Zahedan Prisoner Attempts Pill Overdose

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the morning of October 20, 2018, Zahedan prisoner Saeed Baravi, 26, attempted a pill overdose after authorities refused to address alleged mistreatment of his family by Zahedan personnel.

An unconscious Baravi was transferred to the prison clinic after ingesting the pills.

An informed source told HRANA that Baravi’s family had been met with verbal aggression when they pressed the supervising judge for an update on his request for furlough.

“The judge’s secretary Mr. Nouri insulted the family and had them removed from the office,” the source said. “Mr. Baravi then met with Mr. Khosravi, the Zahedan prison director, to deliver a letter objecting to the secretary’s conduct.”

Baravi has been serving a 15-year sentence on drug-related charges since 2016.

Multiple inmate suicides have been attributed to Zahedan prison’s oppressive and unhygienic living conditions, not least of which include patterns of abuse and neglect by prison authorities. Anguished by authorities’ continued neglect of his case, death-row prisoner Saeed Saberi completed suicide by pill overdose in mid-August of this year when he saw his name removed from a list of prisoners scheduled for a sit-down with the prison prosecutor. On August 5th, 42-year-old Mansour Mohammad Zehi, also on death row, took his own life by swallowing razor blades, having claimed that prison personnel had confiscated his dieh, or “blood money” [a price set by families of murder victims by which some defendants can buy their way out of a death sentence]. In May, HRANA reported on the suicide of Mehdi Kouhkan, who had reportedly been distressed by a transfer order to the quarantine section.

Zahedan Prison is located on the southeastern border city of Zahedan.

Urmia Prisoner Dies by Suicide

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the night of Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Mohammad Ahoupah, 33, died by suicide in Urmia prison.

Ahoupah was a native of Urmia, northwestern Iran, serving his sixth of a 25-year sentence in Ward 15 of the prison on drug-related offenses. He is survived by his wife and two children.

An informed source related to HRANA the running theory among Ahoupah’s ward mates: that when he took his own life in the showers of Ward 15, he had lost hope of stepping foot outside the prison before his time was up. “Four months ago, he submitted a request to be transferred to Zanjan prison from Urmia, and had requested furlough several times to resolve family problems,” the source said. “His requests were denied every single time.”

Recent months have seen the suicides of several prisoners who, despite family emergencies and lawful eligibility, were repeatedly denied the right to furlough. In Sanandaj, western Iran on August 18th of this year, five prisoners desperate to attend to family problems outside the prison made attempts at their own lives when their furlough requests were denied by the supervising judge. One of the five, 36 -year-old Eghbal Khosravi of Ward 6, did not survive the attempt. In another case just three days earlier in Zahedan, southeastern Iran, a prisoner completed suicide by pill overdose when, racked with exasperation over authorities’ continued neglect of his case, his name was removed from a list of prisoners scheduled for a sit-down with the prison prosecutor.

Prisoner Attempts Suicide to Escape Rajai Shahr Prison Mafia

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Rajai Shahr prisoner and father of one Ali Ahmadi, 50, has been transferred to a hospital after attempting suicide by pill overdose. As of the date of this report, his medical status is unknown.

According to a close source, Ahmadi attempted suicide to escape the prospect of continuous harassment from the prison mafia, a group of inmates maneuvered by Ward 1 Head “Hassan Kord” (real name Hasan Gord) who physically assaulted him for refusing to pay them, and then got away with it.

“On Kord’s orders, they went to hector Ahmadi into paying two million tomans (approximately 150 USD). When he couldn’t make the payment, they beat him up. When Ahmadi reported the beating and extortion to Kord and the prison authorities, nothing came of it,” the source said.

Currently held in Ward 1 of Rajai Shahr, located in Karaj, Alborz province (30 miles west of Tehran), Ahamdi has spent 13 years in prison on murder charges, and over the course of his sentence has obtained *forgiveness from three out of four of his victim’s family members.

Rajai Shahr is among the most redoubtable prisons of Iran. Though it is classified as a criminal penitentiary with the National Prison Bureau, it has for many years served as an exile for both political and non-political prisoners.

Human rights organizations have published numerous reports on discriminative mistreatment of prisoners, as well as prison authorities’ blatant disregard of regulation by abetting organized crime, smuggling, premeditated murder, and the unlawful directives of security authorities. HRANA previously published an exposé of key players in Iran’s prison system, laying bare the systematic nature of prison corruption.

Ahmadi is not the first prisoner to attempt suicide under Kord’s despotism; HRANA has reported on a number of Rajai Shahr prisoners who declared hunger strike, self-mutilated, or attempted suicide in similar circumstances. In a brief conversation with HRANA, one prisoner revealed that Hassan Kord was behind the assaults of at least five prisoners in the first week of September 2018 alone.

Kord, who collaborates with multiple prison gangs including “Hani Kordeh,” has a history of instigating violent brawls among inmates that have led to prisoner deaths. He plays a central role in Rajai Shahr’s funneling of recalcitrant or quarreling prisoners into an institutional no-man’s-land known as the “bloody ring,” a particular hall of the prison where many were killed in March 2018.

In 2016, HRANA reported on the murder of prisoner Babak Ghyasi, who had allegedly not been amenable to the demands of Kord or his associates. Earlier this year, controversial prisoner Vahid Moradi was also killed in a ward under Kord’s management.

* In Islamic penal code, the family of a murder victim may freely choose between “Qesas” (eye-for-an-eye) punishment (i.e. the execution of the defendant) and a death row pardon, often in return for blood money. In this legal sense, “family” includes parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but not the victim’s spouse. Often the defendant must obtain unanimous forgiveness from the victim’s legal family in order to be pardoned.

Sanandaj Central Prisoners Attempt Suicide

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Independently from one another, five prisoners held at Sanandaj Central Prison attempted suicide yesterday, resulting in one death and four hospitalizations.

The five prisoners attempted to take their own lives by ingesting pills and by hanging. One died, three were taken to the prison clinic, and one was admitted to an outside hospital. There is no evidence to suggest that their actions were coordinated or shared a common motive.

The deceased prisoner was identified as Iqbal Khusravi, 36, held at ward 6 of Sanandaj Central Prison. He was serving an eight-year sentence for drug-related crimes. The identities of the other prisoners have not been released.

A source at the prison stated, “At about 12:30 pm, Iqbal Khusravi consumed pills in an attempt to take his own life, which led to a cardiac arrest. In spite of the efforts of clinic officials, he passed away.”

He continued, “Some claims, so far unsubstantiated, have connected the suicide attempts to family problems and mistreatment of the prisoners by the presiding judge. These mistreatments included insults and verbal abuse and were extended to the family members of the prisoners.”

Last year, HRANA published a number of reports on the poor conditions of Sanandaj Prison and the mistreatment of the prisoners and their families by prison officials.