A week after a violent raid by prison officials at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison led to the beating, injury, and solitary confinement of many political prisoners, Iranian Judiciary officials continue to deny any use of violence while vivid testimonies from the families of the prisoners indicate otherwise.
Independent investigations by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran confirm that dozens of security and intelligence agents used excessive force at Evin Prison’s Ward 350 on April 17, 2014, allegedly to search the cells and confiscate illegal items and devices that prisoners might have kept against regulations.
“The security forces used extreme violence against the prisoners,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s executive director. “The courageous testimonies of family members of the prisoners leave no room for doubt. Iranian officials must stop their denials and immediately establish an independent investigation to hold those involved responsible,” he added.
Although searching prison cells is a routine procedure, normally conducted by prison staff in the presence of prisoners in their cells, on April 17 security and intelligence agents who were armed with batons conducted the search and forced prisoners to leave their cells and gather in an open space. Some of the prisoners resisted, as they were concerned that their belongings might be stolen or feared that agents might place illegal items in their cells that did not belong to them, according to the prisoners’ family members.
However, in response to the prisoners’ requests to be allowed to stay in their cells during the search, the security agents forced them out, violently beating them as they exited the ward and causing serious injuries to several of them.
Despite the consistent reports and testimonies provided by the families of the prisoners to the media about the raid, Iranian officials have denied the excessive use of force against the prisoners, insisting that the security forces only “carried out a routine inspection of the prisoner belongings.”
Hands Off the People of Iran received this a couple of hours ago, it details some disturbing acts of violence committed by the security forces. The following statement is written by 4 of the Tehran university students who were arrested in Tehran university dormitory on Sunday night, when Basij, Sepah, and the anti rebellion guard attacked Kuieh Daneshgaheh Tehran ( the dormitory of Tehran university). These were the students who were asleep in their rooms or studying in the library and their only fault (according to the regime) was being a student of Tehran university and living in the dormitory. Many of the students who were a part of the demonstrations are still in prison and up to 15 students have been killed and there bodies have been taken away by Basij.
The students who wrote this text were picked randomly by the savage unnamed forces and were taken to the basement of the interior ministry:
‘A night in the 4th underground floor of the interior ministry:
“ Here is a hundred times worse than the Guantanamo”
We are a group of 46 students who had been arrested in our rooms or in the common rooms, they put us all on a bus and put blindfolds over our eyes, there was a metal cover over our heads –on the top of the seats that the Basijis kept hitting on it with clubs all the way which made a very horrible sound and was the worse kind of white torture (mental torture) for us in that time.
After a while we felt the bus is going downwards and later from the whispers of the officers and Basijis and Sepahis in plainclothes we found out that we are in the basement of the interior ministry. The basement was about 100 square meters large and its ground was covered with smoking ash, after we entered they made us lay down on the hot ash and roll around, we had to watch but were not allowed to touch the person next to us while rolling, if it happened they would start to hit us with clubs and kick us, all the time they kept saying: “so you wanted to have a revolution, did you?” They used sexual swearing words and a abusive language all the time. There were about 20 soldiers, guards of Basij and Sepah for the 46 of us.
Next they would keep making us to stare at the floor and the ceiling after we stared at the floor for a few minutes they would start hitting us very severely and saying: “why aren’t you looking at the floor?” although we were all looking at the floor. And all night long we could here a sound as if some workers were smashing bricks outside which made us all very nervous.
What they did to the students who wanted to use the bathrooms was very savage and inhuman like the W.C had no door or cover and anyone who used it would be seen by the guards and anyone who went there had only 30 seconds to use the bathroom after 30 seconds they would pull us out of the bathroom even before we had pulled up our pants.
One of the students was injured in his eye, he told the guard who was standing next to him that his eye hurt so much and he could not see properly, they didn’t even give him a small bandage to put on his eye but they started to punch him in his face. Another student had a broken leg and he couldn’t move but they did not stop hitting him.
They did not even let us drink water after all that they made us go through, the one time that they gave us water they made us look up and keep our mouths open and they purred water from one meter above us! When one of their leaders came in to check us he asked them: “did you give them water?” and he looked around and saw the student with the broken leg he said: “why is he dying then? Give them water” They brought in a plastic pipe and we thought they are really going to give us water and we were so thirsty that we ran towards it but what came out of it was boiling water which made our lips and mouths burn.
The food was also a part of the torture they put some cold macaroon on our palms and said: you must eat it. Even if we dropped one noodle they made us pick it up from the floor that was covered with ash and blood and eat it, anyone who disobeyed would be hit in the head till he passed out. The same thing happened over the so called breakfast they gave us a piece of dry bread and told us to divide it in half with the person next to us and since the bread was dry little pieces would fall on the floor and we would be beaten. Another thing that is very painful for us to talk about and go to the details is the sexual abuse and rape that happened to us in the 4th underground level of the interior ministry. The same thing happened to most of us after we were sent to the security police a few hours before we were released.
