The article describes a series of abuses levied on all prisoners, regardless of the nature or severity of their crime, or the length of their detention. The author reports being forced to have his hair cut, having his personal belongings destroyed and discarded, being deprived of food and water, being subjected to a “barrage of insults” any time a soldier passed by the facility’s inmates, experiencing unsanitary conditions, being stranded outside of the facility both before and after his period of detention, and observing apparent conspiracies to profit off of inmates and prevent them from reclaiming their money and other possessions.
Although the report did not generalize this experience to other Iranian prisons, it certainly matches up with familiar reports coming from other institutions and other prisoners. Furthermore, government authorities’ reaction to this report also strongly suggests that it is recognized as something more than an isolated incident, and something that the regime intends to conceal, rather than addressing it.
On the same day that IranWire republished this report, human rights groups reported on a story that provided arguably even more compelling evidence of the regime’s commitment to ignoring or even actively contributing to the issue of prisoner mistreatment. The report updated readers on the case of Ehsan Mazandarani, a journalist and political prisoner who initiated a hunger strike on May 17 and who recently suffered a heart attack as an apparent consequence of this and the poor conditions he has faced during his detention.
Shortly before starting on his hunger strike, Mazandarani also sent a letter directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei detailing the torture that he experienced during his interrogation as the arresting authorities sought to elicit a forced confession. The familiarity of these interrogation methods was the subject of another IranWire article, published earlier this week. It pointed out that the use of torture is technically illegal, but that actual changes to such practices appear unlikely under the existing regime, which violates the law with relative impunity.
The justification of this behavior seems to be the implication behind the response – or lack thereof – to Mazandarani’s letter. His brother-in-law Hosseini explained to the International Campaign that the letter sought to encourage an investigation into the incident, of which there are “certainly” video recordings. But not only has this request been ignored, so too has Ehsan Mazandarani himself, who is awaiting appeal of his seven-year prison sentence, which partly stems from charges that were illegally added to his case file after his interrogation.
By virtue of the fact that he has tried to involve the supreme leader himself, Mazandarani has arguably demonstrated that the attempts to sweet information like the Ghanoon report under the rug go all the way up to the regime’s ultimate authority.
A major gathering of Iranians and their international supporters in Paris on July 9, dubbed “Free Iran,” plans to put forward solutions to the various crises surrounding Iran.