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Wife of Iranian Political Detainee Warns About Danger of AIDS at Prison Infirmary

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

The wife of prominent Iranian journalist, Ahmad Zeidabadi, who has been in prison since the Iranian elections told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that she is concerned about her husband's health. Mahdieh Mohammadi stated that Mr. Zeidabadi is at Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, which lacks prisoner classification, and is serving his time under very difficult conditions among ordinary and dangerous criminals. She said that despite the fact that Mr. Zeidabadi's $500,000 bail has been posted, he remains imprisoned and the bail amount is also in the custody of the Judiciary.

She said she and her three children have to spend hours to visit Mr. Zeidabadi through a booth for 15 minutes. "Mr. Zeidabadi is spending his exile at Rajaee Shahr Prison. He is kept with ordinary prisoners who have committed serious crimes such as murder and smuggling and none of the political prisoners are near him. He has been sentenced to six years' imprisonment and five years' exile, and lifetime deprivation of social and political activities.

"Our visits are very difficult. I can only go to see him every other week and counting the commute time, it takes about five hours each time, as the prison is 40 kilometers away and once there, we have to wait for our 15 minute meeting for a very long time. Our children can only go to visit their father once every three or four months."

Referring to Ahmad Zeidabadi's unsuitable conditions under interrogations and during his detention over the past year, Mohammadi said: "There are many cases of violations in his case. From the very first day when he was abducted from our home at 10:00 p.m., to 141 days in solitary confinement and beatings and all through his illegal interrogations, his rights have been violated numerous times. During very difficult interrogations, he was given a sheet of paper and ordered to write down his own charges, whereas he should have been informed of his charges. They gave him the sheet of paper and beat him violently and told him to write down all his moral and financial crimes. They tried to force all those charges on him, but he didn't accept them. He told them that he is a journalist and his records are clear. They pulled the sheet of paper away and fired a shot inside his cell. He told me that he felt like his face was numb. He was transferred to Ward 350 after 141 days and for a very short time, there were other political prisoners there with him. But he was moved to Rajaee Shahr Prison on 1 February 2010."

Mahdieh Mohammadi emphasized the injustice in her husband's case. She said that the indictment upon which her husband's heavy sentence was issued referred to Zeidabadi's acting legally in his activities, saying that "he intended to deceive through observing the law!"

"My husband's treatment by the Judiciary only shows that those who are are supported by the authorities can trample the law completely, much like Mr. Mortazavi who is accused of so many illegal activities, even murder, but he is free to live comfortably."

Mahdieh Mohammadi referred to the unhygienic and sub-standard conditions of Mr. Zeidabadi and other prisoners' detainted at Rajaee Shahr Prison: "The hygienic conditions of the prison are not good. For a long time, the prison's water was muddy and unusable. With the water condition, he couldn't take showers, either. It appears that the hall where he resides is a long corridor with rooms which were formerly solitary cells on both sides. The doors to the cells have been removed and now three people reside in each cell. The prison food is not good and the prison store does not have sufficient food supplies. There is serious concern about diseases such as AIDS in the prison infirmary, too. I tell him not to go to the infirmary to the extent possible, because most of the addict prisoners have AIDS and I fear that he might contract the disease if he goes to the infirmary."

Ahmad Zeidabadi is regularly witnessing entanglements and fights among prisoners who are convicted murderers, smugglers, and addicts and according to him, he has witnessed the murder of one of the prisoners in a group fight. Expressing concern about her husband's lack of security among unclassified prisoners, Mahdieh Mohammadi told the Campaign: "There are dangerous prisoners in this ward. For example they once stole a portable soccer goal net and made knives out of its metal frame. The prisoners pull knives on each other at the slightest disagreement. He has witnessed their injuring each other with knives and once someone was killed in the scuffle. In this ward, many addict prisoners frequently get into fights over money. The fact that this prison has horrible conditions and that no human rights principles are observed in it is bad enough. But Mr. Zeidabadi does not belong to this prison. Even based on prisoner classification requirements, as a journalist, he should not be kept under such conditions."

According to Ahmad Zeidabadi's wife, the judge at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Courts refuses to release him on bail or even on a short furlough, despite the fact that the bail amount which has been increased several times has been posted.

News Background:

On 2 January 2009, Ahmad Zeidabadi, a prominent journalist was sentenced to six years in prison, five years in exile in Gonabad, and lifetime deprivation of social and political activities. His charge was "attempt to implement a velvet revolution," the most significant evidence of which was an open letter Zeidabadi had written the Iranian president, criticizing him. An appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling. Though Zeidabadi's bail has been posted in full, he has not be released on bail and he has been unable to go on any furlough leave for almost a year.


Mohammad Davari on Limited Hunger Strike; Continued Pressure for Confessions

A human rights activist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today that Mohammad Davari has twice gone on temporary hunger strikes in prison. Davari served as Mehdi Karroubi's Chief of Staff and Editor-in-Chief of Saham News until his arrest last September. According to this source, mistreatment including physical and psychological abuse of Mohammad Davari, with the aim of extracting fake confessions from him, continues. It is feared that continuation of these conditions would put the journalist in danger.

Davari has been told to deny claims and evidence produced by Mehdi Karroubi regarding the systematic torture and instances of rape of men and women at prisons and detention centers where protesters were taken, and to testify against his colleagues.

Last year Mehdi Karroubi announced that he had irrefutable evidence about cases of prison rape. He said that he had video tapes and photographs of victims and he had evidence that confirmed the crimes had taken place. Iran's judicial and security organizations have never accepted Karroubi's charges and have tried to destroy the supporting documents and evidence. In at least two cases, during interviews with rape victims, ICHRI learned that the victims were under pressure for keeping the events a secret.

Mohammad Davari is a member of The Iranian Teachers' Association. He was arrested on 8 September 2009 after security forces stormed Mehdi Karroubi's personal offices as well as Etemad-e Melli Party's headquarters.

A Hunger Strike For Hashem Khastar

A human rights activist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that on 12 May, several members of Mashad teachers' unions went on a hunger strike to protest the continued detention of a Mashad teacher, Hashem Khastar. While on their hunger strike, the teachers went to Khastar's home in Mashad on National Teacher's Day, 12 May 2010.

A large group of ordinary people and union, political, and student activists in Mashad appeared at the imprisoned teacher's home in honor of National Teacher's Day. They demanded Mr. Khastar's immediate release.

Mr. Khastar was first arrested on 15 June 2009. He was released six weeks later on a $35,000 bail. He was arrested again on 16 September and has remained in prison since. During this time his family have frequently reported on his deteriorating health in prison. Mr. Khastar's requests for medical furlough have been denied.

... Payvand News - 05/07/10 ... --

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