Tag Archives: Rajai Shahr prison

Jailed labor activist Shahrokh Zamani suffered fatal stroke behind bars

COyqCsRUkAATK2ACommittee of Human Rights Reporters – Labor activist and political prisoner Shahrokh Zamani passed away in Rajai Shahr prison today after suffering a fatal stroke. The Kaleme website reports that the labor activist who was sentenced to eleven years in prison and jailed since 2011, died behind bars today.

According to CHRR, Shahrokh Zamani, labor activist was arrested on June 7, 2011, sentenced to 11 years in prison, transferred to various prisons before his last transfer to Rajai Shahr prison. He spent long periods of time in solitary confinement and was often banned from face-to-face visitations and phone calls.

Zamani was a member of the Council of Representatives of Labor Organizations and the Painters’ Union. His heavy sentence was handed down by Branch 1 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court on the charges of “propaganda against the regime”, “endangering national security” and “participating in organization of an illegal group” by setting up a coordination committee to help with the creation of independent labor unions.

According to CHRR, one year after his arrest Zamani published a letter addressed to international human rights agencies, trade unions and all freedom loving people unveiling the torture and illegal treatment of prisoners behind bars.

In a letter to Amnesty International, Shahrokh Zamani stated that his lawyer was not given access to his court files or allowed to speak in court, and that his sentencing was pre-determined. He described how he had been kept in solitary confinement for 36 days and put under severe psychological and physical duress in an effort to extract a false confession, which he refused. He was transferred to the public ward after launching a hunger strike and endured 4 months of brutal interrogations before his court date. His hunger strike began in solidarity with members of the Dervishes (Sufi group) who had been imprisoned, and was later extended to the grim situation of all political prisoners. It was reported that he lost massive amounts of weight and suffered serious health problems as a result of his hunger strike. Amnesty declared Zamai a prisoner of conscience and published a statement saying “he is facing reprisals for demanding prisoners’ rights inside Raja’i Shahr Prison.”

In a letter on April 9, 2014 to Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Zamani wrote of the prisoners’ grievances and ill treatment. He wrote, “As a trade unionist, I have been arrested and imprisoned illegally and have been exiled to one of the worst prisons in Iran, which is comparable to the prisons of the middle ages.” He ended his letter saying, “Considering the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are responsible for any mental and physical harm [that might come to me], I urge you to dispatch an inquiry commission and put pressure on the Islamic Republic to fulfill their obligations according to their own laws.” Representing the political prisoners of Ward 12 of Rajai Shahr prison, Zamani wrote, “[I am] trying to defend the rights of the prisoners, by objecting to those in charge about the closing of the only library of the prison, the increase in the spread of dangerous electrical noises, and the beating of prisoners. I asked the authorities to respect the prisoners’ rights in accordance with the internal bylaws of the prisons through a letter.”

In December 2014 Zamani wrote a letter from prison addressed to international labor organizations. In it he stated, “with no control from below by workers’ or people’s organizations and the banning of the slightest freedoms of speech, press and parties, the ruling class, ranked 144th out of 157 countries of the world for bribery, has increased the scale of open looting, embezzling and stealing of the national treasury to disastrous levels.” He described his illegal arrest for exercising his legal rights. “I have been condemned merely for legitimate and legal defense of the right to establish independent organizations, to strike – universal rights that are officially recognized throughout the world – and in defense of wages that match inflation, job security, unemployment and health insurance, pensions, and a labor law that guarantees the basic rights of the 50 million members of Iran’s workers’ households.”

On top of his heavy prison sentence Mr. Zamani was further harassed in the past years by being transferred to various prisons including Tabriz, Yazd, Ghazal Hesar and finally Rajai Shahr Prison. He was not allowed to attend his daughter’s wedding or his mother’s funeral. Before her death, in a February 2013 interview with CHRR, Zarin Najti, mother of Shahrokh Zamani disclosed that her son was denied medical furlough, prison visitation and phone calls. She shared that the family was suffering great stress from not being able to make ends meet without Mr. Zamani’s wages. She said to CHRR, “I ask that they allow me to see my child. He is a laborer; he has a wife and kids. What is his crime? Clearly he is a laborer so he defended his fellow workers and there is nothing wrong with doing that. They must release him.”

