October 17, 2020
The Iranian authorities are using an experienced drug-trafficking mafia to turn young imprisoned protesters into drug addicts, in a systematic plan to discredit protesters and scare others away from fighting for Iran’s freedom, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor.
In their recent article on the subject, Iran HRM uses the case of a 30-year-old athlete and protester Jamil Ghahremani.
He was arrested on December 1, 2019, for involvement in the November 2019 protests and eventually sentenced to five years in prison for “acting against national security”. In prison, he confronted guards who were mistreating detained protesters, but then they beat him and took him out of the ward.
A few days later he was returned to the ward, but inmates said he was unable to talk, while his family reported that when they visited him, he was mostly wanting to sleep and that his speech did not make sense. When he recovered sometime later, he said he’d been injected with an unknown substance and that prison staff gave him addictive pills instead of tranquilizers.
Apparently, the Great Tehran Penitentiary warden has hired a number of people to make young prisoners, especially protesters, addicted. There are now 40 protesters from the November protests that are addicted to narcotic drugs as a result of prison staff, all from hotbeds of protest, including Islamshahr, Shahriar, Roudehen, and Andisheh.
The same thing happened to protesters arrested during 2017 and 2018, who are detained on GTP’s Ward 1. These inmates will find it hard to find a book or a newspaper to read, but drugs are freely available.
An inmate detained on drugs charges, Vahid Safari, has been hired by the GTP warden as a guard, in charge of monitoring the inmates and giving them drugs. Released prisoners have said that he targets inmates under heavy pressure and tells them that the drugs will make it easier to live under these dire conditions.
Iran HRM urged the United Nations to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Iran’s prisons to meet with political prisoners and detained protesters so that the Iranian Judiciary is held accountable for these crimes.
In March, GTP political prisoner Soheil Arabi wrote that coronavirus and drugs pose a grave threat to those arrested during the November 2019 protests and detained in the GTP.
He wrote: “Criticism and protest must not be responded by bullets and jail sentences. Do not erase the question. Instead of building prisons, create jobs, and solve the problems of young people. The lives of dozens of young men in jail are in danger. The coronavirus and drug salesmen are waiting in the wings for those arrested in November 2019. Do not forget those arrested in November 2019!”