Female political prisoners in Iran facing ‘psychological torture’, say campaigners

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran face increased jail terms and transfers to prisons with “dangerous and alarming” conditions, hundreds of miles away from their families, according to campaigners.

Warnings of the deteriorating treatment of female prisoners in Iran come days after Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian national who has served a five-year prison sentence in Iran, was sentenced to a further year in jail and a year-long travel ban by the Iranian courts.

Human rights campaigners said that in the past six months increasing numbers of Iranian women jailed for human rights and political activism had been moved from Evin prison in Tehran to prisons outside the capital city without warning.

The women were locked up in the same area as criminals who had committed serious offences such as murder, in breach of Iranian law and international standards. Campaigners said that some had been raped by interrogators, attacked by fellow prisoners or denied medical treatment.

Shiva Mahbobi, spokesperson for the Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, described it as “a way of subjecting them to psychological torture”.

“It is really, really bad,” she said. “[The guards] take away all their stuff; the family does not know where they are. There is a lack of drinking water, and lots of illnesses and contagious diseases.

“The guards intentionally plan for non-political prisoners to attack them. Some families can’t go and visit; if they can, it’s difficult to do often.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer imprisoned for her work defending women’s rights and protesting against Iran’s forced veiling laws, was transferred from Evin prison to Shahr-e Rey prison in Varamin, outside Tehran, in October last year. In January she was diagnosed with a myocardial bridge – symptoms include angina, chest pain and other heart complications. She was told by a doctor to avoid stress and that she should be held in a well-ventilated space.

Read the complete article at: The Guardian

Also Read: Families of Europeans imprisoned in Iran accuse governments of kowtowing to Tehran

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