More than ten political prisoners return to the horrific Karoun prison, concerns rise for Zia Nabavi


A new development has caused serious concern among human rights activists and groups. More than ten political prisoners in Ahvaz Cilnic have been suddenly returned to Karoun Prison (also located in the city of Ahvaz, the capital of the Khuzestan province) without any explanation given by the Iranian authorities.

The transfer has caused serious worry that there is a possibility *starred student activist Zia Nabavi and the remaining political prisoners will also be returned to Karoun prison.

Political prisoners in Karoun prison are held with dangerous criminals and drug addicts. Sources say that  the hygienic, food, and security conditions in this prison are despicable. The political prisoners who returned to Karoun all have been issued prison sentences above ten years.

In may 2011, following a letter Zia Nabavi wrote to Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Human Rights Council of the Iranian Judiciary, about the appalling conditions in Karoun prison (in Ahvaz, the capital of the Khuzestan province), Zia Nabavi and other political prisoners were transferred to Ahvaz Clinic.

This prison is less crowded and, based on the accounts of prisoners and their families, the prison officials and staff treat the prisoners better. However, the conditions in Ahvaz Clinic are far from ideal.  Despite the scorching heat, the prison lacks a refrigerator or any cooling/AC equipment, and the prisoners have been able to purchase fruit once in the last two months. Nevertheless, overall, the conditions are considered a significant improvement compared to the dreadful Karoun Prison.


Zia Nabavi’s family faces problems visiting him

It takes the Nabavi family approximately 17 hours to travel to Ahvaz from their village Chasham in the Semnan province (These times do not include the waiting periods between transfers):

  • 2 hours from Chasham to the city of Semnan
  • 3 hours bus ride from Semnan to Tehran
  • 13 hours bus ride from Tehran to Ahvaz.

More information on Zia Nabavi

Seyed Zia Nabavi is a member of the general council of Tahkim Vahdat (Iranian student alumni organization), a starred student, and co-founder of the Right to Education Council. He was a graduate student at Babol Noshirvani University of Technology and a member of the university’s Islamic association (from 2003 to 2007). Despite ranking one of the top in his university entrance exam in the field of sociology, he was “starred” and banned from continuing his education.

Three days following the 2009 Iranian Presidential election and the ensuing protests, Zia Nabavi was arrested along with some of his friends (June 15, 2009). Since his arrest Zia Nabavi has served over two years of his prison sentence, and ten months of it was spent in exile; however, the Iranian authorities have denied him prison furlough.

Zia Nabavi endured severe physical and psychological pressures for the first four months of interrogations before he was eventually sentenced by Judge PirAbassi in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court to 15 years in prison (10 years prison exile in the city of Izeh) and 74 lashes. His sentence was reduced to ten years in prison exile by the Appeals Court. Zia Nabavi was exiled from Evin prison to Karoun prison on September 23, 2010. He had to endure seven months in this horrific prison.

Atefeh Nabavi, Zia Nabavi’s cousin is serving a three-year sentence in Evin prison. She has also been imprisoned since June 15, 2009, without a day of furlough.

In continuation with the pressures exerted on the Nabavi family, Alireza Nabavi, Atefeh Nabavi’s husband was also arrested by security forces. He was sentenced to two years in prison and one year exile outside of [his home province] Semnan.



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