Eighteen political prisoners detained in Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj have published an open letter protesting the authorities’ recent deportation and transfer of political prisoners and filing new cases against them.
In the letter, the prisoners of conscience refute recent claims by judiciary head Ebrahim Raeesi that prisoners’ rights are upheld in Iran. These statements, they say, were “untrue” and in fact the level of oppression and inhumane treatment they are experiencing has intensified.
They describe numerous recent instances of being beaten, insulted, transferred arbitrarily to solitary confinement and having new cases suddenly filed against them. "Obviously, these actions will not cause political prisoners to retreat from defense of their human rights,” they wrote. “But they do demonstrate the government's fear of our cries for justice, and are the outcome of the irredeemable political, economic and social impasse in which they find themselves."
The signatories of the letter include trade unionist Jafar Azimzadeh, student activist Arash Sadeghi, athlete Saeed Masouri and civil rights activist Farhad Meysamy. The group also said the government was trying to "raise the cost of imprisonment" to intimidate other discontented citizens of Iran and prevent future protests, while its "intensifying the systematic harassment of detainees and their families" aimed to silence them. Neither, they said, would work.
Over the past month the pressure being exerted by the Iranian regime on political prisoners has reached unprecedented levels. A wave of sudden transfers and deportations of political prisoners has taken place without explanation. On Wednesday, March 17, Atena Daemi, a civil activist imprisoned in Evin Prison, was deported to Lakan Prison in Rasht. It came a week after activist Sepideh Gholian was suddenly moved from Evin Prison to Bushehr, despite having asked to be transferred to Ahvaz, where her family lives. Former teachers’ union leader Esmail Abdi has also been moved between various prisons several times recently.