Friday 1 February 2013 (Persian date: Bahman 13th 1391)
Today, the International Committee against Stoning received the following urgent appeal from Tabriz prison about Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her lawyer Javid Houtan Kian who languish in the Iranian prison under severe security control.
“Here’s the notorious prison of Tabriz. I am taking a dangerous risk by writing this letter to the International Committee Against Stoning.
Mrs Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani who is convicted to death by stoning is kept in this prison along with her lawyer Houtan Kian.
Mr Houtan Kian is kept in the methadone section which is for drug addicts, of which 70 are HIV-infected prisoners, along with 450 prisoners. In spite of the HIV-infected prisoners being known to the prison-chief, doctors, and health officials, they are not receiving the minimum health care. Furthermore you can observe all kinds of different infections and diseases at the methadone ward, and to any newcomer it is reminiscent of the Middle-Age dens and torture chambers.
Drugs are sold openly here inside the prison and well known by the intelligence service who stand by watch all this indifferently and at times even themselves are involved in organising the sale of drugs to the prisoners.
Mrs Ashtiani is kept within the women’s ward. Due to the international protest, her stoning was stopped and has not yet been implemented. However, Mrs Ashtiani’s psychological condition is deteriorating due to her being completely under constant observation. Every movement and the smallest gesture, as well every visit by relatives from outside are closely monitored, not only by the ordinary prison authorities but also by the Security Service Officials/VEVAK. She is under severe security measures,and has very limited contact with her children. The Islamic State here in Iran tries to show that any contact with the outside world for disclosing her situation is faced with the hardest possible punishments.
Mrs Ashtiani and her Lawyer Mr Houtan Kian are completely separated and isolated from the rest of the prisoners and are banned from any interaction with other inmates, to prevent them from exchanging letters and messages to each other. Mr Houtan Kian has recently just been allowed to exchange some courtesy words with other prisoners.
There’s no section for political prisoners here in Tabriz prison, unlike Evin prison in Tehran. Many political prisoners here are kept in a ward officially called “occupational therapy” where the inmates are abused for forced labor, and they have spread the rest of them all over the prison among ordinary prisoners. This is a very high security prison, so all of our correspondences either by letters or phone are closely monitored and censored. Any visit received from outside by the political prisoners, labor leaders, students and human rights- as well children’s rights activists here, are under close observation, monitoring what we say and do, and we can thus hardly reach out.
Mrs. Ahadi, by this letter I am asking you on behalf of us to plead to the world, the international media and world leaders to take immediate action demanding our release while contributing towards the improvement of our situation and the guaranteeing of our safety.
Please let the world know that the Islamic State in Iran has kept Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani along with her lawyer Houtan Kian, imprisoned and under brutal control, not even allowing them to smile.
I am once again pleading to the world to take action for the safety and release of Mrs Mohammadi-Ashtiani, her lawyer Mr. Houtan Kian, as well all of us who are living under such terribly inhuman and unbearable conditions.
Sincerely, Unknown from Tabriz prison”
The International Committee Against Stoning deeply appreciates the efforts and initiative taken by the inmates of Tabriz prison who have, in spite of all difficulties, risked their lives to correspond with us. The public is invited to take action to hasten the release of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her lawyer, Mr. Houtan Kian, and all the political prisoners in Tabriz and elsewhere in Iran.
The International Committee Against Stoning is demanding the immediate release of Houtan Kian and Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.
The International Committee Against Stoning
1 February 2013