News

    Activist Describes Iran's Harsh Prison Conditions

    A Kurdish human rights activist serving a 3.5-year jail sentence in Iran has provided a rare glimpse into what he says are harsh conditions inside the country's detention facilities.

    Reza Sharifi Boukani was arrested in 2010 after publicly supporting the pro-democracy "Green Movement."  He was later sentenced on charges that include spreading "propaganda" against the government and acts against national security.

    In a recent interview from jail with VOA's Persian News Network, Boukani said he initially had no legal representation and that Iranian authorities tried to pressure him into making false statements.

    "I was not allowed to have a defense attorney and was under pressure to appear on TV and spread lies against Kurdish parties and the freedom-seeking people of Iran," said Boukani.

    Boukani said he was also physically abused.

    "I was later transferred into the Rajaie-Shahr prison," he said. "I had been beaten several times during the interrogation and had been tortured by electric shocks when I was detained at the Revolutionary Guards' detention center."

    He also said he and other detainees at the Rajaie-Shahr prison spend long periods in confinement.  

    "It is really the greatest psychological torture for us that the doors are closed here as we have only two hours a day to go out in an open area for breathing fresh air," said Boukani.

    Boukani described his conditions during a telephone interview from the prison, which is located about 20 kilometers west of Tehran.

    Rights groups have raised concerns about conditions at Rajaie-Shahr and prisons across the country.  In a February report, the Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran group said "inhumane and unbearable" conditions at the prison - also known as Gohardasht - had led to at least three recent suicides.

    Separately, Amnesty International USA said Iran used the facility to house "violent criminals."

    Iran has repeatedly faced international criticism for arbitrary detentions and inhumane prison conditions.

    In a 2011 report on Iran, Human Rights Watch said the country's authorities "systematically used torture to coerce confessions."  It cited other problems at prisons, including a denial of medical care and the executions of juvenile offenders.

    Iran has defended its human rights record.  Iranian state-run media say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised Tehran as the world's "best example for asserting human rights" during a speech in February.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora