Prisoners urge UN investigator to visit Iranian prisons

Fri, 06/24/2011

Six Iranian political prisoners held at Rejaishahr Prison in Karaj have urged Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations special rapporteur for Iran, to inspect Iranian prisons.

Saham News reports that the prisoners have also called on Shaheed to visit their families.

The signatories, who include detained teachers, journalists and political activists, write in their letter that they were arrested for their “civil action though participation in the presidential election of June 12, 2009” and efforts to create “change and democratic developments in Iran’s political situation and Iran’s human rights activities.”

They maintain that their activities “are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations conventions and resolutions” that the Iranian government is required to follow.

They write that their “peaceful activities” are being labelled as “soft sedition” and “anti-Revolutionary” by the government and used as an excuse to arrest them and interrogate them “under inappropriate conditions and severe mental and physical pressure.”

Their letter draws the UN rapporteur’s attention to “unfair trials, beyond what the law allows, held in secret without the presence of a defence attorney.” They add that they have been subjected to “long prison sentences and exile, held in sub-standard prisons and forced to live under inhumane and un-Islamic restrictions for prisoners and their families.”

Some of the signatories to the letter are also part of a group of six prisoners at Rejaishahr Prison who are currently on a hunger strike to protest the deaths of two other political prisoners, Haleh Sahabi and Reza Hoda Saber. Their strike was inspired by a similar campaign by 12 prisoners at Evin Prison. They started their strike following reports that prison authorities beat Hoda Saber, who was also on a hunger strike, and delayed in taking him to hospital, which the prisoners claim resulted in his death.

Iranian authorities have said that Shaheed, the UN rights investigator, will not be allowed to travel to Iran. They have accused the West of using human rights issues as a political tool against its enemies.



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