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Prisoners

Beaten In Jail, No lawyer: Two Young Men In The Black Holes Of Iran’s Repressive System

December 13, 2022
Maryam Dehkordi
4 min read
Sajjad Islamizadeh, 27, is an apprentice at a home appliance store in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.
Sajjad Islamizadeh, 27, is an apprentice at a home appliance store in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.
Omid Emran, the 18-year-old son of former political prisoner Dariush Emran, was detained in the northeastern city of Mashad.
Omid Emran, the 18-year-old son of former political prisoner Dariush Emran, was detained in the northeastern city of Mashad.

More than 18,000 Iranians have been detained in the state crackdown on nationwide protests that erupted nearly three months ago, according to the Committee for Follow-Up on the Status of Detainees. Only 3,500 of those detained have been identified.

Some of them were handed long prison sentences and others were released on bail, but thousands continue to languish in jail with their families ignoring their whereabouts.

Many of these families are now breaking the silence surrounding their loved ones. Some of them are publishing information about their relatives on social media, while others have asked friends who are facing lesser restrictions to be their voices.

This report tells the stories of two detainees who are being kept being bars under unknown charges: 18-year-old Omid Emran from the northeastern city of Mashad and 27- year-old Sajjad Islamizadeh from Ahvaz, in the southwest.

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"More than 50 days have passed since my son Omid was arrested. They arrested my son on false charges so that they could force me to cooperate", Dariush Emran says in a voice message sent to IranWire.

He is a former political prisoner who now lives abroad and has previously spoken to IranWire about his bitter experience of custody, during which he was forced to make a confession.

"My son is 18 years old. He studies and takes care of my elderly mother. In the early days of the protests, the school students were forced to sing the 'Salute Commander' song. The children refused to sing, and the school staff called the special unit and beat the schoolchildren," he says.

Dariush Emran says his son was on his way to parkour class when he was detained along with other classmates.

"His classmates were chanting on the way. Many of them were arrested along with Omid and taken to the police station. Most of Omid's classmates were released the same day, but Omid was transferred along with two others to the IRGC intelligence and then to the quarantine ward of Vakil Abad prison".

"The prosecutor in charge of Omid's case is Mohsen Golmohammadi Tolaei, he was personally present when Omid was beaten and forced to make a confession. I learned that he was transferred from the quarantine ward to ward 1 of Vakil Abad prison, but he must be released."

"I’ve been threatened that I won’t see my son again. My elderly mother has been threatened that she has no right to talk about her grandson anyone. When I heard the news of Mohsen Shekari's governmental murder (eds: execution), I felt sick. My wife became so weak that I had to take her to a hospital. My son didn’t commit any crime”.

The prosecutor has set the bail at $55,000, but the authorities said that “he will not be released, even on bail”, the father says.

"Omid does not have an appointed lawyer yet. I do not have any direct contact with my child and family. My mother is 80 years old and is not in good physical condition”.

“I was taken down to a basement and they beat me a lot”

Sajjad Islamizadeh, 27, is an apprentice at a home appliance store in Ahvaz.

He was arrested when about 20 plainclothes agents from the Ahvaz Intelligence Department raided the family house in the middle of the night, a source told IranWire.

The security forces didn't have a warrant and told the family that Islamizadeh would be released after answering “two or three questions”.

“But since that day, no one has given any answer to the worried family of this young man. His family is very worried and under pressure, because Sajjad has had no political activity and has always been busy with his work," the source added.

There is no information about Islamizadeh’s whereabouts, and he has been deprived of having a lawyer.

A person told IranWire that he has had only one two-minute call with his family two weeks after his arrest.

"He said in the short call, 'I don't know where I am. I only know I was taken down some stairs to a basement and that they beat me a lot.' His call was interrupted, and he never called again".

During the phone call, Islamizadeh asked why the family didn't provide bail for him, the same informed person said.

"This is an example of the mental torture exerted on this young man. The Ahvaz Intelligence Department hasn’t provided any answers to his family, but they have told him that they are waiting for the bail money. They have confiscated his family's phones. The username and password of their Instagram accounts have also been taken from them, and…they are under a lot of pressure from the security institutions," the source said.

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