Eye Witnesses Explain Sunni Prisoners’ Mass-Execution in Rajai Shahr PrisonPublished by International Liberty Association on August 17, 2016
On Monday, August 1, 2016, 36 death row Sunni prisoners were transferred to solitary confinements while being handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded under tight security measures by unprecedented onslaught of black guards of Rajai Shahr prison. One day later at least 20 of them were executed. Over time, further details of the events of “Black Monday” are being reported from eye witnesses from Rajai Shahr prison.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), based on additional information obtained from multiple firsthand sources, at 5:30 PM on Monday, August 1, one hundred Special Forces stopped all breaks, at the same time all vacations of prison staff were completely cancelled and the prison became at their disposal on the orders of Special Forces Intelligence (or IRGC Intelligence). All the prison staff were summoned to prison. Heads of the wards who finish their job by 3:00 PM on usual days, returned to work on the order of the warden.
It should be noted, the first abnormal signs of these days were that Kurdish Sunni prisoners had never used frozen poultry or meat in prison or in some cases in the store. They believed that “the animals were slaughtered incorrectly.” They would just eat the meat which was slaughtered by them themselves. Prison officials had refused for months to buy an alive sheep. But on Monday, Mr. Mardani became well-mannered and “miraculously” had agreed to buy two alive sheep after months of waiting and allowed them to slaughter their sheep in the prison kitchen. The prisoners during transporting the sheep to the hall promised to the prisoners in other halls to send them some of that meat till the same night.
Close to a hundred Special Forces and high-ranking prison officials lined up in front of hall number 12. The down door of the hall opened and the guards with guns, electric batons, tear gas and special clothing with helmets and masks attacked the hall number 10 where 37 Sunni prisoners used to live.
At 5:30 PM, officers with “cap hats” brought down Sunni prisoners one by one, shackled and handcuffed in the back. They shut their mouths with adhesive tape and drag bags over their heads, and took them to the solitary confinement of ward 5 of the prison.
The transfer of 37 prisoners of hall 10 with the violence lasted about an hour and then on the orders of head of the prison they welded the gate of this empty hall.
All calls and prison phone lines had been cut; jamming devices had been activated to prevent from connecting mobile phones of prisoners and the prison was on alert. Several coffins were brought into the prison by a pickup. Top model cars carrying several high-ranking officials with escort motorcycles came to prison.
Every Monday, Rajai Shahr prison witnesses a lot of death row prisoners being taken to solitary confinements, as for all were commonplace and a routine. But this Monday was actually very different. The shadow of death and execution was everywhere.
The slogans of “Allaho Akbar “ and “La Ilaha Illalah” were heard in ward eight at 8:00 PM and these slogans lasted up to an hour and a half. Sounds of loud sirens were heard frequently in IRGC ward.
The horrific situation lasted up until the following day and coupled with the execution of at least 20 of these prisoners on Tuesday. The families who had been told to go to the prison for the last visit were told on their way to prison to go to Kahrizak forensic to receive the bodies of executed prisoners.
On Tuesday evening, at 5:30 PM, three political prisoners from hall 12, Afshin Baymani, Saleh Kohandel and Mohammad Ali Mansouri who are associated with the MEK were summoned to “the eight”. But prisoners in hall 12 were worried due to horrific atmosphere at the same time.
By querying the reason for the summons by other prisoners, officials told Mr. Mozare was responsible for it and wanted to see them and it was not an important issue.
But a large number of special agents were waiting for Afshin Baymani in front of the meeting hall and transferred him to solitary confinement of ward five.
Then pressures to transfer Saleh Kohandel and Mohammad Ali Mansouri grew. In front of Hall 12 was full of Special Forces and the two prisoners were transferred with violence to solitary confinements in ward five.
Shift Officer, Mr. Sahragard announced the order of head of ward 8, Mr. Najmi as the reason of this decision.
When the three prisoners got into ward 5, one of the officers told them: “Are you also Sunni? Are you offender like those who were executed last night?” The prisoners responded: “we are political prisoners from Hall 12.” The officer replied, “What is the difference? Everyone who comes here is to be executed. Last night 25 of your friends were executed. They also brought another person for execution, but I do not know what happened to him.”
However, the three prisoners returned to the ward on August 7. No clear explanation was given to them.
When the three prisoners returned to the ward, one of the officers told them: “You are very lucky that you were not executed.” In response to the surprise of prisoners who told him that they had not been sentenced to death, went on “It’s like a mobile phone that is always available, a judge was with the Special Forces, they will do whatever they want. Anybody who is brought here is to be executed. You are very lucky that you were not executed.”
It should be noted that after more than a week since the execution of at least 20 Sunni prisoners, their names and the details of their cases are not known completely yet.