Medhi Mahmoudian: Political prisoner in life danger
In a smuggled letter, Medhi Mahmoudian reported about excessive violence and torture
Ten days in solitary confinement for complaints about inhumane prison conditions: that is how the Iranian judiciary reacted against political prisoner Mehdi Mahmoudian’s protest letter. As the ISHR/IGFM learned from reliable sources, the badly beaten journalist and human rights activist, whose health is failing, has nevertheless begun a "dry" hunger strike, in which he will also refuse the consumption of water. The ISHR/IGFM demands his immediate release.
Mehdi Mahmoudian is a member of the "Union for the Defense of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Iran." Because he made statements about the falsification of the 2009 presidential election results to foreign media (among other things), he was arrested on September 18, 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He is spending his sentence in the infamous Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, which is well-known for its torture and inhumane conditions.
Mahmoudian was punished for his courage
A few weeks ago, Mahmoudian’s letter to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was made public. In it, he bravely portrays his prison conditions. Mahmoudian reports that "prisoners must endure hours of only wearing undergarments in the icy winter cold and are sexually abused with nightsticks." According to ISHR/IGFM information, Mahmoudian had to spend over 70 days in solitary confinement and was physically as well as psychologically tortured. His relatives have reported that his lungs are severely damaged and that he suffers from shortness of breath and an increasing numbers of epileptic seizures.
The ISHR/IGFM points yet again to the "completely unacceptable conditions in Iranian prisons." Spokesman of the Board Martin Lessenthin explains: "The Islamic Republic denies prisoners even the most basic of rights. They are beaten, tortured, raped and suppressed in even worse ways." Political prisoners are treated especially inhumanely; their situation worsened particularly after the falsified presidential election of 2009.
Disastrous conditions in Iranian prisons
Mehdi Mahmoudian’s letter to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei - smuggled out of prison and on May 8, 2010 made public - confirms what is happening everyday in Iranian prisons: violence against prisoners and denial of their basic rights. Human rights activists of the ISHR/IGFM confirm that, in Irans prisons, "blows to the face, punches and kicks are all on the agenda." The prisoners are fully at the whims of the wardens, and there is only a tiny chance of protesting against the inhumane treatment.
The ISHR/IGFM recalls that a dramatic worsening of the situation of prisoners occurred with the falsified 2009 presidential election. Spokesman of the Board Martin Lessenthin confirms a high number of severely ill prisoners. Because "the sick and infected often receive no or very poor medical treatment, diseases like Hepatitis and AIDS spread very rapidly. This is also due to drug use or many sexual assaults behind the scenes." Prisoners who are not strong enough or cannot pay any money for protection are raped and passed along or even “sold” by “owners.” Complaints about such treatment often cause the victim to be placed in solitary confinement, and the rapist is never questioned, ISHR/IGFM human rights activist Amir Rashidi explained.
The ISHR/IGFM demands the upholding of international law!
The ISHR/IGFM pressures Iran to fulfil its obligations regarding the treatment of prisoners per international agreements, to guarantee court proceedings according to international standards, and to protect the prisoners from physical and metal violence in the jails. "It should not be that a person in state custody should need to fear for his life, his integrity and his security," Spokesman of the Board Lessenthin says. "A legitimate government must be capable of and interested in protecting its citizens - this must be the primary interest of the state!" he adds. In addition, Lessenthin called the treatment of Mahmoudian inhumane: "With their actions, the prison authorities are consciously causing the death of regime critics. This is equivalent to the offense of homicide by the state." The Iranian government must unconditionally release Mahmoudian and grant him urgently needed medical care, Lessenthin stresses.