close button
Switch to Iranwire Light?
It looks like you’re having trouble loading the content on this page. Switch to Iranwire Light instead.

Evin Prison Prepares for New Arrivals

January 3, 2018
Fereshteh Nasehi
4 min read
The number of arrestees is not known but Evin Prison is preparing for new inmates
The number of arrestees is not known but Evin Prison is preparing for new inmates

Since the arrests of dozens of protesters over the last few days, life at Evin Prison has become noisier and busier, with new prisoners being ushered in and moved around the prison. For many inmates, it’s not the news agencies that have been providing key information outside the prison — it’s what they have gleaned from witnessing how Evin has changed in recent days. 

IranWire spoke an inmate serving a sentence for financial misconduct who is currently held at the prison’s Ward 7. He described what it was like. 

“I was woken up early in the morning by the noises of prisoners’ traffic,” he said. “They were evacuating one of the rooms in the middle of Ward 7, mostly occupied by financial offenders. When they transferred one of the inmates to our room and we were curious about the transfers, he said that it appears that they want to transfer the new detainees to that room.”

The inmate said that all leave of absence for both political and ordinary prisoners have been revoked until further notice. “We are keenly following the news and we are very worried,” he said. “We don’t receive many newspapers and the TV reports the news in dribs and drabs — but one can get an idea about what is happening outside by the unusual situation inside the prison.”


Scraped Off the Streets

According to the inmate we spoke to, a number of new detainees who are considered to be “clean” and have no record of political or security arrests — those who, as prisoners say, have been “scraped off” the streets — have been sent to the “isolation ward” where they have no contact with other prisoners. The rest of the prisoners, the ones the government considers to be more dangerous or who have records of being arrested for political activities, have been sent to Ward 2A, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, and Ward 209, run by the Intelligence Ministry.

The government has not provided any official figures for the arrests over the last five days since the protests began on December 28 and spread to other cities on December 29. However, officials have confirmed that a number of protesters have been arrested. “Teams have been dispatched to the prison and are separating out those have been arrested in the events of recent days,” Mostafa Mohebbi, director general of Tehran province’s prisons, told Fars News Agency [Persian link]. “The number of arrests was not so high as to create a problem for us in receiving them.” He added that the number of people arrested over the last four days was below 200.

At the same time, the Intelligence Ministry’s public relations office announced that a number of “hostile elements and rioters” had been arrested — and that the search for others continues. This announcement indicates that there will be more arrests in the coming days.

1,200 New Blindfolds

According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) [Persian link], a workshop inside Evin Prison has been ordered to stop making uniforms. Workers there have instead been instructed to make 1,200 blue blindfolds. It is likely that these blindfolds are being prepared for the new detainees.

In the meantime, over the last few days, Gonabadi dervishes have staged a sit-in outside Evin Prison to protest against the arrests of their friends and fellow Sufis. On December 30, security forces arrested five Gonabadi dervishes. One was released but four — Kasra Nouri, Mohammad Sharifi Moghadam, Mohammad Reza Darvishi and Faezeh Abdipour — remain in prison and have gone on hunger strike.

Reza Entesari, an administrator of the Gonabadi dervishes’ Majzooban-e Noor website who knows firsthand what long incarcerations feel like, told IranWire that the four Sufis have been charged with “activities against national security,” a charge he says the government regularly uses “whenever it wants to crack down on social and rights activists.” The regime, he says, argues that people’s freedoms must be restricted in order to protect national security. Its officials, he says, believe that “security is endangered when people say things or behave in way that they do not approve of. They are punished by kangaroo courts in violation of all laws and rules.”

Settling Accounts

Entesari also says the regime is taking advantage of the recent unrest to settle accounts with social activists.

Supporters of the imprisoned Sufis have been using the hashtag #تحصن (“Sit-In”) to protest against the arrests. And they are especially worried about those who are on hunger strike.

As well as the arrests of Sufi activists, there have been many reports of another targeted group: high school students. Journalists from the well-known newspaper Shargh apparently spoke to an informed source about the arrests., and were told that detainees under 20 years of age are scheduled to be released on Thursday, January 4. The number of people who may be released is unknown but, according to Shargh, there is at least one 15-year-old student among them.




Hundreds Arrested in Iran as Protests Continue

January 2, 2018
Arash Azizi
4 min read
Hundreds Arrested in Iran as Protests Continue