“The [Iranian] people’s cries for freedom, social justice, and civil rights will not be stifled by through the arrest of social activists and an intensifying of repression in the country!”
* 38 political prisoners in the notorious Ghezel Hesar prison [in Karaj, Iran] have been on hunger strike since early September to protest against the increased punitive measures and restrictions imposed upon them [by the authorities] and as well as in support of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement on its first anniversary.
The waves of arrests and harsh prison sentences against civil rights activists in our country, reported on by non-regime news and media outlets in the months leading up to the anniversary of the beginning of the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement [following the killing of Mahsa Amini in September 2022], have intensified and become more widespread in recent days.
In an effort to prevent the resumption and spreading of the popular movement, the regime’s security forces have arrested a large number of social activists, campaigners for women rights, teachers, pensioners, students, writers, artists and reporters. According to reports, some prominent political prisoners [already incarcerated by the authorities] have not been spared from the current wave of repression and have been undergoing intensified punishment and torture, both physical and psychological, in the prisons and detention centres.
Farhad Hosseini, a postgraduate student in management at Azad University of Zanjan was arrested by the security forces on Tuesday 19 September and is currently held and being interrogated at the repressive IRGC’s (Islamic Revolution Guards Corps) detention centre in the city. On the following day, Mohammad Mehdi Vosoughian, an Anaesthesiology student and deputy secretary of the Students Union of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, was arrested and detained after 15 regime security agents stormed his residence, harshly beating and insulting him in the process.
Ms. Sarvenaz Ahmadi, a children’s rights advocate and campaigner as well as translator, currently imprisoned in Evin prison, also reported in a letter that was published on Sunday 17 September that several political prisoners who had not given in to the repression meted out to them and continued to support the popular protest movement were transferred, on Sunday 3 September, from Evin prison to the brutal and notorious Ghezel Hesar prison for further punishment. Ms. Ahmadi mentioned in her letter that her 28-year-old husband, Kamyar Fakour, who is a journalist in the field of environmental economics as well as a songwriter, was taken “along with 12 other prisoners […] to the secure ward of the notorious Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, under the false ploy of receiving visitors there. This act represents oppression heaped on top of oppression […] There are daily reports of their [the transferees’] increasingly dire condition, from abuse and beatings to the [point of] unconsciousness – as in the case of Jafar Ebrahimi, a teacher who should have been released due to his health conditions and not exiled to a horrible dungeon […] These 13 people are now on hunger strike in support of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising and have once again demonstrated that there is resistance wherever there is oppression.”
The prisoners who were transferred from Evin Prison to the brutal and filthy Ghezel Hesar Prison are: Jafar Ebrahimi, Kamyar Fakour, Luqman Aminpour, Saeed Masouri, Afshin Baimani, Sepehr Imamjomeh, Zartosht Ahmadi Ragheb, Mohammad Shafei, Saman Saidi (Yasin), Hamzeh Savari, Ahmadreza Haeri, Reza Salmanzadeh, and Masoudreza Ebrahiminijad.
The Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA), report on “the latest situation of the prisoners who were moved from Evin Prison to Ghezel Hesar Prison”, stated that the transferees have had to remain alert and stand guard around the clock to protect their own personal security. It has been reported that these political prisoners have been placed alongside dangerous convicted criminals, including those being held on death row.
According to this report, “the exiled prisoners do not have any access to fresh air and are kept 24 hours a day in a closed space with no ventilation.” Furthermore, their ward “lacks any cooking facilities or ordinary grocery provision.” The prison ward on which they are held “lacks basic facilities such as drinking water or hot water for taking a shower.” According to other reports published by human rights activists, in addition to the 13 prisoners transferred from Evin Prison to Ghezel Hesar Prison, 25 other political prisoners were also transferred to this dungeon from Gohardasht Prison.
In Sarvanaz Ahmadi’s letter, she confirmed that “As of today, 17 September, I will go on hunger strike in solidarity with the resistance of these prisoners and [even] following the conclusion of their hunger strike, I will continue to protest against their exile and double oppression with a sit-in and another hunger strike, if necessary […] This protest symbolizes the opposition to the unjust practice of exiling prisoners to another place of repression, such as a prison. It serves as a poignant reminder of the hardships faced by individuals like Jafar Ebrahimi, who is experiencing deteriorating eyesight […] This protest is a condemnation of the harassment, anxieties, and worries faced by many […] It is a small but meaningful tribute to honour the profound suffering and resilience of individuals like Maryam, the wife of Bektash Abtin, who wore a red wedding dress [after receiving the news of death in custody of her husband]. It is for my colleague, Anisha Asadollahi, who is refused her 3-minute due visitation time to see her husband, Keyvan, who is detained for [merely] reciting poetry. It is for Saeed Soltanpour who was kidnapped on his wedding night to supposedly erase him from the face of the earth. It is for Pouri and Morteza Keyvan [a famous Iranian poet executed by the Shah’s regime]. It is for all those who do not even have a specific grave, marking their love […] And it is for Hananeh Kia. Although my protest will transition into an individual effort after the collective hunger strike concludes, it is with unwavering faith in our collective actions and with the hope that the remnants of my strength will be enough for our delicate dream to prevail over the harsh reality that we are now facing.”
The Tudeh Party of Iran, together with all the freedom-loving forces of Iran and the world, condemns the continuation and intensification of the new wave of arrests and repressive measures by the [illegitimate] unpopular regime ruling our country. The progressive and national democratic forces of the country demand the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners.
The Tudeh Party of Iran once again calls upon all the freedom-loving and national democratic forces of the country to jointly organise and coordinate protest actions and demonstrate active solidarity with the country’s political prisoners and all fighters for freedom, democracy, and social justice – and [the Party] once more expresses its solidarity with the heroic movement of women, workers, and students of our homeland.
The Tudeh Party of Iran
20 September 2023
For the statements of the Tudeh Party of Iran and its analysis of major developments in Iran Please visit: www.tudehpartyiran.org