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Jul 06 2013

Act now: political prisoners in Iran

For the attention of the general public, trade unions and human rights organisations:

Political prisoners die in Iran’s prisons
The Islamic Republic is responsible.
An immediate international action is required

On June 21, 2013, Afshin Osanlou, an inter-city bus driver and a well-known working class activist, who had been held in prison since fall 2010, died at the age of 42 at Rajai-shahr Prison in Iran due to heart failure. Afshin’s family say he did not have a history of heart condition. Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence kidnapped Afshin in the fall of 2010, tortured him for several months at the infamous Ward-209 of the notorious Evin Prison, broke his teeth and fractured his ribs. Afshin was eventually sentenced to five years in prison following a trial lasting a few minutes and without a lawyer and then later he was unexpectedly transferred to Rajai-shahr Prison.

Given that a large number of political prisoners have already died in the Islamic Republic’s prisons, especially in Rajai-shahr Prison, the political prisoners in Iran are worried that now that the regime does not dare execute political prisoners openly, it is using this method to kill them. Sattar Beheshti, Hoda Saaber, Alireza Karami Kheyrabadi, Zahra Baniyaqoub, Mohsen Dogmechi, Mansour Radpour, Zahra Kazemi, Omidreza Mirsiyafi, Heshmat Saaran, Alborz Qasemi, Akbar Mohammadi, Hassan Nahid, Abdolreza Rajabi, Mohammad Kamrani, and Ali Akbar Saidee Sirjani are among the many political prisoners that have died in the Islamic Republic prisons in recent years. Lack of proper facilities, ignoring the hygiene and health conditions of the prisoners, alongside malnutrition, physical and psychological torture and the prisoners’ concerns about the wellbeing of their families are among the major causes of the physical and psychological ailments affecting the prisoners. The regime’s judicial system denies medical care to prisoners, some with serious illnesses. An added worry of the political prisoners at present is the authorities’ murderous plans against them, so they do not even trust the drugs that are given to them in prisons.

The living conditions of “regular” prisoners at Rajai-shahr are even worse than those of the political prisoners. A year ago, during a single week, seven inmates lost their lives.

Under such conditions, it is vital to put international pressure on the Islamic Republic to end this situation. Immediate release of all political prisoners, an end to executions, torture and maltreatment of prisoners, and allowing international inspectors to visit the prisons and investigate the death of Afshin Osanlou and all those who died “mysteriously” are among the legitimate demands of political prisoners and their worried families. I call on workers’ and human rights organisations and activists around the world and on everyone concerned to condemn the Islamic Republic and to pressure on the regime to provide appropriate medical care for the prisoners, improve the health and hygiene conditions of the prisons and to immediately release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. I call on international bodies to pressurise the Islamic Republic to allow inspectors to visit the prisons and investigate the deaths of prisoners.

Asqar Karimi
On behalf of the Worker-communist Party of Iran
June 26, 2013

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