“Furlough Does Not Apply” to Political Prisoner
Authorities have not accepted any requests for exiled political prisoner Zia Nabavi’s furlough nor for his transfer to another prison, his father Ali Akbar Nabavi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Unfortunately, the Tehran Prosecutor did not agree with any of our requests. We wanted Zia to come home for the New Year, but they told us that furlough does not apply to Zia, and they returned the letter of request we had sent to the Tehran Prosecutor about this,” said Ali Akbar Nabavi.
Traditionally, Iranian authorities grant furloughs to many non-violent prisoners, such as those convicted of political or financial crimes, during the days of Persian New Year. In recent years, however, judicial authorities have refused to grant furloughs to a large number of political prisoners. Many banned from visiting their families believe the selective granting of furloughs is a means of applying more pressure on prisoners and their families. While some prisoners are regularly granted furlough, a number of prominent political prisoners, including Zia Nabavi, have been denied furlough for the entirety of their sentence.
Referring to the change in the management of Karoon Prison in Ahvaz, Ali Akbar Nabavi told the Campaign that the conditions in this prison have improved compared to the past. “Fortunately, the nutrition, hygiene, and visitation conditions have improved in this prison, and during our last visit Zia was very well. But after all this time, he needs a furlough and to be near his family. Prison furlough is every prisoner’s right, including Zia’s,” said Zia Nabavi’s father.
“It is really difficult for us to travel the long distance to Ahvaz every week to visit with my son, which is why on many weeks when we are not able to make the trip, we are deprived from visiting with him. We requested that at least Zia be transferred to a prison in a town near where we live. We requested for his transfer to Tehran, but they said that this does not apply to Zia. In general, they don’t answer us properly,” Ali Akbar Nabavi said, adding, “I hope the authorities agree [to the transfer request.]”
Zia Nabavi is a former member of the Babol Industrial University Islamic Association, a spokesperson for the Right to Education Council, and a chemical engineering graduate of Babol Industrial University. Despite passing the graduate school entrance exam in sociology with top ranking in 2008, Zia Nabavi became a “starred student,” banned from enrollment and continuing his education. Zia Nabavi was arrested on 15 June 2009. A Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Pirabassi, sentenced Nabavi to 15 years in prison in exile from his native Tehran, which was later reduced at the appeals level to 10 years. Nabavi was accused of cooperating with the Mojahedi-e Khalq. He is currently serving his prison term at Karoon Prison in Ahvaz. In a 2011 letter addressed to Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, Zia Nabavi provided shocking details about the inhumane conditions of Karoon Prison. This led to a change in the conditions of political prisoners in that facility.