IRAN WATCH CANADA

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Shirin Ebadi writes to Ahmad Shaheed about transfer of 10 political prisoners to solitary cells: Attention to the conditions of prisoners will prevent future incidents



Attention to the conditions of prisoners will prevent future incidents
In the wake of the transfer of 10 political prisoners held in Ward 350 of the Evin Prison to solitary confinement, Shirin Ebadi, the human rights defender and winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has sent a letter to Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights situation in Iran, calling on this international authority to prevent further incidents and consequences by paying due attention to the conditions of prisoners throughout Iran, particularly the inmates at Ward 350 of the Evin Prison. In her letter, furthermore, Dr Ebadi has urged Mr Shaheed to bring the attention of the Iranian state authorities to the fact that ensuring the well-being of inmates is the responsibility of prison authorities.
Dr Ebadi has also asked Mr Shaheed to record her letter formally in the file of the Iranian Government, and take its content into consideration in the course of his investigations. According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, the full text of Shirin Ebadi’s letter to Ahmad Shaheed, which was sent on 15 Ordibehesht 1392 (5 May 2013), is as follows:
Your Excellency Dr Ahmad Shaheed; the United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights situation in Iran.
Following my previous reports, I would like to inform you respectfully that the conditions of people held in prisons in Iran because of their political or ideological beliefs are deteriorating almost on a daily basis. For instance, based on reports received from inside the Evin Prison, the food served to the inmates is of a very poor quality, unhygienic and largely inedible. As a result, the prisoners have no choice but to go to the sole shop in the prison to meet their needs for vital goods, such as fresh fruit and vegetable or other foodstuff. The prison shop, for its part, is confounding the problem by supplying sub-standard goods at prices which are many times higher than the true, market price.
Under these conditions, the inmates of Ward 350 of the Evin Prison chose one of their fellow political prisoners, Saeed Madani, in order to follow up their grievances. However, not only this move failed to bring about any improvements in the situation, the pursuit of the complaints with the relevant officials in fact led to the transfer of the above-mentioned person, together with nine other political prisoners, to solitary confinement on 8 Ordibehesht 1392 [28 April 2013], and they have been there since then. The other nine inmates transferred were: Abdollah Mo’meni, Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Siamak Qaderi, Amir Khosro Dalir Sani, Mohammad Hasan Yusefpur Seyfi, Saeed Abedini, Kamran Ayazi, Mohammad Ebrahimi and Puriya Ebrahimi.
In the wake of these events, a number of political prisoners at the ward have announced that if the present situation continues, they will start a hunger strike, and this of course will only lead to the further aggravation of the situation.
Furthermore, the prison clinic lacks the necessary facilities, and inmates who are suffering from serious ailments have been forced to pay for their own treatment. At the moment, several prisoners, such as Abolfazl Abedini Nasr and Mohammad Ebrahimi, are ill and they need medical treatment. However, their treatment needs are being ignored. In view of the fact that in the previous years, a number of prisoners, such as Hoda Saber and Mohsen Dogmehchi, lost their lives because they were deprived of timely medical treatment, it is clear that the lack of medical and treatment facilities is posing a threat to the lives of the prisoners. This is an issue which the prison authorities are treating with indifference.
In addition, according to his family members, Mehdi Khazali, who been on hunger strike now for more than 100 days in protest against his unlawful arrest and detention, has lost more than 30 kilogramme of his weight, and he is currently in a dangerous condition.
In view of these points, in order to prevent further adverse consequences, it is absolutely vital that immediate attention should be given to the situation of prisoners across the country, particularly the inmates of Ward 350 of the Evin Prison. Therefore, I would like to request you to draw the attention of the Iranian state authorities to the fact that ensuring the health and hygiene of prisoners, be they political or non-political, is the responsibility of the prison officials.
I would be grateful if this letter is recorded in the file of the Iranian Government, and its content is utilized during the course of further investigations.
Yours with respect,
Shirin Ebadi,
Human rights defender and winner of Nobel Peace Prize, 2003
15 Ordibehesht 1392 [5 May 2013]
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