Following the murder of political prisoner Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali, 10 prisoners have written an open letter demanding basic human rights for political prisoners, including placing them on separate, dedicated wards in order to protect them.
Shir Mohammad Ali, who was 21, was held on a ward on Fashafuyeh Prison alongside dangerous criminals, despite the fact that he was held on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the regime” — charges routinely handed down to activists and journalists.
Although Shir Mohammad Ali had been in solitary confinement, two fellow inmates thought to be held on murder and drug offence charges were able to gain access to his cell and stab him to death. How they gained access is one of many questions surrounding the murder, with some on social media saying prison authorities left the door to his cell open. Shir Mohammad Ali's mother told IranWire that she believed someone else was responsible for her son’s death, hinting that it might have been a person in a position of authority. She also said she had been prevented from mourning him in the way she wanted. "We just wanted to mourn our loss, but they deprived us of even simple mourning," she told IranWire. "Why? What did my son do?"
Iranian authorities routinely place political prisoners on the same ward as dangerous criminals to intimidate and punish them. At the time of his death, Shir Mohammad Ali and another prisoner were on hunger strike in protest against this practice, calling for prisoners of conscience to be placed on separate, dedicated wards.
Open Letter From Political Prisoners in Response to the Murder of Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali
Every night they hunt down a star,
But this sad sky is always full of stars
Last week on visiting day, we found out about the murder of Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali. This caused us profound sadness, and even his mother could not mourn her only son [the way she intended].
This was not the first murder of a political prisoner, and it won’t be the last. Some time ago, another political prisoner, Vahid Sayadi Nasir, went on hunger strike because of conditions in Qom Prison. [Sayadi Nasir died in December 2018]. Alireza was also on hunger strike for 10 days, and he was eventually murdered in suspicious circumstances. For people like us who have experienced being imprisoned in different wards and even solitary confinement, it is clear that the door to a solitary confinement [cell] cannot remain open for any prisoner. It goes without saying that prisoners cannot have knives in their cells.
The Prisons Association has justified this murder and falsely claimed that political prisoners are not kept with dangerous criminals. But there is too much evidence to the contrary. Esmail Bakhshi, Amir Amirgholi, Jafar Azimzadeh and others in Evin Prison [are held alongside dangerous criminals], as are female prisoners Monireh Arabshahi, Yasaman Aryani, Saba Kordafshar, Shokoofeh Yadollahi, Sepideh Moradi, Elham Ahmadi, Marzieh Amiri, Atefeh Rangriz, Neda Naji, Sepideh Gholian, and others in Gharchak Prison, as well as dozens of Gonabadi Dervish prisoners in Fashafuyeh prison, including Soheil Arabi and Akbar Bagheri, along with many other in prisons across the country. These false claims have resulted in the death of many political prisoners including Zahra Kazemi, Akbar Mohammadi, Valiollah Feyzmahdavi, Abdolreza Rajabi, Omidreza Mirsayafi, Hoda Saber, Sattar Beheshti, Shahrokh Zamani, Saroo Ghahremani, Sina Ghanbari and others.
Therefore, political prisoners at Gohardasht Prison in Karaj offer our condolences to the family of our lost friend. We mourn him, as we mourned when we heard the news that the Moradi brothers, Zaniar and Loghman, were executed. We ask his family and all other decent human beings not to remain silent and to avenge Alireza’s blood and secure the basic rights of anonymous political prisoners in jails all over the country. No one should see this incident as a violent fight between two prisoners and we need to find and prosecute people who ordered his murder. People ignored Alireza’s hunger strike and his frequent requests to be transferred to a prison ward dedicated to political inmates. They premeditated his murder and made it happen.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Gohardasht Prison, Karaj, Iran