Shahryar Baratinya, a 27-year-old Iranian activist, was forcibly deported from Türkiye to Iran on August 3 and has been confined to solitary detention ever since.
For the first two weeks following Baratinya’s deportation and subsequent apprehension by Iranian security agencies, his family did not know if he was alive, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
Currently incarcerated in Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, Baratinya has since been able to reach out to his relatives only twice.
He is reportedly facing intense pressure to give self-incriminating statements.
Who is Shahryar Baratinya; Why Is He Incarcerated?
On August 3, Turkish border guards handed Shahryar Baratinya over to their Iranian counterparts at the Bazargan border crossing in West Azerbaijan province.
After that he remained under the custody of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence and security agencies.
Baratinya is a human rights activist and a former political prisoner. He arrived in Sweden in 2019, where he sought to continue his studies.
In August 2021, when he flew to Iran to visit his family, he was arrested at Tehran airport by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
According to documents previously obtained by IranWire, several accusations were leveled against him: "Propaganda against the system," "membership in groups aiming to disrupt the country's security," actively working to "incite violence and promote killing with the intent of disrupting national security," and "encouraging and inciting individuals to commit violent acts through online platforms."
The IranWire source said that these charges stem from his "online activism," meaning his posts on social networks.
According to this source, Baratinya was temporarily released from prison on a 700-million-tomans ($14,000) bail.
"After his release, he faced constant threats and harassment, which forced him to leave the country illegally as his documents remained in the authorities' possession," the sources explained.
"He lived in Türkiye without legal residency for several months until July, when police in Istanbul arrested him for not having proper identification and residency documents."
The former political prisoner was taken from a camp in Dogubeyazit to the nearby Iranian border on August 3.
Human rights activists, organizations and the Turkish Immigration Department had all sounded alarm over the dangers the young man would face if sent back to Iran.
From School to Evin Prison
As reported by the source who spoke to IranWire, Baratinya pursued his middle school and high school education in one of the prestigious schools under Iran's Talent Organization, known as Tiz-Hoshan, in the city of Yasouj.
"He is not affiliated with any political party or organization. Shahryar is an intellectual and a member of the educated elite, driven by a strong commitment to human rights and the welfare of the most vulnerable members of society," the source said.
"He displays a deep sense of empathy for people’s suffering and has consistently maintained that humanity possesses profound depths, often unheard or disregarded. Consequently, he endeavored to amplify the voices of those in pain, particularly those most marginalized."
Information obtained by IranWire reveals that Baratinya was held in a detention center in the city of Khoi in West Azerbaijan for the first two weeks following his deportation to Iran.
During this period, his family was unable to make any contact with him and remained clueless about his whereabouts and fate.
As the news of his deportation became public, his family scoured cities along the Iran-Turkey border in search of traces of him, but their efforts bore no fruit.
When Baratinya was eventually transferred to Tehran, their attempts to meet him or have a phone conversation with him were met with indifference.
Baratinya found himself in Ward 209 of Evin prison, where he endured solitary confinement and relentless pressure to confess to unspecified charges.
According to the source, Baratinya was permitted to make two brief phone calls to his family.
In one of these calls, he spoke to his mother in the Lori language but his interrogator intervened, insisting that he communicate in Persian.
Baratinya explained that his mother does not understand Persian, prompting the termination of the call.
Meanwhile, his parents grappled with profound distress, particularly his mother, who cried incessantly and was deeply troubled by the situation.
Baratinya's father, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, faced disrespect and indiference when he came to Tehran to seek information about his son’s case.