uremia to protest against the lack of “crime based wards’ separation” role and the problems with some primary facilities, have gone on unlimited hunger strike, but still their demands are denied. (more…)

Pressure on hunger strikers at Uremia Prison has increased

Posted on: December 10th, 2014

HRANA News Agency – Authorities’ pressure to break the hunger strike of 28 political prisoners detained in the central prison of Uremia (Darya) has increased.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), on Saturday, 6th December, Intelligence Ministry representative summoned Osman Mostafapour, one of the prisoners in the prison of Uremia to the security office and asked him to stop hunger strike by disport from the strikers. (more…)