Rajai Shahr Prison (Gohar Dasht) is in the city of Karaj, about 40 km west of Tehran. The facility is considered one of Iran’s most notorious prisons, and many political prisoners are held here, where the most inhumane kinds of physical and psychological tortures are administered. The intent is to break the spirit of the prisoners. The inmates held captive are also kept secret from the eyes of the media and human rights organizations. Political prisoners from notorious “Evin” who insist on their beliefs are often transferred to Rajai Shahr prison.
Those who end up becoming prisoners of Rajai Shahr prison will largely be hidden from journalists and those who may want to know their whereabouts. Several Rajai Shahr prisoners have been there for many long years and almost forgotten.
Esmaeel Rashidi is an Arab-speaking political prisoner. He is from Nakhsh Taghi in Bushehr province. He was born in 1996. He is a fisherman and the only breadwinner of his large family.
Esmaeel was arrested by the Intelligence Office of Bushehr on September 1, 2009, on charges of membership in dissenting communities and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Bushehr. Upon his arrest, he was kept in solitary confinement, and subjected to psychological and emotional torture. As a result of torture under interrogation, he has been forced to make false and coerced confessions against himself. After forced confessions, interrogators of the Boushehr Intelligence Service asked him to cooperate with the authorities, otherwise his case will be referred to the court and the verdict may not be to his liking.
Despite all pressure and intimidation, he refused to cooperate with the Ministry of Intelligence. He was transferred to Bushehr Prison and was kept with inmates who were considered dangerous. The authorities had hoped would be intimated and would cooperate. During the process of moving from one ward to another, his safety was intentionally jeopardized by the prison guards and inmates. As a result of Esmaeel Rashidi’s unwillingness to cooperate, the Bushehr Intelligence Department decided to transfer him to Rajai Shahr prison in summer 1996. Ismail Rashidi has been in detention at Rajai Shahr for more than 3 years. He is thousands of kilometers away from his hometown and his family. He is in ward 7, serving his prison term.
His father has died, and his elderly mother is physically and financially unable to meet the family’s needs. The judiciary has repeatedly denied Rashisi’s conditional release and has stated that conditional release is subject to the approval of Bushehr’s Intelligence Service. Since his arrival at Rajai Shahr prison, he has been forced to cooperate with the authorities. The officers told him that if he cooperates, they will grant him release, but he did not respond to their illegal, inhumane and immoral demands.
In Rajai Shahr prison, torture, rape, murder and other human rights abuses are common and the prison management closes its eyes to such crimes. In fact, the guards and the top authorities of the prison are busy with loading the prisoners’ files by acts such as:
-.Creating dummy and fake conflicts between the prisoners so they can accuse them
-. Placing drugs in prisoner’s luggage and personal belongings and accusing them of having drugs in the prison.
-. Addicting inmates with narcotic drugs and psychotropic pills and forcing prisoners to commit suicide
-. Elimination of the prisoners in any possible way. This often happens in one-person cells, late at night or early in the morning when everyone is asleep.
They force the prisoners to take dozens of pills or an excessive amount of methadone and eventually hang the prisoner in the cell. As part of formality and paperwork, the guards ask other prisoners to witness the death and the case is closed.
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