ه‍.ش. ۱۳۹۱ اردیبهشت ۱۵, جمعه

Jailed activist cries out for better conditions for Iran political prisoners


May 04, 2012
Jailed activist cries out for better conditions for Iran political prisoners

By Siamak Dehghan-Pour and Bobak Gorji
Voice of America (Washington) - An Iranian political prisoner called the global advocates of the human rights to pay more attention to what he describes “a tough environment intentionally created” by the authorities for ideological and political prisoners in Iran.

In a rare telephone conversation from inside a prison in Iran, Alireza Sharifi-Boukani, told the Voice of America’s Persian News Network, that tens of political prisoners are living under a “miserable condition” at the Rajaie-Shar prison in the city of Karaj west of the capital Tehran.

“This is the only way to echo our voices outside informing the world that 55 people are living under the miserable conditions here in this section,” said the Kurdish activist in an interview with the Persian analytical talk show “Ofogh”, adding other members of Kurdish parties as well as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) opposition, reformers and also followers of the banned Bahai faith were among the prisoners.

According to human rights groups, the Islamic state has dramatically escalated the crackdown on dissents, arresting lawyers, students, journalists and targeting media after the 2009 disputed presidential vote that secured the re-election of the hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Sharifi-Boukani said “the closed doors are the greatest psychological torture for the prisoners as the gates are always locked and they have only a two-hour permission a day to go out in an open area for breathing fresh air.”

“Some of the prisoners were barred from medical treatments despite having serious diseases … we are even deprived of having telephone contacts or personal meeting sessions with our beloved ones,” he said without elaborating how he got the opportunity to speak on the phone, but saying “not everyone here enjoys such an opportunity.”

The United Nations special rapporteur of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, who was attending the same Ofogh show on April 19, said what Sharifi-Boukani has said was “quite typical of a number of interviews” he had with some Iranians who had been jailed in prisons.

Shaheed’s mandate was renewed in March after his first year in the job he issued a report showing a rapid increase of executions in Iran, with some 670 people put to death last year, most of them for drug crimes that do not merit punishment under international law and some for offenses against Islam.

The United States and the European Union have passed various sets of sanctions on several Iranian firms, officials and individuals for being involved in human rights abuses and in the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear activities.

The executive director of the international campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Hadi Ghaemi, in the same event warned the Iranian ruling power of “trying to put any hurdle” ahead of the U.N. special rapporteur’s mission on human rights situation in Iran.

Ghaemi said the most important problem is the “lack of independence in Iran’s judicial system so that it has become a tool for intelligence forces,” stressing the situation has been worsened particularly in the past three years.

Tehran has banned Shaheed of traveling to Iran saying human rights were being used as a pretext to advance the political interests of specific states and has repeatedly accused the West of using what it says are bogus human rights concerns as a further way to isolate the Islamic Republic.

“It is said that the head of the prison has repeatedly said the instruction has come from the top, from the state prosecutor general and also the intelligence ministry, that these political prisoners should remain in the worst possible conditions,” said Sharifi-Boukani, who was arrested in 2010 and was sentenced for a 42-month jail term on charges of acting against the country’s security.

Shaheed, confirming Sharifi-Boukani’s comments on the worse conditions for political prisoners at Rajaie-Shar than the other types of prisoners, said “I aware of that there is a different treatment in prisons for, what may be called as political prisoners who face the worst treatment in terms of rights violation.”

He further expressed concerns over “deficits in human rights standards” in treatment of prisoners in Iran and said “There is a need to demand Iran that rule of law be enforced, the laws that statured in their book themselves being prevented strictly.”

“I would like to use this opportunity to invite people who have information on conditions there (in Rajai-Shahr prison) to talk to me and give information on that, so when I have sufficient material, I can form that as part of my report,” said the U.N. human rights investigator.

Sharifi-Boukani, in another contact later with Ofogh said he and his cellmates were happy about spreading their voices by the Voice of America throughout the world despite the high risks of being threatened and pressurized by the authorities.

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