Six political prisoners imprisoned at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary were taken to court on January 8 to face new charges, just months after they were beaten by violent criminals who had been hired by prison officials.

Political prisoners Akbar Bagheri, Pouya Ghobadi, Shapour Ehsani Rad, Esmail Gerami, Alireza Farshi, and one other prisoner, were taken to Branch 101 of the Hassanabad Fashafoyeh Criminal Court and charged with ‘rioting in prison’. The false charges were filed against them following a complaint by prison officials who claimed the men were rioting, involved in prison protests, and held celebrations in the prison.

The incident where the six men were beaten was mentioned among the charges. Prison officials had hired several violent criminals to attack the men, who were beaten severely and attacked with knives on October 8, 2021.

The prisoners have filed complaints several times to be transferred to other sections due to insecure conditions, but they were left unanswered. [The men] were taken to the prison infirmary after being beaten and injured.

Alireza Farshi, an Azerbaijani Turkic human rights defender, is currently serving a two-year sentence for peaceful activities, including advocating for mother-tongue rights.

Worker activist Shapour Ehsani-Rad has consistently been denied medical treatment for his back problems during his six-year sentence, while fellow worker activist, 67-year-old Esmail Gerami was subjected to 74 lashes and a 2 million toman fine on top of his 5-year sentence.

For the three other men, 27-year-old Pouya Ghobadi was charged with ‘waging war against God’ and was sentenced to five years in prison, Akbar Bagheri received 9 years for being a member of Iranian opposition groups, and Akbar Faraji is currently serving 6 years in prison for his activism on the internet.

In other news, Leila Hosseinzadeh, a student activist has been summoned to Evin Court to begin serving her prison term.

A student of anthropology at Tehran University, Hosseinzadeh was prohibited from activity on social media for two years and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

Leila Hosseinzadeh had held a small student gathering outside Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology to celebrate the birthday of Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, an imprisoned student Dervish. She was indicted of ‘assembly and collusion for acting against national security for holding this celebration and singing in it.

She was arrested on December 7 whilst visiting the city of Shiraz in Fars province by security forces. Hosseinzadeh and nine of her friends were held at gunpoint while they had their mobile phones and identity papers confiscated.

Her friends were later released after a few hours while she remained detained in an intelligence department detention center, during which time she was beaten and brutalized by authorities, before being transferred to Adelabad Prison on December 23.

Hosseinzadeh had formerly been arrested during the major protests in January 2018, during which time she was sentenced to 6 years for the same charges. In June of the following year, her sentence was commuted 3 years and 6 months in prison, along with a two-year travel ban, however, she later only served 2 years and 6 months of her sentence in Evin Prison.

On March 11, 2021, she received a medical leave from the prison but was eventually released as physically she was unable to tolerate detention.