61 Political Prisoners Released; Others Denied Furlough
Sixty-one political prisoners were released in the evening hours of August 15, and several more have received reductions in their prison term or reduced punishment. However, dozens of other political prisoners continue to be denied even one day of furlough.
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said on August 14 that the Supreme Leader had pardoned 130 “security prisoners” on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan fast.
Most of the prisoners who were released had already served half of their sentences. Iranian law stipulates that inmates who have served half of their prison term may be released conditionally. A considerable number of political prisoners remaining inside Evin Prison and other facilities have also served half of their sentences, but have not been pardoned, including journalists Siamak Ghaderi and Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand. All of the prisoners released so far were Evin Prison inmates, though there are many political prisoners in other prisons, including Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj and Karoon Prison in Ahvaz.
The Tehran Prosecutor said on Tuesday that 90 of the pardoned convicts were serving their sentences in prison. He did not say, however, who and where the other 40 pardoned prisoners were.
According to a report on Kaleme website, the political prisoners released thus far are: Nazanin Khosravani, Sadaf Sabetian, Mojgan Mohammadian, Shamim Zeinolabedini, Ashraf Alikhani, Massoumeh Yavari, Mitra Ali, Hamidreza Izadyari, Alireza Akhavan, Behnam Nazari, Amir Bahmani, Mohsen Pourziaee, Mohammad Reza Pounaki, Hassan Tabrizi, Mohammad Reza Taghi Nejad Kashani, Amir Ehsan Tehrani Sekhavat, Hossein Sabet, Mohsen Javadi Afzali, Abtin Jahanian, Hamid Reza Khadem, Abdolreza Dehghan, Ahmad Rabaiee, Mehdi Rezaei, Arash Riki, Ali Salem, Alireza Samiee, Mohammad Hossein Sohrabi Rad, Ebrahim Shokouhizadeh, Hessam Shahsavari, Kayvan Shirazi, Mohammad Esmaeel Sahabeh abrizi, Soroush Safaverdi, Reza Azizi, Mikaeel Azimi, Massoum Fardis, Moshtagh Forouhar Pak, Erfan Ghaneifar, Amir Abdollah Kazemi, Mohammad Mehdi Kariman Eghbal, Mehdi Kouhkan, Alireza Kia, Amir Latifi, Farzan Matini Asl, Adel Mohammad Hosseini, Bijan Moradi, Ali Mosafaei, Hamidreza Moghadasi, Ali Mollahaji, Ali Malihi, Hooman Mousavi, Reza Molavi, Pouria Naderi, Navid Nazhat, Omid Noroozian, Ali Nazari, Mehdi Farahani, Mazdak Ali Nazari, Ashkan Allahyari, Mohammad Javad Shahpari, Farshad Ghorbanpour, Arash Rahaee Mehr, Ali Goudarzi, Mojtaba Ahmadi, Amir Ali Aghayari, Javad Rastjoo, Alireza Samiee, Hadi Araboladi, and Hamzeh Karami.
The releases came amidst mounting criticism about the deteriorating health of many political prisoners in different facilities. Several prisoners and their families, including Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Davari, and Abdolreza Ghanbari, have requested transfers to outside facilities for medical treatment. Some political prisoners, such as Abdollah Momeni, Zia Nabavi, Shabnam Madadzadeh, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Issa Saharkhiz, Reza Shahabi, Majid Tavakoli, Massoud Bastani, and Mohammad Seifzadeh, have not been granted even one day of furlough after serving years in prison, a rarity in Iran. Some prisoners, including Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, have embarked on hunger strikes to protest the denial of their furlough. Kaboudvand’s 52-day hunger strike sought furlough to visit with his sick son; prison authorities never responded to his protest.
In an August 15 letter addressed to the Tehran Prosecutor, Issa Saharkhiz asked for his legal right to furlough. In prison since 2009, Saharkhiz was arrested following the 2009 presidential election and has not been allowed a single day of furlough during his detention. Saharkhiz has been hospitalized since last March due to his deteriorating health, and physicians have emphasized that his return to prison would be dangerous for his health. Saharkhiz’s family has been made to pay for the costs of his several prison guards stationed at the hospital, a cost his son called “exorbitant” in an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Additionally, the wife of 67-year-old political prisoner Abolfazl Ghadyani told the Campaign that despite their repeated requests, her husband has not been granted furlough. A hospitalized Ghadyani was returned to Evin Prison on August 14. He had suffered a heart attack in prison on August 1.