Iran political prisoner writes to UN rapporteur on rights abusesPublished by International Liberty Association on May 1, 2016
Iranian political prisoner Masoud Arab Choobdar has written from behind bars to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran giving an account of the appalling abuses being faced by dissidents in Iran’s jails.
In his letter to special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, Mr. Arab Choobdar highlighted in particular the mistreatment of political prisoners in the notorious Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran.
The following is the text of his letter, which has been smuggled out of Gohardasht Prison:
My name is Masoud Arab Choobdar. You might have remembered who I am by now. I am the prisoner who has been serving in these prisons of the anti-human government for four years in the worst conditions. You are surely aware of my problems and issues in prison as I have explained to you in my previous letters. You are fully aware of my health problems, state of illness and the inhuman treatments that I am afflicted with in prison.
Torture and corporal punishment of prisoners
This time, I would like to explain again about the ever-growing serious issues which I experienced with prison authorities in Gohardasht Prison. They have prohibited my exit from the Hall in which I am imprisoned. I do not even have the right to visit the prison infirmary for medical treatments or to follow up the reason of my deployment to health centers. Regarding this issue, I also visited the head of the ward, Mr. Shojaee. During the visit, the head of prison, Mr. Mohammad Mardani, was also there. I had not yet started talking when all of a sudden the head of prison was notified of some news and he immediately exited through the backdoor of the ward. After several minutes I heard the sound of painful laments. When I entered the main Hall through the backdoor, I witnessed a painful scene right in front of my eyes. I don’t know how to describe that. I can only say that I had witnessed the reports and offenses about brutalities in the police intelligence office for two years, but the scene that I witnessed with eyes open that time was neither a type of brutality nor a physical torture. It could only be described as violent behavior that reminded me of the attacks by a group of jackals or hyenas in the forest.
The prison guards were attacking the two prisoners and savagely throwing them, stamping on them and slamming them with their feet as if they would get satisfaction through such attacks. The guards were beating the prisoners as if they were in competition. They were pushing each other like jackals and predators to catch the bait. All I could hear was their loud roar that filled the entire Hall. Apart from the prison head, the prison deputy (Amirian), the warden of Ward 2 (Hassan Mahdavifar), the warden of the solitary confinement ward (Goudarzi), the head of prison guards (Zolfali), the deputy of prison investigations (Mirzaii) and the head of the protection unit were all present. The two prisoners were being beaten savagely for 20 minutes and they were wailing bitterly. Alas mercy and compassion.
The wailings stopped
The screams then stopped and only God knows what happened to them. Even no sound or cry could be heard anymore. They had already become unconscious.
After this incident, the head of prison entered the room where I was. He threatened me not to say a word to anyone about what I witnessed or else he would punish me for that. He reminded me that I was the only prisoner and eye witness to this incident there. He then announced that my exit allowance from the ward is still prohibited. Yet I could not be silent anymore. Due to such prohibitions, I have been deprived of visiting my family, reading books and going to healthcare centers. I could not be silent anymore against such undignified behaviors against prisoners. Once again, the Islamic ‘human dignity’ and ‘human rights’ slogans uttered by Ali Khamenei were transformed into beatings and kicking a human being. The citizenship rights motifs accentuated by the Larijani brothers in the judiciary were transformed to a baton hitting and leaving scar marks on the back of these defenseless people. You have not yet heard of this news yet. I must say unfortunately that right now as I’m writing to you, another prisoner is on the receiving end of batons and electric shock devices. The prisoner is being tortured by the executioners of the prison intelligence directorate. Such tortures and punishments happen every once in a while in Gohardasht Prison. While in international forums, the Islamic Republic of Iran talks about human rights and denies your reports against such abuses, the politicians in other countries must take a look at the situation inside of Iran … even if it does them no good. I cannot talk about anything anymore except to say that oppression and violence is at the very heart of this dictatorship.
Masoud Arab Choobdar
Political prisoner in Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison in Karaj – April 26, 2016