The Iranian regime uses its prison system as a weapon to repress the Iranian people. By targeting political and human rights activists, the regime attempts to limit their influence by putting them in prison for long terms. During their time in prison, any attempts at protest are brutally dealt with.
For instance, political prisoners will use hunger strikes to get their point across and draw attention to their plight. In response, the authorities will put them into solitary confinement or deny them necessary medical care.
This lack of medical care can result in severe consequences for these prisoners. Changiz Ghadam Kheir is a Kurdish political prisoner who has lost his right kidney as a result of not receiving medical treatment. The Ministry of Intelligence’s interventions have deprived this political prisoner of any medical treatment outside of the prison. Kurdish political prisoners are treated even more harshly, as their status as a minority in Iran means that the authorities have more incentive to torture and mis-treat these prisoners.
Kheir was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in June 2011. The IRGC opened fire prior to arresting him and has accused him of being part of a Kurd opposition party.
Having any political affiliation that even slightly disagrees with the mullahs’ brand of fundamentalism means that they are subject to horrible treatment once they have been arrested. Torture and beatings are used to get confessions, and the court system does not follow international law regarding fair trial requirements.
As a result, many political prisoners serve their sentences, only to find themselves facing new charges and a fresh sentence.
One example of being mis-treated is Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, who was beaten by the head of the prison before being transferred to solitary confinement. Shandiz had his ribs broken and suffered injuries to his left ear. Despite his injuries, he was transferred to solitary confinement, denied medical treatment and also given no access to his family through phone calls or visits.
The horrible treatment of prisoners is not limited to just male prisoners. Women suffer harsh treatment as well, sometimes being tortured in front of their children. Others are threatened with rape and other physical violence in exchange for confessions, which are then used to sentence them to long prison terms or even death.
Leila Mirghafari was arrested for holding a sign calling for an end of violence against women. After her arrest, she was beaten and suffered from a broken leg. While she was released on bail, it is clear that she is an activist on the radar of the regime and it is likely that she will be arrested again.
Their offences are often minor or arbitrarily based on violations against God. One such case is where 40 men and women were arrested for attended a mixed party. Additionally, there was alcohol found at the party, which is considered yet another infraction by these individuals. Their ability to have the freedom of choice and ability to enjoy their lives is limited by the rules of fundamentalism and a repressive regime.