Update on Political Prisoners’ Living Conditions in Rajai Shahr Prison

This report sheds light on the situation of 27 political prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison. Some of these prisoners are suffering from poor health conditions due to lengthy imprisonment or being beaten in detention.

Rajai Shahr Prison, previously known as Gohardasht Prison, is located in Karaj City in Alborz Province. Although the prison is built for housing the inmates convicted of violent crimes, for years it has been used by security forces as an exile prison for political and prisoners of conscience.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Rajai Shahr Prison, like many other prisons of the country, has long failed to provide inmates with adequate medical treatment.

Rajai Shahr Prison is composed of 10 wards with three salons for each ward. There are two types of salons in each ward.

Salon type 1: In the ’80s, the cells of this salon were used as solitary confinement. This salon contains 30-35 small size cells in each of which two or three inmates are housed.

Salon type 2: These Salons are composed of 15 large rooms in each of which 5 to 7 inmates are held. In each salon, there are three toilets, three bathrooms and a room to be used as a shared kitchen.

The Canteen (prison commissary) of the prison is run by the companies affiliated with the Prisons and Security and Corrective Measures Organization. The store sells products that are marked up 10 to 20 percent. Last year, prices decreased somewhat due to complaints from inmates, but after a while, the store increased the prices again. Products not available in the Canteen are available only on written request, which must be approved by the head of the prison.

Despite being classified as a jailhouse for housing the inmates convicted of violent crimes, Rajai Shahr Prison has additionally been used for a high number of political prisoners. Considering the long history of violence against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, the monitoring of this infamous prison by human rights activists is of great importance.

It is worth mentioning that along with political prisoners held in Salon No. 10, there is a salon allocated to Sunni-faith prisoners, who mostly are imprisoned for national-security-related charges. HRANA is working on a report about their latest situation as well.

Currently, 24 political prisoners are housed in Salon No. 10 in Rajaie Shahr Prison. The latest updated list of these prisoners goes as follows:

1. Saeed Masouri, arrested on January 8, 2001, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through membership in The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. In 2003, the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to the death penalty, which later was reduced to life imprisonment. Dr. Saeed Masouri was born in 1965. He is serving the twenty-first year of his sentence.

2. Afshin Baymani, arrested on September 5, 2000, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through collaboration with The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to death which later was reduced to life imprisonment. Afshin Baymani is now serving the twenty-second year of his sentence.

3. Motalleb Ahmadian, arrested on October 5, 2010, on a charge of “membership in one of opposition political groups”. He has sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court.

4. Hamzeh Savari was arrested on September 2, 2005, on the charge of ” enmity against God (Moharebeh) and acting against national security”. The Revolutionary Court of Ahvaz sentenced him to capital punishment, which later was reduced to life imprisonment. He was 16 years old at the time of arrest and currently he is serving the seventeenth year of his prison sentence.

5. Mohammad Ali (Piruz) Mansouri, arrested in September 2007, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment. Following his heart attack, on September 9, 2021, he was granted furlough for the first time after fourteen years.

6. Hassan Sadeghi, arrested on January 28, 2013, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran “. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment and the confiscation of his property (an apartment and a store). He is 58 years old and serving the ninth year of his sentence. Also, he had been spending in prison from 1981 to 1987.

7. Abolghasem Fouladvand, arrested in 2031 on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. He is 59 years old and currently serving the eighth year of his sentence.

8. Soheil Arabi, arrested on November 7, 2013, on charges of ” blasphemy”, “propaganda against the regime”, “offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. In his first case, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. For the second case, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, two years exile in Borazjan and paying a fine for 4 million tomans, on the charge of “spreading lies in the purpose to disturbing public opinions and the propaganda against the regime” and one year and eight months on the charge of ” destruction of state property”. In addition, for another new case, he has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, paying a fine, being banned from leaving the country and once every three times mandatory appearance at the Supervision and Follow-up office of Judiciary by Branch 26 of Tehran’s revolutionary court.

9. Saeed Eghbali, arrested on February 1, 2018, on a charge of “assembly and collusion in purpose to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years in prison, which was upheld on appeal. Currently, he is serving the second year of his prison sentence.

10. Behnam Moosivand, arrested on February 1, 2018, on a charge of “assembly and collusion in purpose to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years in prison. The court of appeal upheld the sentence. Currently, he is serving the second year of his prison sentence.

11. Reza Mohammad-Hosseini, arrested in May 2019, on charges of ” assembly and collusion, offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran, illegal border crossing, illegally entering the county, disobeying the orders of the agents.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 16 years and 6 months imprisonment, which was upheld on appeal. While he was serving his term in prison, in a new case he was sentenced to flogging with 50 lashes on the charge of “offensive statements against the on-duty-government officer”. He is serving the third year of his sentence.

