Prison Officials Beat Inmate Amir Rezaei to Death in Urmia Prison

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, an inmate at Urmia Prison died on Monday after being ruthlessly beaten by on-duty guards. The identity of this prisoner has been verified by HRANA as 35-year-old Amir Rezaei.

According to an informed source, on Monday, after a clash between prisoners in Ward 14 of Urmia Prison, several prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement.

“After being released from solitary confinement, Mr. Rezaei escaped toward the 1-2 dormitory of the prison,” the informed source said. “Four prison guards followed him and arrested him; two of them beat him and one of them lifted Amir Rezaei on his head and knocked him to the ground. The prisoner’s head hit the ground, causing unconsciousness and eventually death.”

The source emphasized that guards’ aggressive handling continued long after Rezaei  had been subdued.

“Three officers dragged him to the ground, even after he lost consciousness, and transferred him to another place,” the source said.  “They took him to the hospital and found out that he had lost his life when they saw that he was unconscious. Last night [May 17], around 11 o’clock, the body was taken out of the prison.”

Prison official brutality towards inmates is an ongoing issue in Iran. Rezaei had served out half of a 20-year sentence in prison on drug-related charges when he was killed.



Internal Prisoner Transfer Leads to Bloody Brawl in Rajai Shahr

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On Monday, October 22, 2018, a bloody brawl that broke out in Rajai Shahr Prison led to the hospitalization of two prisoners who sustained serious injuries.

The victims were identified as Amir Akbari and Moslem Karimpour, both from hall 19 of Ward 7, and both incarcerated on murder charges.

Akbari suffered from massive blood loss after sustaining multiple lacerations with a sharp object and slipped into critical condition when his transfer to the hospital was delayed. Karimpour returned to Rajai Shahr on Wednesday, October 24th after getting treatment for wounds sustained his abdomen and chest.

Well aware that ward transfers in Rajai Shahr — primarily a holding facility for violent crimes  — have the potential to devolve into violent clashes, authorities there initiated the skirmish when they attempted to transfer Akbari to a different ward. Prison personnel, namely Gholamreza Ziaei, the Rajai Shahr director, and Vali Alimohammadi, president of the prison’s internal affairs, were met with protests from a group of prisoners when they continued to push for the transfer.

Akbari was subsequently transferred to a “suite,” while Ziaei insisted that he intended the transfer to prevent prisoner-on-prisoner violence, citing the example of Vahid Moradi, a prisoner killed in gang conflicts in July of this year. “What happened when Vahid Moradi died?” he reportedly said. “If you die, it’s on me.”

Prison security has been known to fan flames of division among prison gangs by conducting its business with the help of incarcerated violent offenders. Such meddling by security personnel was reportedly a factor in Moradi’s death.

A notorious point of exile for political and common criminals, Rajai Shahr’s reputation precedes it as one of the most cutthroat environments for prisoners in Iran. Human rights organizations have published numerous reports of Rajai Shahr managers’ misconduct, including arbitrary and inhumane punishments, participation in organized crime, mafia activity, and smuggling, and the premeditated murders of prisoners.

HRANA reports indicate that Gholamreza Ziaei and Vali Alimohammadi are the most oft-cited and seasoned perpetrators of human rights violations in Rajai Shahr. Valimohammadi, who is also the Ward-4 Warden, is reportedly in cahoots with prison gangs facilitating intra-prison drug trafficking.

Ziaei headed the Kahrizak camp, where several political prisoners were tortured and killed during his tenure.

Earlier this year, the US Department of the Treasury designated Gholamreza Ziaei as an individual “acting on behalf of the Government of Iran who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents.”

Karaj is located 30 miles west of Tehran and is the capital of Alborz province.

Young Urmia Prisoner Suffers TBI in Beating from Prison Warden

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- After a beating from internal prison director Bayramzadeh left him with a concussion, Javad Shirzad (a.k.a Arash), a prisoner in Urmia Central Prison’s youth ward, was transferred to an outside hospital for treatment.

An informed source told HRANA that Shirzad, who is in the fifth year of his sentence, went to another prisoner’s cell to say hi when Bayramzadeh began assaulting him.

According to the source, Shirzad was transferred on September 11th to an outside care facility where a battery of tests including an electroencephalogram (EEG) led to a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. “He is still under supervision per the doctor’s orders,” the source said.

Prison officials have a long history of mistreating and assaulting prisoners with impunity. This past May, former IRGC 3rd Lieutenant Saeed Nouri reportedly sustained a beating by two prison guards inside the office of the prison’s internal director; and in July, a warden assaulted Saeed Seyyed Abbasi for arriving late to the prison yard for recreation time. Despite Abbasi’s injuries, he was subsequently transferred to solitary confinement without receiving any medical attention.

Innocent Man Dies After Police Beating

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – On September 11th, Hojat Eghtesadi died after being beaten by police, who contend that his cause of death was a heart attack.

Eghtesadi, a native of the city of Malekan in East Azerbaijan Province (northwestern Iran), had been admitted to Bonab county’s Imam Khomeini hospital for self-inflicted wounds. Upon his discharge, he was experiencing the side effects of intravenous tranquilizers when he crossed paths with the guards on duty.

“On his way out of the hospital, he got into an altercation with hospital security. The police were called, and he was arrested and taken to Bonab county police station,” said a source close to Eghtesadi’s family. “I don’t know what happened there that led to the beating, but it cost him his life.”

The police asked Eghtesadi’s family to come recover his body from the police station the following day, alleging he had died of a heart attack. At the sight of his body, his family said they noted copious bruising that was distinct from his self-inflicted wounds.

Iranian detention centers require round-the-clock supervision, yet deaths of those taken into custody are common. Detainee deaths are rarely followed up by judicial investigation, third-party inquiries, or measures to hold perpetrators accountable.

Rajai Shahr Warden Breaks Prisoner’s Wrist, Toes

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – A Rajai Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison warden known as “Mr. Zalali” assaulted 28-year-old prisoner Reza Ghasemi for unknown reasons on Tuesday, September 4th, breaking his right wrist and toes of both feet, confining him to a wheelchair.

Ghasemi is being held in Ward 10 of Rajai Shahr (30 miles west of Tehran), where beating and mistreatment of prisoners is not without precedent: Behrouz Hosseini from ward 6 was severely beaten Saturday, July 7, 2018 by prison staff; Earlier, on May 16th, Sunni prisoner Hamzeh Darvish, who had previously been transferred to the Coroner’s Office for health problems attributed to his hunger strike, was beaten. Prior to his visit to the Coroner’s office, prison officials reportedly intimidated and threatened him, warning him not to make incriminating statements against them.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sloganeered against civil rights repressions, publishing a Civil Rights Charter and verbally pushing for the comprehensive implementation of its provisions. Article 64 of the charter reads, “anyone arrested, convicted, or imprisoned is entitled to their civil rights, including proper nutrition, clothing, health and medical care, educational and cultural services, religious worship and practices.” Thus far, though, Rouhani’s rhetoric has yet to materialize into concrete initiatives.

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