She died without seeing her son or his release. Shahrokh Zamani who was known to be strong and athletic was in good health before his arrest. He died in prison today of a reported brain aneurism and stroke.



The use of new pretexts by judicial authorities to prevent the release of political prisoners

Kaleme – Sepand Mir Yousefi Despite the new Islamic Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedures which effectively could lead to the release of many political prisoners, judicial authorities not only insist on the unjust prison sentences to be fully served, they also seek to keep the prisoners behind bars even after their prison sentences have been served. To accomplish this, the authorities have used some prisoners’ time out on prison furlough as an excuse to prevent them from release when their terms are done. On the other hand the wife of Mehdi Mahmoudian says a representative of the Prosecutor’s office gave them verbal assurances that prison furlough would not be counted as a leave of absence. According to Kaleme, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Bahman Ahmadi Amoui and Masoud Bastani are 3 such political prisoners who were arrested in 2009 during the events of mass protests following the disputed presidential election results. All 3 have been serving their sentences in Rajai Shahr prison. Prison officials have so far abstained from tending to their legal files consequently postponing their release dates. However what the judicial authority labels as a leave of absence is in reality the time that these prisoners – per the verbal approval of the representative of the Prosecutor’s office – remained out of prison while on furlough. Mehdi Mahmoudian [prominent journalist who exposed gross human rights violations at the Kahrizak detention center, and member of the now banned Participation Front political party] –  is one such prisoner who was due to be released today August 21st.  But he remains behind bars and per orders of prison authorities his release date has been extended until September 7th. Elham Zolfaghari in an interview with Kaleme explains the dealings between judicial authorities and her husband Mehdi Mahmoudian leading to his release date being prolonged for an extra 2 weeks.

Mr. Mahmoudian was arrested in September 2009 and has been behind bars since then with the exception of a few short releases on furlough. Considering the fact that his prison sentence was 5 years, what is the exact date of his sanctioned release?

His release date was set for August 21st, which is today. But last year he was granted furlough for about 3-4 months along with [political prisoners & journalists] Bahman Amoui and Masoud Bastani. At that time they went to the Prosecutor’s office several times to request an increase to their time on furlough, and [deputy prosecutor] Mr. Khodabakhsi himself said not to come back to the office because they would put extensions into effect themselves, and would call the prisoners and let them know whenever it was required of them to report back to prison. But then one month and 20 days before the [Persian] New Year they called and said, ‘Why haven’t you come back? We will count this period of time that you failed to return as a leave of absence!’

So the time that they had verbally acquiesced to as an extension to furlough, they ended up counting as a leave of absence? When did you become aware of this?

The document that was given to Mehdi showed February 21, 2015 as his release date prompting us along with other families to make visits to the Prosecutor’s office. We said the time off was on furlough and you were the ones who told us you would call when it was required of them to go back to prison. After all a prisoner’s leave of absence doesn’t happen like this. One day maybe they don’t show up,; 5 days; 20 days; but no one will not show up for 160 days, especially knowing that the days will be counted towards a leave of absence. For Mr. Amoui they had tallied 140 days and for Masoud Bastani 120 days. Nobody would be a no-show for this long!

Did you not follow up on why they didn’t adhere to what Mr. Khodabakhsi had said? What is the end resul

We pursued the matter extensively and they finally agreed to count some of the days as time on furlough, but refused to concede about 15-16 days. His release should have been August 21st which is today but they added some time and announced September 7th as his new release date.

Did you have visitation with Mehdi on Wednesday? Did he not say anything about this issue?

He also said that his release date is August 21st but they have counted 15-16 days as a leave of absence therefore extending his release date to September 7th.

How about Masoud Bastani and Ahmadi Amoui?

Bahman’s release date was scheduled to be September 21st but 15-16 days were added, extending it to sometime in mid-October. And Masoud has a 6-year prison sentence, which makes his release date sometime around this time next year.

What do Zeynab’s daughters say and feel about their father’s freedom?

