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Iran: Authorities fear new prison riots, resort to severe measures

Iranian authorities are taking severe measures to prevent further riots in prisons
Iranian authorities are taking severe measures to prevent further riots in prisons

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 5, 2020—Following recent riots by inmates in various prisons across Iran in the past few weeks, the mullahs’ regime has ordered the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in charge of security in the Greater Tehran Prison (Fashafuyeh) to prevent a possible scenario in this facility.

IRGC units have stationed at this jail since March 30 and are resorting to a variety of measures to install a climate of fear among the inmates. IRGC commanders have stationed armed units around the prison and from 11 pm to 12 am each night they sound various sirens and dispatch their motorcycle units to further intimidate the inmates.

The prisoners in this facility have been told that these soldiers have orders to kill on sight and anyone seen in the prison courtyard will be shot immediately. Furthermore, groups of IRGC officers are seen in the facility’s halls to make their presence known and intimidate the inmates. During the past few days, 11 inmates of one hall in ward 1 were transferred to solitary confinement under bogus pretexts.

These measures aiming to instill fear among the inmates are taking place while coronavirus is spreading in this facility with a number of inmates infected. The threat of this illness is endangering the inmates’ lives.

A report on April 4 following riots in Sheiban Prison of Ahvaz, southwest Iran, sheds light on horrible conditions in this facility. “This prison is made up of many silos. One thousand inmates are held in each silo. In total there are around 8,000 inmates held at this site,” the report from inside Iran indicates. “No death row inmates are held here, and those prisoners are in Sepidar Prison. During the recent riot in [Sheiban] prison, the inmates set fire to various areas of the facility, forcing the prison guards to open the gates. One of the inmates who lost his life in this fire was probably around 25 years old. The phone lines of this prion are down and inmates’ families who go to the prison in person are provided no answers from the authorities.”

Further reports indicate that following riots on March 31, intelligence authorities in Ahvaz transferred political prisoners from ward 5 of Sheiban Prison to an undisclosed location where they have been placed under interrogation and severe pressure. Authorities are using torture methods to force the inmates to provide coerced confessions and acknowledge accusations of instigating these recent riots.



Some family members are saying all inmates of ward 5 in Sheiban Prison, including political prisoners from Ahvaz, supporters of the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and exiled political prisoners have been transferred by the local Intelligence Department.

New incoming reports indicate that on Tuesday, March 31, an inmate by the name of Naser Zobeidi was shot and killed by prison guards during the riot in Sheiban prison. The prisoners were protesting the authorities’ refusal to release the inmates and lack of hygiene supplies during the ongoing coronavirus crisis in Iran.

In Sepidar Prison, another facility in Ahvaz, riots broke out on Monday, March 30, as inmates were demanding at least temporary leave due to the coronavirus epidemic. The names of two other inmates killed when prison guards opened fire have been obtained. Sajjad Peeshdad and Alireza Hajivand were both from the Kuy Modarres district in Ahvaz. To this day the names and particulars of nine inmates killed by authorities on March 30 in Sepidar Prison have been published.



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On Monday afternoon local time, March 30, inmates of Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz launched a riot. Video posted on social media platforms showed smoke rising from Sepidar Prison that could be seen from afar. Local reports indicate family members of inmates held in Sepidar Prison rallied outside the facility expressing concerns about their loved ones.

The riot in this prison was launched as inmates were protesting lack of hygiene necessities and authorities’ refusal to at least grant temporary leave for the inmates during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Security forces at the prison responded by opening fire and using tear gas against the protesting inmates.

Names and particulars of a number of these inmates killed on March 30 are as follows:

  1. Shahin Zoheiri, from the city of Khorramshahr, southwest Iran
  2. Mohammad Rashg, from the city of Ahvaz, southwest Iran
  3. Ali Khaffaji
  4. Majid Zobeidi, from the city of Ahvaz, southwest Iran
  5. Mohammad Tamouli Tarafi, 25, from the city of Bestan, southwest Iran. He was placed behind bars back in 2018 and was serving a seven-year term.
  6. Seyed Reza Khorsani (Moqinami), 38, married and from the city of Dasht-e Azadegan near Susangerd, southwest Iran
  7. Mohammad Salamat, from the city of Ahvaz, southwest Iran

Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), expressed grave concerns about the situation of two prisons in Ahvaz, southwest Iran.

“With grave concern over the situation in Shaiban and Sepidar prisons of Ahvaz, I urge an international fact-finding mission be dispatched to visit these two prisons and inquire about the number of those killed and wounded, and conditions of the sick,” Madam Rajavi said. “I urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iran to compel the regime to announce the whereabouts and conditions of the detainees and wounded prisoners who have disappeared. I call on the prisoners’ families, relatives and friends to follow up on the conditions of the captives and do not relent until they are unconditionally released. The clerical regime must free all of them and this is the only way to save them from coronavirus.”