The one day we spent in the basement of the interior ministry was the worst day of our lives, a day we will never forget. When they first took us there some of the guards said: here is a thousand times worse than Guantanamo. And they were right we will never forget what we went through just because we lived in the dormitory of Tehran University, there were moments when we thought we are going to stay here forever and no one will ever help us. When they had gathered us to move us to the security police one of the students started to cry and then we all started crying.
When the security police was about to release us Dr. Farhad Rahbar the dean of Tehran university showed up at last! He was with one of the parliament members and some photographers who were taking pictures of his bravery. He gave us each a T-shirt as a present. They made us wear them so no one would see our bloody shirts, what we all thought of was: where were you on the night they illegally attacked the dormitory? Why didn’t you defend us? Why did you leave us on our own, with no protection so they could do what ever they felt like to? Why did you let our classmates to die innocently in the libraries of the dormitory? Why did say nothing when the dormitories turned all red of our blood? No Dr Rahbar, sir, we do not want T-shirts to cover up our blood and their filth we want you to answer, we want you to go and see the basement of the interior ministry, we want you to make them answer for what they did because we are not going to keep quiet anymore we are going to make them answer for what they did and if you keep quiet, the blood of our classmates is going to be on your hands just as well as them.’
This is what some ordinary students of Tehran university went through 2 days ago, it is not hard to imagine what is happening to the activist students who were arrested. As the students who wrote the above text said anyone who keeps quiet and does not protest against what is going on in Iran right now is just as responsible as the Islamic regime of Iran who is killing people now in the street the universities and in prisons to prolong its pathetic existence which is built on the blood of Iranian people.
We reprint this article by Brian Murphy – showing how Khamenei is refusing to budge and threatening more violence.
Iran’s supreme leader sought Friday to end the deepening crisis over disputed elections with one decisive speech declaring the vote will almost certainly stand and sternly warning opposition leaders to end street protests or be held responsible for any “bloodshed and chaos” to come. But a first sign of possible resistance came shortly after nightfall in Tehran. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) rang from rooftops in what’s become a nightly ritual of opposition unity. The sharp line drawn by Iran’s most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a gambit that pushes Iran’s opposition to a pivotal moment: either back down or risk a crushing response from police and the forces at Khamenei’s disposal: the powerful Revolutionary Guard and their volunteer citizen militia, the Basiji.
Vahed Syndicate – Any Suppression or threat of civil liberty condemned
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, we request that June 26 Action Day – Justice for Iranian workers – to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
In recent days, we continue witnessing the magnificent demonstration of millions of people from all ages, genders, and national and religious minorities in Iran. They request that their basic human rights, particularly the right to freedom and to choose independently and without deception be recognized. These rights are not only constitutional in most of the countries, but also have been protected against all odds.
Amid such turmoil, one witnesses threats, arrests, murders and brutal suppression that one fears only to escalate on all its aspects, resulting in more innocent bloodshed, more protests, and certainly no retreats. Iranian society is facing a deep political-economical crisis. Million-strong silent protests, ironically loud with un-spoken words, have turned into iconic stature and are expanding from all sides. These protests demand reaction from each and every responsible individual and institution.
As previously expressed in a statement published on-line in May of this year, since the Vahead Syndicate does not view any of the candidates support the activities of the workers’ organizations in Iran, it would not endorse any presidential candidate in the election. Vahed members nevertheless have the right to participate or not to participate in the elections and vote for their individually selected candidate.
Moreover, the fact remains that demands of almost an absolute majority of the Iranians go far beyond the demands of a particular group. In the past, we have emphasized that until the freedom of choice and right to organize are not recognized, talk of any social or particular right would be more of a mockery than a reality.
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company fully supports this movement of Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemns any violence and oppression.
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, the Syndicate requests that June 26 which has been called by the International Trade Unions Organization ‘Day of action’ for justice for Iranian workers to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
With hope for freedom and equality
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company
Against the backdrop of ‘Supreme Leader’ Khameini coming out in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and against further demonstrations and unrest, it is particularly encouraging that both shifts at the Iran Khodro car plant have come out on strike. They have issued a statement condemning the repression and saying that what they are witnessing is an insult to people’s intelligence. These workers have a particular history of militancy and combativity and HOPI is doing all it can to support them.
The image below is from the front cover of the newspaper Keyhan, where it shows that the Ahmadinejad demonstration on Sunday was put through photoshop to replicate parts of the crowd – underlying the regime’s utter desperation. As comrades may recall, the same method was used to produce photos of a rocket launch where one of the rockets failed to get off the ground.