Increasing Pressure Placed on Political Prisoners
In recent months, Iranian judicial authorities have imposed numerous limitations on some political prisoners’ phone call use, family visitation rights, and prison leave. Ali Tabarzadi, son of imprisoned political activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran of the plight of these prisoners. “It’s been 70 days since my father’s phone contact stopped and nobody is accountable as to the reasons for it. The prison leave for one of my father’s former cellmates, who has a non-political charge against him and is considered a regular prisoner, was cancelled and he was beaten for the crime of having had my father and Mr. Issa Saharkhiz’s [families’] phone numbers in his pocket. For a while, Kamyar Dahpahlavan was my father’s prison cellmate and, naturally, friendships develop between political prisoners and other prison mates. My father and Mr. Dahpahlavan became friends, then my father was transferred to another ward. We heard that Mr. Dahpahlavan went for a body search before he could leave the prison for his new year prison leave. [He was then] tortured with electric baton for the crime of having had my father and Mr. Issa Sahrkhiz’s phone numbers, and then his prison leave was cancelled,” said Ali Tabarzadi.
“We heard that Mr. Dahpahlavan is not well and has a hard time going to sleep, because he was hit in the head with a baton,” Ali Tabarzadi continued. “At first, prisoners were allowed telephone contact only once a day, and then it increased to three times in a day, but, suddenly, all the phone contact stopped. This is a kind of torture for the families and the prisoner himself. Now we don’t even know what happens in the prison. [One] cannot ask and find out everything during the few minutes of booth visitations. There is no opportunity to learn anything. What we can see is that my father comes smiling and he is well, but we don’t really know what happens to them in prison.”
In March, an appeals court sentenced Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, political activist and secretary of the National Democratic Front of Iran, to eight years in prison. He was previously sentenced in a lower court to 74 lashes and 9 years’ imprisonment. Tabarzadi was arrested on 27 December 2009 and transferred to solitary confinement in security wards 209 and 240 of Evin Prison, where he underwent interrogations and torture. After his transfer to the General Ward of Evin Prison in April of last year, at the same time that five political prisoners including Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar were executed, Tabarzadi was exiled to Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj.