Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Prison guards in Iran accused of excessive force by opposition

The Guardian

Iranian guards and intelligence officials have used unprecedented levels of violence against political inmates in one of the country’s most notorious prisons, Iranian opposition leaders said on Friday.

Kaleme, a news Web site close to opposition leader and former Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, has reported that dozens of prisoners were injured, some taken to hospital and others transferred to solitary confinement following disturbances at Evin prison in Tehran on Thursday.

Clashes between prisoners angry with their situation in jail and guards were said to have taken place in Evin’s ward 350, where inmates with political charges are held. The guards wielded batons and used violence in an unprecedented fashion, opposition figures claimed.

“More than 30 prisoners were injured and at least four inmates were taken to a hospital outside the jail because they were bleeding or sustained fractures... Thirty-two prisoners have also been transferred to solitary confinement.” Kaleme said.

On Friday, Iran’s Prisons Organization head Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, denied there were clashes in Evin, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.

However Reporters Without Borders said it had received information from sources in Iran that guards have used “extreme violence, smashing TV sets, equipment and personal effects.”

The non-profit organization condemned what it called “grave violations of the rights of political prisoners” and called on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the UN Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed to investigate the incident and protect political prisoners.

Those beaten and held in solitary confinement include journalists and bloggers, including Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, Hossein Ronaghi Malki, Mohammad Davari, Saeed Matinpour, Siamak Qaderi, Said Haeri and Yashar Darolshafa.

Human rights lawyers Abdolfattah Soltani and Hotain Dolati, and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, an activist in the workers’ movement, were also among them, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Before the incident, prisoners were objecting about the nature of irregular inspections in Evin. They were handcuffed and blindfolded, Kaleme claimed.

Kaleme said one prisoner, identified as Omid Behroozi, had a vein ruptured.

“The violence used against these prisoners was gratuitous and cowardly and was clearly designed to punish heroes who have continued to resist despite having suffered years of oppression,” Reporters Without Border’s Reza Moini said.

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