Regardless they are happy that their father is due for release after 5 years of imprisonment. Any child would feel the same way. Ultimately this child has her own narrative. From the time that she entered first grade in September exactly 5 years ago, her father was in prison. This year she enters the 6th grade and her father will come home.

Mr. Mahmoudian came home two weeks ago for only 4 days to tend to his ailing father’s affairs. How is his father doing?

His father isn’t doing well; he is mostly bedridden and has to be fed. Those 4 days were granted only because his father’s health had gravely deteriorated and while out he was only allowed to see his father. Unfortunately his father is not doing well.

Do you have anything else you would like to say?

I would just like all families [of political prisoners] to have some level of happiness; for [authorities] to not cause further distress to the families and to at the very least stand by their own words. Let them hear my voice, that when they say ‘you can go and we will take care of the extension ourselves and will call you when the time comes’ –  to not create problems for the prisoners later. So now after 5 years when he is ready to be released, it is still not clear if he is required to go back or not, if we should accept what we are told or not, if the prison officials will accept what we were told, or not. I am still not very optimistic. But god willing, we will see if he is released on Sepetember 7th or not.   Kaleme http://www.kaleme.com/1393/05/30/klm-195485/


Salman Khalilpour transferred back to Rajai Shahr Prison

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – After a short release for medical treatment, Salman Khalilpour, leftist political activist and poet, was ordered back to Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to CHRR, Mr. Khalilpour was granted medical furlough on July 15, 2014 to undergo surgery on his right knee. He is now again behind bars in prison.

Salman Khalilpour was placed under severe physical and psychological duress during his interrogations when he was arrested. He was handed a 6-year prison sentence stemming from the charges of “acting against national security,” “insulting the leadership,” and “collaborating with opposition parties.”

Mr. Khalilpour, born in 1983 was detained due to his efforts to aid his brother who had been arrested and released on numerous occasions. In his dealings with government officials on behalf of his brother, Salman Khalilpour was dealt with violent hostility and ended up with injuries inflicted by Security forces during the altercations. After his arrest and a short trial, the injured activist was sent to Amol prison to serve his sentence. At the prison facility, Salman Khalilpour voiced his opposition to political prisoners being held among criminals. The enraged prison guards responded with violence resulting in severe injuries in Khalilpour’s fingers, legs and head before sending him to solitary confinement in Ward 3 of the prison.

The political activist was released after serving his time only to be arrested again during events leading to mass protests after the contested presidential elections of 2009. During the harsh interrogations, he was injured again in the legs, hands, back and waist. As a result of his severe hip and knee injuries, he was immobilized and not being able to walk, was hospitalized in the prison facility before being granted a short medical furlough for surgery.

Soheil Khalilpour, Salman’s older brother born in 1978 was also a leftist activist. He was arrested in 1999 following the student protests that resulted in wide spread arrests, disappearances, violent confrontations and raids in student dormitories. After spending 3 years behind bars in Evin prison he was released and following a short period of silence he again embarked on his political activities resulting in another arrest by Intelligence agents. After spending a few months in Sari prison, he was transferred to Amel prison to serve his sentence. When he was released, Soheil Khalilpour suffered from partial loss of vision, broken ribs, a broken nose, kidney issues, and multiple injures caused by torture and beatings.

Soheil Khalilpour was arrested again in 2009 during the time of mass protests following the disputed presidential election results. He was jailed in Amel prison after being charged with “acting against national security” and “relations with anti-regime groups.” After his release, on January 18, 2013 Soheil Khalilpour was kidnapped from the street and murdered by unidentified perpetrators. His dead body was located in front of Imam Reza Hospital in the city of Amol.



Salman Khalipour

Reza Shahabi in worrisome health continues hunger strike after 37 days

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Labor activist Reza Shahabi held in Rajai Shahr prison has lost 15 kilograms and lost consciousness several times in the past days while he continues his hunger strike that has now exceeded 37 days.

CHRR reports that according to the Committee to Defend Reza Shahabi, the labor activist has severe fluctuations in his blood pressure prompting his transfer by his cellmates to the prison infirmary several times. But Shahabi refused to have a serum administered at the infirmary and his health is plummeting at an alarming rate.

