April 18, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Many detainees beaten during police search of Evin prison

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns yesterday’s grave violations of the rights of political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison. Around 100 riot police, accompanied by Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry officials in civilian dress, began a major inspection of the cells in Section 350, where political prisoners are held, at around 9 a.m. yesterday. According to relatives, when the prisoners objected to this irregular search and stayed in their cells to monitor their belongings, the police responded to the protest with extreme violence, smashing TV sets, equipment and personal effects. Dozens of detainees were beaten and then placed in solitary confinement in Security Section 240, regardless of their injuries. They included journalists and bloggers such as Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand, Hossein Ronaghi Malki, Mohammad Davari, Said Matinpour, Siamak Qaderi, Said Haeri and Yashar Darolshafa. They also included human rights lawyers Abdolfattah Soltani and Hotain Dolati, and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, an activist in the workers’ movement. “This government respects nothing, neither international law nor its own Islamic laws,” said Réza Moïni, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Iran-Afghanistan desk. “The violence used against these prisoners was gratuitous and cowardly, and was clearly designed to punish heroes who have continued to resist despite having suffered years of oppression. This is also a warning to Iranian civil society, which keeps on demanding more freedom and democracy. “The families of the detainees who have been placed in solitary have no news of them and are very worried. We share their concern and we call on the government to give firm guarantees that these prisoners of conscience will be protected.” Moïni added: “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilly and the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, must intervene as quickly as possible and put pressure on the Iranian authorities to protect these human rights defender and journalists in danger.” In an interview for the ILNA news agency, Iranian prison system director Golamhossien Esmaili denied “the false reports and rumours published by enemy news sites.” Nonetheless, according to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, the operation was prepared and organized by senior officials in the justice system, information department, Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry, and the presence of representatives from all of these departments during the raid was no coincidence.