Condemning the assault on political prisoners in Tehran

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman
2535 Belmont Road N.W.
Washington, D.C., DC 20008
United States of America

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE condemns the recent assault on political prisoners in Tehran’s Evin Prison. During an April 17, 2014 raid on Ward 350, the area of the prison where political prisoners are held, detainees including opposition bloggers, human-rights lawyers and labour leaders were brutally beaten, resulting in the hospitalization of several prisoners. At least seven journalists were among those attacked.

Approximately 100 riot police, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and intelligence ministry officials began inspecting prisoners’ cells, and responded with disproportionate violence when prisoners objected to the search. Guards then lined the detainees up against a wall, restraining them with handcuffs and covering their eyes, and proceeded to beat them with batons, after which many were placed in solitary confinement.

According to Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, Iran is the leading jailer of journalists internationally, with 48 currently imprisoned and in 2009, the Iranian government shut down operations of the Association of Iranian Journalists. This recent alarming attack on jailed dissidents by officials is a clear message to Iranian civil society that those who speak out against the government will be severely punished. Iranian prison system director Golamhossien Esmaili has denied reports that prisoners were attacked in Ward 350.

CJFE calls upon the Iranian government to investigate the brutalization of the detainees in Evin Prison, release the 48 journalists currently jailed in Iran and protect the human rights of all prisoners of conscience in detention.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President