Reza Shahabi, a prominent labor activist and board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) was already in poor health before he launched his hunger strike in prison. The left side of his body was paralyzed and physicians had requested an immediate disc and spinal surgery.

At the same time Reza Shahabi’s family has on numerous occasions gone to the Tehran Prosecutor’s office (mr. Khodabakhsh) to request an order to perform surgery but never received an answer. In light of being ignored by mr. Khodabkhsh, Reza Shahabi’s family has threatened to also go on hunger strike in protest.

Mr. Shahabi went on hunger strike on June 1st when he was illegally transferred from Evin prison to Rajai Shahr prison. In a letter to the Tehran Prosecutor Shahabi criticized the sub-standard conditions in Rajai Shahr prison and also stated his demands for ending his hunger strike as follows:

1-    be returned to Evin prison Ward 350

2-    be granted sick leave for medical treatment and disc operation

3-    implementation of Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code

4-    enforcement of legal medical furlough


Reza Shahabi hunger strike


17 political prisoners announce end of hunger strike: We will continue to pursue the violations

17 of the political prisoners from Evin prison Ward 350 who had launched a hunger strike in protest of the April 17 vicious attack that took place in the prison, announced that they are ending their hunger strike while emphasizing that they continue their demand for an impartial investigation of the attack.

Below is letter signed by 12 of the political prisoners as provided to Kaleme:

In the name of God

Noble People of Iran,

The events that took place on black Thursday when a considerable number of prisoners were viciously beaten while they were cuffed and blindfolded, leading to many wounded with serious injuries was an unprecedented incident that does not happen all the time.

On April 21st we launched a hunger strike in protest of what occurred, to be a loud voice for the victims and let people know the calamity that took place.

Hopefully with the information and concrete evidence that you the honorable people received, in good conscience you have made your public judgment of the situation. For our beloved people, in addition to the evidence and details of the incident that was made public, a look at the assailant and assaulted is a clear explanation in itself and is a great reminder to the community of who the two different sides are.

When those in charge who should have been the first to stand up to the injustice that occurred and deal with the perpetrators of this crime closed their eyes to what happened, they shed light on a reality that is clear as day. But more than anything, the denial of inalienable facts and refusal to conduct an impartial investigation was the catalyst that guided public opinion.

If the Black Thursday event in Ward 350 of Evin prison continues to be ignored and an impartial investigation is not conducted, it will forever leave its shameful mark on the instigators and perpetrators of the crime. We hope our government can take an honorable action regarding this incident and some brave, justice-seeking representatives can record what happened and shed more light on the truth.

With our gratitude to all those who expressed their feelings about the traumatic experience of the innocent prisoners in Ward 350, among them great scholars, prominent national figures, groups and institutions that with compassion have urged us to break our hunger strike – we announce that on Tuesday April 28th we are ending our hunger strike while continuing our demand for an inquiry into the violations that took place.

Also with gratitude to our dear hunger-striking friends in Rajai Shahr prison who joined us in support, we ask that they also end their hunger strike.

1-    Hassan Assadi Zeidabadi

2-    Amir Eslami

3-    Akbar Amini Armaki

4-    Emad Bahavar

5-    Ghorban Behzadian Nejad

6-    Massoud Pedram

7-    Amin Chalaki

8-    Mohammad Sadegh Rabani Amleshi

9-    Alireza Rajai

10- Seyed Hossein Ronaghi Maleki

11-Reza Shahabi

12-Mohsen Mirdamadi



Added to the above named, 5 political prisoners who had joined the hunger strike in support have  announced that they also ended their hunger strike today:

Alireza Rajibian Fard

Mohammad Davari

Hamid Karvasi

Jaafar Ganji

Mohsen Ghashghayi


Evin Prison


7 detainees in Rajai Shahr prison announce hunger strike

7 prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison launched a hunger strike on Wednesday April 23rd in protest of the violent assault of detainees in Evin prison Ward 350.

