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Persian Letters

Families Of Iranian Political Prisoners Protest Alleged Prison Raid

A photo of a 2009 incident in which inmates' relatives gathered outside Evin prison in Tehran.
A photo of a 2009 incident in which inmates' relatives gathered outside Evin prison in Tehran.
Families of political prisoners demonstrated outside the presidential office in Tehran on April 22 to protest what they say was a brutal raid at a notorious prison in the Iranian capital where their relatives are being held.

The protesters say several of their loved ones were badly beaten by security forces in the April 17 operation at Evin prison and called on authorities to investigate the incident.

About 30 were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement following the raid, in which several journalists and at least one prominent human rights lawyer -- Abdolfatah Soltani -- were said to have been attacked.

One of the protesters told RFE/RL that the families signed a letter calling for the creation of a truth commission to investigate the incident, which opposition websites described as unprecedentedly violent. He said the families are calling for the resignation of Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, who has denied there was a crackdown and said that only two prisoners were slightly injured.

A witness at the protest said several of the prisoners’ relatives were invited into the presidential office to meet with authorities.

A YouTube video (below) said to be from the protest shows a group of men and women calling for the release of political prisoners.

"Political prisoners should be released," they chant. "Evin has become Palestine. Government, why are you sitting idly by?"

In addition to Pourmohammadi, other Iranian officials have dismissed reports about the attack as well.

The head of Iran's Prisons Organization, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, has said the incident was a routine inspection. Esmaili has rejected reports about the raid as lies and fabrications circulated by opponents of the Islamic republic.

Speaking on April 22, Esmaili said guards had discovered SIM cards, mobile phones, and "many other things" in their inspection of Evin's section 350.

The demonstration was the second by families of the prisoners who say they are worried about their jailed relatives. The families also gathered in front of Iran’s parliament on April 20, holding pictures of their relatives.

Some of the families who were allowed to visit the prison on April 21 have said the prisoners still showed signs of injuries stemming from an assault.

Demonstrations that are not organized by the state or hard-liners are a rarity in Iran. In the past, security guards have used force to disperse political protests.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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Comment Sorting
by: jojnjo from: Dublin
April 23, 2014 01:53
Unfortunately the baskets are still holding the cases in Iran...i.e. (IRGC, Basijis & mad Mullahs) the cases of (Basket-cases) are still touting trouble & Khamenei (the Basket). The Supreme Leader has one half of himself with both. He can't let go of his corrupt police & defence forces because they have too much of a hold on him, & they don't like what Rouhani is doing & would love to be back in the dark days with Ahmadinejad again. And by all accounts Ahmadinejad is very much still there & may be back again as President (God forbid) in the future, because in the likes of Iran, anything can happen.

I used to write a lot of comments to "Payvand News" and they were derogatory re; Ahmadinejad & the Mad Mullahs & the thuggish security forces whose work the world saw first hand after the stolen election of 2009 when Khamenei declared Ahmadinejad the winner even though the counting of votes had only begun. And we all saw what followed the oppression of the people & especially the shooting of Nedā Āġā Soltān the young philosophy student who had only got out of the car she was travelling in when a bullet from a cowardly sniper (Basiji) killed her young life, the photograph captured as she lay dying was the image of the "Green Revolution" & she is still revered today by all those who wanted their basic freedoms & who put Rouhani in the Presidents chair last year.

But as I said at the beginning the same old bad influences are still there stirring the pot & hoping upon hope Rouhani fails in what he is trying to do regards the talks re; sanctions & the solving of the nuclear issue. And Khamenei is still preaching to both camps so as to play each off the other & stand with the winner at the end of the contest. But he still preaches US is the enemy & can't be trusted.

& by all accounts, neither can he..."Neither Can He"!

PS. As regards the political prisoners they were always going to be the pawns in this new Iran & there's little Rouhani can do because he is walking on fire cinders between the "Basket & the Cases".

by: CangeIranNow from: USA
April 25, 2014 05:58
The raid on political prisoners in Evin Prison is part and parcel of escalating trend of abuse and arbitrary executions that has surpassed 700 since Rouhani assumed power. Executions, oppression and discrimination are the principal pillars of mullahs’ rule. These abuses are intended intimidate the public and particularly the youth and women not to participate in any protest that challenges the Mullahs rule.

Silence and inaction on human rights abused committed by mullahs ruling Iran is turning ones back on the principles and values that the United Nations was built to safeguard and that the European Union and the United States profess to defend.

The international community and western governments need to predicate their relations with the regime on the resolution of the human rights issue in Iran, especially abolishing executions, ending torture and suppression and accepting respect for the freedom of speech.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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