A British-Iranian engineer detained in Tehran’s Evin jail tried to kill himself three times in solitary confinement after agents threatened to harm his British-based relatives unless he co-operated during 12-hour interrogation sessions, his family has said.
During questioning inside a grim prison-within-a-prison controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, interrogators told Anoosheh Ashoori, 66, that agents had tracked the movements of his family in London.
They claimed to have logged the times that the family walked their pet dog and bought products from his daughter’s patisserie business in south-east London.
His family believes the information was gleaned from social media accounts but the threats drove the retired engineer to take drastic action.
“He concluded that: ‘I’m better off dead because at least I won’t pose a danger for them’,” his wife said.
“They have an expression at Evin that they make you commit suicide. They drive you to that point.”
The brutal treatment of Mr. Ashoori, who has now served more than three years of his sentence, as detailed in the UK’s parliament this week.
The treatment is likely to have been repeated with newly-detained dual nationals after their arrests on what their governments say are trumped-up charges.
Iranian-American Emad Shargi was jailed for 10 years for spying in November last year, while a German woman, Nahid Taghavi, 66, was arrested in October and has been held in an IRGC section of the prison and endured periods of solitary confinement.
The continuing detentions of dual-national prisoners present an early test for US President Joe Biden, who says that he wants to rejoin the deal to limit Tehran’s nuclear ambitions that were abandoned by his predecessor.