12. Mehdi Meskin Navaz, arrested on May 5, 2019, on charges of “assembly and collusion, acting against national security, offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 13 years imprisonment and two years of compulsory residency in Ghahraj city in Kerman Province and prohibition from membership in political parties and groups. Currently, he is serving the third year of his sentence. As of this writing, Meskin Navaz has been transferred to the quarantine section after testing positive for Covid-19.

13. HooshangRezaie, arrested in 2010 on a charge of “membership in Komola (Kurdistan’s Organization of the Communist Party of Iran), spying, murder and adultery.” The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to death which was later reduced to 15 years imprisonment. Hooshang Rezaie was transferred to the quarantine section after testing positive for Covid-19.

14. Ahad Barzegar, arrested in 2019 on charges of “advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to six years imprisonment. According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the severest enforceable punishment for this charge is only five years. He is serving the second year of his sentence. He has also been imprisoned in the ’80s for political-related charges.

15. Ali Eshagh, arrested on November 21, 2019, and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment on a charge of “membership in Fedaian Organisation (Minority)”. He was born in 1950. He had also been spending in prison from 1983 to 1989 for the same charge.

16. Arash Nasri, arrested on December 19, 2019, on charges of “membership in Komola (Kurdistan’s Organization of the Communist Party of Iran) and Khabat (The Organization of the Iranian Kurdistan Struggle), illegal border crossing, illegally entering the country, holding illegal firearms”. Currently, he is waiting for his trial. These accusations are based on the publication of two photos on her personal Instagram account with the clothes of the mentioned groups.

17. Iraj Hatami, arrested on October 18, 2010, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on the charge of spying for the U.S.A. He had been working in Iran’s Ministry of Defense, from 1991 to 2004. Since two years and three months of his detention period in the military Detention Center has not been subtracted from his sentence term, he is still in prison. To protest, in June of this year, he went on a hunger strike.

18. Arsham (Mahmood) Rezaei, arrested on January 7, 2019, on charges of “propaganda against the regime, assembly and collusion to act against national security, offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years and six months imprisonment, which was upheld by the appellate court. According to article 134 of Iran’s penal code, five years as the severest punishment is enforceable for the above-mentioned charges. He is serving the first year of his sentence. Recently, he has been transferred to the quarantine section of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj after testing positive for COVID-19.

19. Nasrollah Lashni, arrested in 2014 on charges of “assembly and collusion to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years imprisonment and two years prohibition from political activities. This verdict was upheld by the appellate court. In October 2020, as punishment for not returning to prison after a furlough, he was sentenced to flogging of 40 lashes, which was reduced to 30. In addition, he has two open cases with the charges of “illegal border crossing” and “membership in one of opposition political parties”.

20. Ali Musa-Nejad Farkoosh, arrested on January 10, 2019, on charges of “assembly and collusion to commit a crime and act against national security, offensive statements against current and former supreme leader of Iran and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment. According to article 134 of Iran’s penal code, 5 years as the severest punishment is enforceable for the above-mentioned charges. He is serving the first year of his sentence. A while ago, he was granted furlough for medical treatment.

21. Farzin Rezaei Roshan, arrested in June 2017, on charges of “assembly and collusion to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to four years imprisonment. He is serving the second year of his sentence.

22. Abdul Rasoul Mortazavi, arrested in August 2019, on charges of “forming illegal political groups, propaganda against the regime and offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 26 years imprisonment from which 11 years as severest punishment are enforceable.

23. Pouria Vahidian, arrested on November 21, 2020, on charges of “collaboration with The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran.” He is still waiting for issuing verdict by the court. Earlier in July 2018, he has been also sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment on the charges of “collaboration with The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran through writing political slogans on walls.” Back then, he was released after serving one year of his term.

24. Amir Doorbin Ghaziani, arrested on December 13, 2013, arrested on November 21, 2020, on a charge of spying for the U.S.A. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to ten years imprisonment. He is serving the eighth year of his sentence.

Currently, there are three political prisoners being housed in other wards.

1. Farhad Fahandezh, arrested on August 16, 2012, on charges of “Propagation of the Baha’i Faith and directing Baha’i organizations.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to ten years imprisonment. He was born in 1959. Currently, he is serving the ninth year of his sentence. Earlier, he was arrested in 1983 and spent 6 years in prison.

2. Farhad Meysami, arrested on July 31, 2018, on charges of “assembly and collusion to commit a crime against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years imprisonment and two years prohibitions from membership in political groups and parties, engagement in media and leaving the country. By enforcing Article 134 of the Islamic penal code, five years of this sentence is enforceable. He is serving the fourth year of his sentence.

3. Arjang Davoudi, arrested on November 9, 2002, on charges of “forming illegal political groups and membership in one of opposition political parties, offensive statements against the supreme leader of and high-ranking regime officials.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to fifteen years and eight months imprisonment which later was reduced to ten years and eight months on appeal. In 2012, on the new charge of “advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”, he was sentenced to death. The verdict was revoked in the supreme court of Iran and instead changed to five years imprisonment in an exile prison in Zabol. Also, he had been spending a while in Bandar-Abbas Prison.

