A spokesman for Iran’s Judiciary claimed that Iran did not have any political prisoners even as thousands of political prisoners languished in Iranian jails.
Speaking at a live televised program, Gholamhossein Esmaili said that “we don’t have any political prisoners” when asked about the recent death of a political prisoner murdered in Tehran’s notorious Fashafuyeh Prison and why political prisoners were not separated from ordinary criminals.
“Those who sometimes claim (to be political prisoners) are those who have committed crimes against security,” Esmaili added.
He also referred to political prisoners affiliated with the MEK adding that these dissident groups were working against “the system and the revolution” and were not political prisoners.
This is while according to a Human Rights Watch 2018 report on Iran, there are currently about one thousand political prisoners in Iran. These include political prisoners affiliated with various political groups, as well as journalists, hundreds of members of religious minorities including Bahais, dervishes and those who have converted to Christianity.
Most recently, a 28-year-old detainee from the Ahwazi Arab minority died under suspicious circumstances in Ahvaz in southwestern Iran.
Amnesty International said that Benyamin Alboghbiesh was arrested on 26 May and that just a month later, on 26 June, his family were informed by an intelligence official believed to be affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards that he had died in detention. The authorities have yet to return his body to his family.
“Benyamin Alboghbiesh was a healthy young adult when he was arrested. His alarming death just over a month later raises serious concerns about his treatment and conditions of detention, including the possible use of torture. The Iranian authorities must immediately order an effective and impartial investigation into his death, including an independent autopsy,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Before this, a 21 year old political prisoner was stabbed to death by two prisoners on June 10 in Fashafuyeh Prison.
His mother and his cellmate believe that Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali was killed upon orders of prison officials.
The young political prisoner was sentenced to eight years of prison on charges of “blasphemy”, “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic”, “insulting the leader” and “spreading propaganda” against the regime; all of which the regime considers “security” violations.