Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, an Iranian political prisoner in Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran, has recently written a letter to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein; and European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, describing various human rights violations in Iran and revealing the names of inmates who have been murdered behind bars in recent times. Ibrahimzadeh has included a list of names of prisoners killed due to suicide, provoked clashes inside prisons and other suspicious deaths.
English translation of letter by Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, political prisoner, blogger, and labor & children’s rights activist:
Ms. Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran
His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Her Excellency Frederica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Once again I congratulate Ms. Asma Jahangir for your worthy election as Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, and I hope this will render further peace and friendship throughout the globe
If today’s world is described with indexes of advances and technology, the Iranian regime is known for its state-sponsored terrorism, sectarianism, anti-ethnic viewpoints and provoking religious and ethnic disputes in Iran and across the region, with prisons and executions, oppression of dissidents and critics, and vast human rights violations. It is completely clear for public opinion that the report card of Iran’s rulers on human rights is one of the worst records amongst all countries across the globe. [The regime] has increased its restrictions, arrests, pressures and limiting known political figures, and labor and human rights activists. Tehran is taking strong action against hundreds of dissidents and critics, including lawyers, labor and human rights activists, and journalists who show the slightest opposition. Executions, crackdown on freedom of beliefs, and dissidents and critics, resorting to threats, arrests, interrogations, vicious tortures, maintaining individuals in solitary confinement are all methods used to gain coerced confessions. Specific cases include Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, Shahrokh Zamani, Reza Shahabi and Sattar Beheshti.
State intelligence agents and elements are continuously controlling emails, call data and user passwords while recording all telephone conversations. Critics are tagged as criminals, “sedition-ers” and moles. Another aspect of human rights violations is the established attack against freedom, democracy, bigotry and hatred towards others, increasing arrests and crackdown measures under the framework of the lack of democracy, or the use of painful tools, execution threats, rape, denying detainees their right to make phone calls or family visit while under interrogation, denying them the right to choose a lawyer; imposing an atmosphere of censorship and severe crackdown, taking severe action against culture, arts and music; ban on demonstrations and freedom to activities for parties, non-government organizations and trade unions; raising new charges time and again against political and labor activists, such as Reza Shahabi, myself and …; illegally exiling inmates such as myself, Arzhang Davoudi and dozens of other prisoners exiled to Rajai-Shahr Prison and placed under pressure following the riot of ward 350 in Evin Prison. Targeted and politically-motivated murders of dozens of political activists and critics in prison, such as Shahrokh Zamani, Hoda Saberi, Sattar Beheshti, the thousands of executions during the past few years, neglecting the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, targeted killings of heavy load-carriers and merchants in the country’s western borders; are all part of a continuing tragedy repeating every day in my country. As a child rights activists I am asking you to not turn your back to this unbearable situation in Iran.
These are all basic examples of fundamental rights violations by a regime that actually claims to symbolize freedom and human rights. In recent days in the prisons of Evin, Tabriz and Karaj we have witnessed eight political prisoners launching protest hunger strikes and prison officials neglecting their status. It is worth noting that the inhumane measures of prison officials goes far beyond neglecting. It also includes threatening, punishing and transferring political prisoners on hunger strike to other prisons under harsher conditions. Rasoul Razavi and Morteza Moradpour were beaten and transferred to Karaj Central Prison. Vahid Sayadi was transferred – escorted by the special prison guard – to ward 4 of Evin Prison where dangerous ordinary prisoners are held. Where in the world do they practice such methods?
Now, one must say if the Islamic Republic of Iran dares to claim of upholding human rights, it must take urgent measures to comply by international and human rights norms, on issues related to the minorities, political/labor/human rights activists, preventing torture, supporting freedom of speech and thought, and completely abolishing executions. If the international community is concerned and the main issue of maintaining and upgrading human rights, then what is the meaning of turning their backs on cruel and inhumane behaviors? A serious shift is needed in gross human rights violations by the mullahs’ regime. The officials of this state must be held accountable for the executions of the 1980s, and especially the summer of 1988. They must respond for massacring those with different mentalities, Mohammad Mokhtari, Puyande, Foruhahr and others… Why doesn’t any case reach a certain end with this regime? The answer lies in the fact that all such crimes are committed under the watchful eye of Khamenei and his inner circle.
To conclude, I, political prisoner Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, speaking on behalf of hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience expect from Mrs. Mogherini, Ms. Asma Jahangir as the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, and Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be realistic and pay closer attention to human rights violations in Iran. No measure able to bring about change in the Iranian regime should go neglected.
I have also included a list of prisoners’ names who were killed in group clashes and/or mysteriously lost their lives, murdered by prison guards and authorities, and others who resorted to committing suicide. This list proves there is unlimited violence in Iran’s prisons, especially Rajai-Shahr and Ghezel-Hessar. This is alongside the rights violations imposed against prisoners. Human lives mean nothing in this regime.
List of inmates killed by prison authorities:
1. Behnam Tasbihi, ward 6, hall 17, died a mysterious death in solitary confinement after being transferred in preparation to be executed. This case dates back to 2014. Prior to his death he had appeared in a leaked video clip sent from inside prison describing the torture and rape imposed on him by prison authorities.
2. Shahrokh Zamani, suspicious death in ward 4, hall 12
3. Afshin Asanlu, suspicious death
4. Kheirollah Karami, death in prison
5. Heshmat Saran, killed in prison
6. Siyamak Bandelu was transferred to clinic after his left arm was wounded in the old ward 5. He never returned and authorities only reported his death.
7. Mehdi Ayari, ward 1, hall 2, lost his life due to lack of medical care
8. Mashallah Jafari Gholi, lost his life due to cancer and lack of medical care.
Names of prisoners who committed suicide behind bars in Iran:
1. Asghar Nasiri, ward 1, hall 1
2. Heydar Ali Rahnama
3. Ali Golestani, ward 3, hall 9
4. Khanali Saran, ward 2, hall 6
List of prisoners killed due to clashes inside prisons:
1. Babak Ghayathi, killed during clashes in ward 3
2. Malek Maleki, aka Haj Maliki
3. Saber Sharbati, ward 10
4. Vaheed Gholami, ward 3, hall 7
5. Mehdi Azimi, old ward 5
6. Mojtaba Asayesh, ward 2, hall 5
7. Asghar Karami, ward 1
8. Mansour Pourvali, ward 2
9. Nosser Banapour, ward 6, hall 16
10. Haj Naeb Band, ward 6, hall 18
11. Hossein Anjani, ward 6, hall 16 – back in 2012
12. Yavar Khodadoust, committed suicide by eating narcotics
List of inmates maimed in prison:
1. Java Zare, lost eye sight, ward 3, hall 7
2. Vahid Abbaspour, gone blind
3. Mehdi Nafi, both hands maimed
4. Reza Jalal, both hands maimed
Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, labor and human rights activist