News / Middle East

Iran Lawmakers Demand Probe of Alleged Beatings of Political Prisoners

FILE - Iranian prisoners work in a kitchen in the Evin prison, Tehran.
FILE - Iranian prisoners work in a kitchen in the Evin prison, Tehran.
VOA News
Several moderate Iranian lawmakers have demanded a probe into alleged beatings of several political prisoners held at Tehran's Evin prison, Iran’s official news media reported.

The demand comes after foreign media last week reported that more than 30 detainees in Ward 350 at the prison were allegedly beaten, several of them seriously, during a snap inspection on April 17.

Iranian judiciary officials continue to deny any use of violence, despite testimonies from the families of the prisoners.

Gholam Hossein Esmaili, the head of Iran’s state prisons, called the foreign media reports propaganda against the Islamic republic.

Asked about injuries suffered by the prisoners, Esmaili said, "We don't intend to respond to the allegations made by opposition websites that spread lies against the regime," the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.

On Tuesday, Iranian State Television broadcast a 10-minute report, lambasting Voice of America’s Persian service and BBC Persian Television for their coverage of the raid on the political prisoners in Evin prison.

Families of the inmates protested the alleged abuse outside the presidential palace earlier this week, eventually meeting with a presidential adviser to discuss their concerns.

By Wednesday, Esmaili was removed from his prison post. He was promoted and will head Iran’s judiciary department, the Associated Press reported.

The Guardian reported on its website that more than 30 inmates held in Evin's Ward 350 were beaten April 17.

Some suffered skull fractures, broken ribs, wounds and swelling on their bodies after guards and intelligence officials forced the prisoners to run through a gauntlet as they beat them with batons, according to opposition sources.

Voice of America’s Persian service heard from several prisoners’ family members.

Mohammad Shojaei’s sister said she saw her brother during a regular visit at the prison on Monday. “There were several wounds and bruises on his body,” she said. “He told me that officers handcuffed his hands behind his back and beat him.”

Inmate Amir Eslami’s wife said that when she saw her husband at the prison, she could tell he had been beaten. Eslami told her: “We are in good condition, so we are allowed to visit our family. But others who (were) beaten heavily are in solitary cells.”

Eslami’s wife said she told her husband to report his injuries to the prison medical office. But he told her that if he were to report his injuries, officials would send him to solitary.
 
Inmate Hossein Ronagi’s father said, "Our sons are not safe there. … They threaten us to be quiet. How can I become silent when there is no safety for my son and I?"

The wife of inmate Atefeh Khalafi said, "Our prisoners are innocent. Everybody knows they were arrested after 2009 election and without a fair trial and … sentenced to years. Now, we expect respect from officials and also new government."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who promised to usher in change, including better treatment of political prisoners, had not yet commented on Thursday about the alleged incident last week.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said at least seven Iranian journalists were among those beaten. CPJ stated: “We call on the Iranian government to hold to account those involved in the attack and to ensure that all the journalists receive appropriate medical care.”

In a BBC report, human rights activists have accused the Iranian authorities of regularly subjecting prisoners, especially those convicted on politically motivated charges, to abuse and of depriving them of medical treatment.

Seven political prisoners are thought to have died as a result of torture, ill-treatment, or medical neglect since 2009, when millions protested after the disputed re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs