Imprisoned Student Beaten in Front of Parents
The parents of imprisoned student Javad Alikhani told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that they watched the guards at Evin Prison beat up their son. Authorities also prevented the family from having an in-person visit.
“We had taken heavy duty glue for Hossein to fix his broken eyeglasses. They give us so much hassle, so I hid the glue. They found it and told me that they would not allow us to have in-person visitation with him. They beat up my son, too, because he didn’t allow the guards to give him a body search. I am so upset. I have been crying since then,” Alikhani’s mother said about her visit on Monday, 23 April.
Alikhani’s mother passed out when she saw her son beaten inside Evin Prison’s visiting hall.
Javad Alikhani’s father, Zolfaghar Alikhani, told the Campaign that his son’s physical condition has deteriorated.
“Javad has lost a lot of weight during the recent months due to his illness. His conditions are dire. When he came to the visitation cabin, his mother and sister started crying at the sight of his conditions. I was so upset I did not go to see him. His mother was so upset and cried so much, she passed out. Families of other prisoners can testify to this. We were supposed to see Javad in person today, but because of a package of liquid glue, only his mother and sister were allowed to see him for eight minutes through a booth.”
Alikhani’s father also explained to the Campaign that his family’s mistreatment in prison seemed to be a result of them speaking out about Javad’s arrest and condition:
When we entered the visitation hall, the head of the prison Intelligence Unit asked us, ‘Why do you keep interviewing and jeopardizing our reputation?’ I asked him, ‘Which of the things I said were lies? They called and asked me about my son’s conditions. And I spoke about his conditions, that he is ill and they would not take him to the doctor’s.’ I said, ‘I only spoke about my son to have someone take notice of our suffering.’ They then searched our belongings and found the glue. The guard called and all of a sudden a lot of forces came down on my head. I said, ‘What crime have we committed? Our only crime is possessing glue. Do we have alcohol on us? Do we have drugs? My son’s glasses were broken six months ago and you refuse to fix them. He is using a rope to hold it together. Now I have brought glue for him to fix the handle of his glasses.
On 28 May 2010, authorities arrested Javad Alikhani, a student activist and veterinary medicine student at Chamran University in Ahvaz. According to his family, he developed kidney disease several months ago and suffers from bladder bleeding, and his repeated requests for medical treatment outside prison have not been approved.
Zolfaghar Alikhani described the authorities preventing his son from seeing his family. “They had kept Javad behind the door of the visitation hall since 11:00 a.m. He was eventually told that he had to strip his clothes for an inspection. He told them that, ‘I would not allow a strip search. What could I possibly have inside the prison, which I would like to hand to my family? My hands are empty and my clothes have no pockets.’ They kept him there until 2:00 p.m. Then, when he realized that visitation time was ending and his family must be waiting for him downstairs, worried, he got into an argument with them and they threaten to send him to court and beat him up.”
“When they attacked me, I told them, ‘I am a 60-year-old man. I don’t have enough strength to engage with you. If you want to send me to prison, we are already in prison. If you want to send me to court, show me which court to go to. I am now your prisoner and you have power, you can prosecute me as you wish. But my only crime is possessing glue to fix the handle of my son’s glasses. I am so tired. My son has been in prison since 2007, and I have suffered so much, I don’t want to live any more,” Zolfaghar Alikhani added.
Javad Alikhani was first arrested in 2007 along with five other members of Ahvaz University’s Islamic Association. In September 2008, after spending eleven months in Sepidar Prison, Alikhani was released on a $50,000 bail. Shortly thereafter, authorities sentenced Alikhani to five years in prison on the charges of “propagating against the regime,” “acting against national security,” and “blasphemy” and “insulting the Supreme Leader.” An appeals court later reduced his sentence to three years in prison.
Zolfaghar Alikhani told the Campaign that his son will complete his three-year sentence on 25 June. “It appears they are looking for an excuse to keep Javad longer.”
“I am very worried for him. We have written several letters to Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, the Prosecutor General, and the Head of the Judiciary, we made suggestions, we criticized, we begged, we asked and insisted, but nobody answered us. We have nowhere to go but to God. I said, ‘On whatever religion you follow, please give my son furlough on bail, or send him to a doctor with a guard, we will pay for all the costs.’ But they didn’t do it. They only send him to the prison infirmary, and they only prescribe painkillers for him there, and then his pain resumes,” said Javad Alikhani’s father about his son’s illness.