It is worth mentioning two other political prisoners who have been recently released from Rajai Shahr prison. Peyman Arefi was arrested in May 2009 on the charges of ” insult against Prophet of Islam and advocacy for Kingdom Assembly of Iran “. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment in exile. A few months ago, he was released on probation with an electronic tag on his ankle. In September of this year, Asghar Padashi was released from the Rajai Shahr prison after serving three years of his ten years prison term. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and paying a fine of 34000 dollars on the charges of “spying for Mossad.”

From the above-listed political prisoners, 15 inmates suffer from serious diseases or injuries.

As domestic law, as well as international law and other human rights documents, affirms, each prisoner has the right to receive adequate medical treatment. Various articles of Iran’s Executive regulations of the Prisons Organization have specified inmates’ disease and treatment. Nonetheless, Rajai Shahr prison officials violate the rights of these political prisoners for adequate medical treatment and endanger political prisoners’ lives.

 

 

Reza Mohammad Hosseini Beaten by Doctor in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRA), Reza Mohammad Hosseini, a political prisoner in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, was beaten by a prison doctor on May 29 after objecting to the lack of medical treatment for fellow prisoner and labor activist Ali Ishaq.

Hosseini, who is serving a seven-year sentence, was beaten, insulted, and humiliated by prison officials for refusing to wear prison uniforms, handcuffs, and shackles last November.

In May of 2019, Reza Mohammad Hosseini was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 16 and a half years in prison on charges of conspiracy, insulting the leadership, illegally leaving the country, illegally entering the country, and disobeying the orders of agents.

The verdict was upheld by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ahmad Zargar in May 2020.

Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment will be imposed on him on charges of conspiracy and collusion.

Seven prisoners are on hunger strikes in Urmia and Evin prisons

Evin Prison

Amir Salar Davoudi, attorney detained in Evin Prison, has been on hunger strike from February 9, 2020, protesting not being granted a furlough. In a note published on February 12, 2020, Amir Salar Davoudi explained his motives to go on hunger strike protesting authorities who refused to grant him a furlough and added “I have been incarcerated for 15 months of which I spend 190 days in a solitary confinement cell but my request for a furlough has been denied. I am going on hunger strike to protest this decision. I hold the judicial authorities responsible.” He has been detained in Evin Prison since November 20, 2018. On June 1, 2018, he was sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 30 years in prison of which the highest penalty is 15 years imprisonment for the charge of “establishing a channel in the Telegram app”. His other charges are “insulting officials”, “propaganda against the state”, “cooperating with enemy states through interviewing with Voice Of America (VOA) television channel”, and “forming a group to overthrow the state”.

Four other political prisoners of Evin Prison, Barzan Mohammadi, Reza Mohammad Hosseini, Mehdi Meskinnavaz, and Khaled Pirzadeh have been on hunger strike from February 1, 2020, protesting denial of their request for parole, neglecting political prisoners requests, not conforming to the prison classification regulation, lengthy prosecutions, receiving unreasonable prison sentences, and finalizing the primary courts verdicts without an opportunity to appeal.

Barzan Mohammadi was arrested in August 2017 because of his activities on social media. He was sentenced to six years in prison for the charges of “assembly and collusion with an intention to disrupt the public order”, and “propaganda against the state” by the primary court. His appeal court was in session in March 2019 where his sentence was reduced to 3.5 years imprisonment

Reza Mohammad Hosseini’s was sentenced to 16.5 years imprisonment; he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, three years imprisonment for the charge of “crossing the border unlawfully”, two years imprisonment for the charge of “unlawful entry to the country” and 1.5 years imprisonment for the charge of “disobeying the officers’ orders”. He was arrested in May 2019 by the IRGC intelligence officers and was taken to the IRGC’s detention center in Evin Prison. He was later transferred to the Ward 4 of Evin Prison. Reza Mohammad Hosseini was taken to the hospital on February 11, 2020, after experiencing asthenia. His situation is unknown after the transfer.

Khaled Pirzadeh was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion”, and to two years imprisonment for the charge of “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

Mehdi Meskinnavaz tried at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran in August 2019 and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state”. He was also exiled to Fahraj in Kerman Province and ban from membership in political parties and groups.

 

Urmia Prison

Siamak Ashrafi Ashgasou, a political prisoner of Urmia Prison, is on hunger strike from January 21, 2020, protesting the denial of his request to parole and his family being disrespectfully treated by the court employees. He was arrested in June 2016 by the security forces and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the charge of “membership in an opposition group” and to eight months imprisonment for “draft evasion” by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia. He requested parole after serving more than three years of his sentence.

Bashir Pirmawaneh has been on hunger strike from January 25, 2020, protesting his request for parole not being processed. He was arrested in March 2016 and was tried in April 2016 at Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “membership in an opposition group”. The sentence was later reduced to four years. He has served more than a third of his sentence at the time of his request.