Jun 24, 20110 comments

Since 2003, 17 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience have died while in custody in Iranian prisons allegedly due to torture, medical neglect, and misconduct of prison authorities. Six of the prisoners were detained and died after the 2009 election and the ensuing crackdown on government critics and political opponents. For most of these deaths, no one has yet been held accountable, despite the fact that in all these instances, family members or lawyers of the prisoners have alleged that authorities were responsible for the deaths due to their physical abuse of the inmate or inadequate medical attention. In all the cases detailed in the report, Iranian officials never provided full or compelling accounts for the prisoners’ deaths. Authorities failed to launch full or independent investigations in most instances. In several cases, authorities even denied lawyers and family members access to details about the prisoner’s death, refused to allow an autopsy, and did not allow lawyers or family members to file grievances. In the high profile case of Canadian-Iranian journalist, Zahra Kazemi, and abuses at the notorious Kahrizak Detention Center, prosecutors did bring criminal charges against alleged perpetrators, but only against low-level prison guards. The guards in Kazemi’s case were acquitted and high-ranking officials openly implicated in the Kahrizak abuses were never prosecuted. The Campaign believes the number of deaths caused by official wrongdoing would be greater than the 17 published in the report if undocumented cases and the cases of ordinary non-political inmates were accounted for. In sum, the deaths prisoners of conscience in Iran indicate a pattern of abuse and willful neglect. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on authorities to ensure the treatment of prisoners met international standard and launch independent investigations into all deaths documented in the report, and responsible persons to be prosecuted and held accountable. Click here to read a summary of the cases documented in the full length Persian language report.