Political prisoners' lives in danger after Evin prison clashes: sources

Political prisoners' lives in danger after Evin prison clashes: sources
Political prisoners are reportedly being deprived of medical care and are unable to contact their families after deadly clashes and blaze in Tehran's Evin prison, as nationwide anti-government protests continue.
4 min read
24 October, 2022
A picture obtained from the Iranian Mizan News Agency on 16 October 2022 shows damage caused by a fire in the notorious Evin prison, northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran. [Getty]

Special forces and prison guards attacked political prisoners kept in Evin prison with pellet guns and live ammunition during the Saturday night fire and clashes in Tehran's infamous prison, sources in Tehran said to The New Arab.

Iranian authorities claimed that inside wards seven and eight, where the clashes erupted, inmates accused of organized crimes were kept; however, family members of political prisoners told TNA that these inmates were also targeted and wounded in Saturday raids.

"Two days after the fire, my son called home and said he was transferred to Rajaei Shahr," one of the political prisoner's mother said.

According to this source, security forces shot pellets into her son's back and legs. 

"The phone call was very short. Just a few seconds. He said that he was fine but had wounds due to pellet shots. The prison officials don't give us any information about our children's health and conditions," she added.

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Since Saturday, the government has blocked all communication with inmates kept in wards seven and eight. Several prisoners, however, were permitted to make less than one-minute phone calls to their families.

Meanwhile, several political prisoners were transferred from Evin to Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, where dangerous criminals are incarcerated. 

In an audio file circulating on Farsi social media, another political prisoner's mother said that her son was also transferred to Rajaei Shahr but was deprived of medical care.

In this audio, Arash Johari's mother said that Johari, in a short call, told her that he was hit into his head by a baton and suffered from nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision.

Other reports declared that at least one political prisoner, Mohammad Khani, was injured by live ammunition when the police special units attacked inmates in Evin. Khani is still confined in Evin's ward eight without receiving the necessary treatment for his wounds.

Prisoners in wards eight and seven and those transferred to Rajaei Shahr have been barred from visiting their parents and spouses, which has increased their family members' concerns. 

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A source told TNA that the judicial authority and prison guards had increased the harassment of political prisoners' families after the massive fire in Evin.

"They know that we are worried about our children's lives, and by rejecting our demands to visit them or at least to talk to them, the regime is torturing us," said this source, whose son was also transferred to Rajaei Shahr.

The source explained that when the news broke about the fire in Evin, family members of inmates immediately gathered on the streets near the prison to learn about the prisoners' well-being.

"That night, our simple demand was responded to by the riot police's batons and tear gas," he said.

On Sunday, he went to the prison officials again. He was informed his son was among those relocated to Rajaei Shahr. But even in Rajaei Shahr, he could not visit or talk to his imprisoned son.

Officials in Rajaei Shahr prison told the family members of political prisoners that they needed permission from the judiciary authority to let them visit the inmates transferred from Evin. 

However, the judiciary officials told them the matter was out of their hands.

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"They kicked us like a ball from one side to another, and in their eyes, I could see how they enjoyed it. This was them who failed to keep the prison in order, and it was us being punished for their failure," he added. 

Iran's judiciary claimed that on 15 October, a fire broke out in Evin prison's ward seven due to clashes between the imprisoned thugs. According to official numbers, eight inmates were killed and 61 injured during the clashes.

Opposition sources rejected the regime's version of the deadly incident, saying that special force units were deployed inside the wards and snipers on the prison's guard towers, two days before Evin's deadly night.

On 23 October, Iranian political prisoner, Narges Mohammadi, posted a report of the incident on Instagram, detailing what inmates in the women's ward could hear inside the Evin prison.

Explaining that night, she wrote: "At 9 pm, the sound of non-stop shootings shocked everyone. The sound of innumerable shots continued for two hours… we could clearly hear the voice of security forces … the special guards shouted: 'if you don't go back in, I'll explode your brain', and then suddenly the sound of a bullet."