A general view of Evin Prison in the Iranian capital Tehran, undated. (Supplied)

May 28, 2021

Sixteen political and civil activists who had previously been held in solitary confinement in prison have filed a lawsuit against Islamic Republic officials responsible for their treatment, the Center for Human Rights Defenders reported on Thursday, May 27.

The case emphasizes that holding people in solitary confinement for prolonged periods is considered to be torture under international law, and violates an unanimous Administrative Court of Justice ruling in Iran in 2003.

The laws stipulate that any individual who perpetrates or orders the torture of another human beings should face prosecution.

The Center for Human Rights Defenders lists the plaintiffs in the case, which was filed in a Tehran judicial office, as:

Shahnaz Akmali, Behzad Arabgol, Jafar Azimzadeh, Amir Khosro Dalirsani, Masoumeh Dehghan, Majid Dori, Houri Farajzadeh, Behzad Homayouni, Ruhollah Mardani, Mohammad Reza Memarsadeghi,‌ Shokrolah Masihpour, ‌Mazdak Ali Nazari, Narges Mohammadi, ‌Pouran Nazemi, Vida Rabbani, Raheleh Rahemi, and Mohammad Rasoolov.

The case is the third formal complaint against the punishment of solitary confinement lodged in Iranian courts this year.

Another lawsuit was issued on April 21 by 17 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who had been detained in Evin and Rajai Shahr prisons.

Prior to this, in February 2021, 23 political and civil society activists filed a similar petition with the Tehran judiciary.

The activists, which included several prisoners well known both in Iran and by the international community, called for prosecutions for the torture they had endured, at the same time demanding an immediate end to solitary confinement as a punishment. Journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, activist Rasoul Badaghi, opposition leader Abolfazl Ghadyani, journalist Saeed Madani, activist Narges Mohammadi, filmmaker Jafar Panahi, activist and former politician Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, and journalist and activist Jila Bani Yaghoub were among those that lodged the complaint.

Contrary to claims by the judiciary, the Islamic Republic continues to hold political prisoners in solitary confinement, using the threat of the punishment as leverage to force them to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, or to otherwise intimidate prisoners.

Habib Afkari and Vahid Afkari, who were arrested for their alleged participation in 2018 protests, and whose brother Navid Afkari was executed in September 2020, have been held in solitary confinement in Shiraz Prison since early September 2020, a week before Navid Afkari was executed.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.