 Following is their letter as provided to Kaleme

Noble people of Iran,

The 1979 Revolution was not one event, but rather a long process in line with the demands and needs of the people of Iran. From the constitutional monarchy onwards it was not by chance that the slogans were liberty, justice and freedom; the leading ideal was the right of the people of the nation for sovereignty over their own future. Unfortunately in the years following the victory of the revolution, officials of the country have repeatedly violated the principles enshrined in the constitution relating to the social rights of the people. The judiciary has not only failed to conduct itself responsibly, but in many cases the institution has itself been the perpetrator of these violations of the law.

Attacking political prisoners, inflicting physical and psychological duress on them and their families is not unprecedented. The abuse of political prisoners by judicial authorities has become acceptable and criminal actions by security personnel in the prisons are routine. It is unfortunate that the officials of the regime do not learn a lesson from their actions that procure short-term results ending with long-term losses.

In the past there has been a lack of fair investigations or punishment for illegal and unethical actions such as the murders of the late Zahra Kazemi, Zahra Bani-Yaghoub, Hoda Saber, Sattar Beheshti, and the bitter tragedy of the violations and crimes that took place in Kahrizak detention center. Unfortunately we have not witnessed any fair probe into the violations and actions of the perpetrators of these vicious crimes. While increasing the gap between the regime and the people of the nation, the judicial authorities have become increasingly harsh and rigid in their dealings with prisoners of conscience and political prisoners.

With these circumstances, the events of Black Thursday opened up fresh wounds for the democracy-loving and freedom-seeking people of Iran.

In the wake of one week after the painful and inhumane event that took place in Evin Ward 350 – the vicious beatings resulting in the terrible injuries sustained by the prisoners and their forceful transfer to solitary confinement – no judiciary, administrative or security official has shown any type of responsible behavior. They have refused to accept accountability for these actions by fabricating deceptive lies in the official media outlets including Seda and Sima state television.

The head of the Prison Bureau who is officially responsible not only blatantly denied the events that took place, but he added insult to injury by ridiculing the inmates. The telling silence and lack of reaction on the part of the Minister of Justice and Intelligence Ministry is inexplicable and suspicious. It seems the gentlemen have forgotten the vote of the nation in June 2013 was “no” to lies, lawlessness, corruption and incompetence and “yes” to the demands of Iran’s Green movement.

Hence we, a group of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners from Ward 12 of Rajai Shahr prison in unison with our friends in Ward 350 of Evin prison, have launched a hunger strike beginning Wednesday April 23rd – in protest of the law-breaking behavior of the judicial and security institutions, and reckless actions of those in charge.

Jafar Shahin Eghdami

Reza Entesari

Massoud Bastani

Saeed Razavi Faghih

Mehdi Mahmoudian

Saeed Madani

Mostafa Neeli

Rajai Shahr Prison



7 prisoners Rajai Shahr hunger strike

Majid Tavakoli returned to prison after end of furlough

Jailed activist Majid Tavakoli was granted temporary release on bail from Rajai Shahr prison in the city of Karaj one week ago on Monday night [October 21] after enduring 4 years behind bars without any furlough. Today Monday 28th his furlough ended and the Amirkabir University student activist returned behind bars.

Majid Tavakoli, a shipbuilding-engineering student at Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Politechnic) was detained for the third time on December 7, 2009. The former member of the Central Council of the Islamic Association of Amirkabir University was beaten up and violently detained by agents as he was leaving the university premises after delivering a speech on Student DayIn January 2010, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court handed Tavakoli an 8-year prison sentence along with a 5-year ban on participating in any political activities and a 5-year ban from leaving the country. The charges brought against him were “propaganda against the regime,” “insulting the leadership,” “insulting the presidency” and “gathering and collusion against the regime.” Later in another court session presided by Judge Moghise, Majid Tavakoli was handed an additional 6-months in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” for writing a letter from prison in commemoration of Student Day.

Majid Tavakoli was detained twice prior to his 2009 arrest. His first arrest was on May 2007 due to his role in student publications at Amirkabir University for which he spent 15 months behind bars. In February 2009 he was detained again and was held in solitary confinement for 115 days after attending a memorial ceremony in honor of [former prime minister] Mehdi Bazargan.



Majid Tavakoli