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Iranian Activists Shave Heads To Support Political Prisoners

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Shahnaz Karim Beigi, whose son, Mostafa Karim Beigi, was reportedly killed in the 2009 post-election crackdown in Iran, has joined the campaign and cut her hair in support of political detainees in Evin prison, whom she also describes as her "sons."

Dozens of Iranian men and women have sheared their hair and posted their pictures online to demonstrate solidarity with political prisoners.

The campaign was launched following reports that prison guards had shaved the heads of some political prisoners in Tehran's notorious Evin prison in order to humiliate them after some inmates were reportedly beaten up during an inspection of the facility last week.

Earlier this week, a picture of a prominent jailed human rights lawyer, Abdolfatah Soltani, was posted online showing him with a shaved head. The photo, which was shared widely on social media, appeared to have been taken during an April 21 prison visit. Soltani is reported to have been among the prisoners who were assaulted during the raid on Evin's section 350.

Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Abdolfatah Soltani

Activists both inside and outside the country are posting their photos on a Facebook page titled "With the Political Prisoners of Evin's Section 350." They are using the Persian hashtag "sarfaraz," or "proud," to promote their campaign.

After the alleged use of force against the inmates sparked protests by the prisoners' families, the head of Iran's prisons organization was removed from his post.

The official, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, has denied reports about the abuse and said that a routine inspection had taken place.

Iranian news agencies reported on April 23 that Esmaili was named head of the justice department of the Tehran province.

The head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, appointed Ali Asghar Jahangir as the country's new prisons chief. Jahangir has served as an adviser to Larijani.

Payman Ahmadi

Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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... Payvand News - 04/24/14 ... --

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