Iran: Prison guards raid political prisoners’ ward transferring three who had sent letter to Human Rights Council

Prisoners who had been forcibly removed from their cells banged on the door and windows of the ward and chanted “death to dictator” and “death to the principal of velayat-e faqih” (clerical rule).

Then the agents that had their faces covered battered three political prisoners and transferred them out of the ward. These three were Messrs. Farid Azmoudeh, Behzad Tarahomi and Iraj Hatami.

The three were among the 40 prisoners whose letter to the Human Rights Council had been published on the Iran News Update website a few days back where they had supported the renewal of the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Ahmed Shaheed. As their letter became public, these prisoners, including the three, had been threatened to be transferred to ordinary prisoners’ ward and subsequently physically eliminated.

Among methods used the Iranian regime in pressuring political prisoners is to physically eliminate them by transferring them to ordinary prisoners’ ward and then threatening or enticing ordinary prisoners to beat them and assault them with knives.

Following this threat, Mr. Saeid Masouri, a political prisoner at Gohardasht prison that has been lingering in prison for 15 years on the charge of being a member of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), had warned about the physical elimination of political prisoners, especially these three. In his letter Mr. Masouri wrote: 

“Thus, as their cellmate, I strongly warn of this scheme against these prisoners (Messrs. Iraj Hatami, Farid Azmoudeh and Behzad Tarahomi) that their lives are in real danger and the number one culprit (in any probable incident) is the judiciary and its element the head of Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison since he has already attacked them before using hired prisoners on December 6, 2015. Then, they were threatened with cold weapons and even their faces were burned with cigarettes to coerce them not to place any complaints against the unjust conditions of the courts and prisons.”

Following this incident, in a letter to the Human Rights Council, the prisoners of Ward 4 described this attack to the political prisoners’ ward and warned that the lives of political prisoners, especially Messrs. Farid Azmoudeh, Behzad Tarahomi and Iraj Hatami, are threatened. Excerpts of this letter appear below (as translated):

“Today, Saturday, March 12, 2016, once again club-wielding men wearing black raided Ward 4 of Gohardasht prison and transferred a number of prisoners to the ordinary prisoners’ ward, including Messrs. Iraj Hatami, Farid Azmoudeh and Behzad Tarahomi (that we had earlier warned about) in breach of the law that demands separation of prisoners according to their crimes. Prior, these political prisoners had enlightened the public in reports about the violation of human rights and in particular the violation of their most fundamental rights. This was true, especially in the light that they had supported the recent activities at the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur and the need for his supervision. These prisoners were insulted and battered by the prison’s security guards who had all covered their faces with black masks. They were transferred without even being allowed to take their basic belongings, including their medicines, with them.”