By INU Staff
INU - Human rights organisations have long been commenting on prison conditions in Iran. There are a huge number of political prisoners in the country and the conditions they are faced with are appalling.
At the beginning of the year, Amnesty International reported on Iran’s “year of shame” in which more than 7,000 people were arrested during the 2018 crackdown on dissent. It highlighted that the Iranian regime “carried out a shameless campaign of repression” last year in which protests were crushed and mass arrests were made.
The organisation emphasised that more than 7,000 students, environmental activists, protesters, journalists, lawyers, women’s rights activists, trade unionists, workers, minority rights activists and other human rights defenders were arrested. Hundreds were sent to prison or flogged and at least 26 died. It also said that nine people died “under suspicious circumstances” while in police custody.
There are currently a number of political prisoners in Iran that are participating in a hunger strike. They have had their human rights trampled upon by the regime and they see hunger striking as their only way to fight for their rights from behind bars.
However, the hunger strikers are facing further repression in prison. It was reported that Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard who is in Evin Prison was badly beaten by non-political prisoners 12 days into his hunger strike. He was then punished further by being sent to another part of the prison.
At the beginning of the month, he wrote a letter to the Tehran Revolutionary Court asking for his wife to be given medical treatment. Sanaz Allahyari is also in prison after she, her husband, and a number of other people were detained after supporting the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane factory workers’ strike. In his letter, Mohammadi Fard said he would start a hunger strike if the detainees were not released within two days.
Mohammadi Fard and Allahyari worked on the editorial board of GAM, an online magazine that reports on social justice. They have been in prison since January this year.
There are great concerns for Allahyari’s health. Not even two weeks into her hunger strike, that she started along with her husband, Allahyari lost consciousness for a short time. Medics at the medical clinic in Evin Prison have said that she will start to suffer serious breathing problems if she continues with her hunger strike.
This adds to health concerns that she already had that have been causing her to lose weight, to severely shake and to suffer frequent stomach pains.
There are other political prisoners that have been badly mistreated. Reports indicate that political prisoners have been put in the same ward as dangerous criminals – something that is supposed to be forbidden according to Iran’s own prison laws. However, the regime is putting them together, using it as a tool to pressure the political prisoners even more.
Political prisoners are also routinely subjected to brutal and violent torture and beatings – sometimes carried out by other prisoners but ordered by prison officials. Often by prison officials themselves.