The Trial of Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh and his exile to ward 1 of Rajai-Shahr Prison

On December 3rd, Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh – one of the well-known labor leaders – was tried in a court headed by Judge Ahmad-Zadeh, charged with “Connections with Ahmad Shahid and hypocrites”. After his return to prison, he was not allowed to go back to ward 12 to collect his personal belongings and medication and was subsequently transferred to ward 1 of Rajai-Shahr prison, which is where murderers and drug addicts are held.

In a letter addressed to all, Behnam who is in prison merely for defending labor rights and childrens’ rights and who even in prison raises his voice for freedom and humanity, talks about his conditions in this prison.

While his only child Nima is undergoing cancer treatment, at the end of his letter he asks all human rights organizations and freedom loving individuals to be the voice of protest for him and all prisoners of conscience.

Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh’s letter is enclosed. Let’s reply to his call widely, distribute his letter everywhere and be the voice of Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh and all prisoners of conscience in the world.

Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh, all working force prisoners and political prisoners must be freed immediately.

Campaign to free jailed workers in Iran (Free Them Now)

December 18, 2014

Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh’s letter about his condition and what goes on in ward 1 of Rajai-Shahr prison

I, Behnam Ebrahim Zadeh – political prisoner and labor and childrens’ rights activist – am writing to people with wakeful conscience about the hellish conditions of Rajai-Shahr prison. I am writing from Karaj prison where I am in shackles and chains, a prison where all sorts of drugs are easily purchased and sold, a prison where the political inmates are subjected to the most barbaric tortures and denied of their most basic needs.

You have been informed and are aware of how I was arrested on June 12, 2010, my long-term solitary confinements, the nature of my interrogations, unjust trial and heavy sentence. You are also aware of the inspection day and the special guards’ attack on ward 350 – known as the black Thursday of mayhem – my transfer to a solitary cell, building bogus files against me, the pressures of officials on me and my family and the conditions of my sick child and my own poor health.

I am in prison while my son has been battling leukemia and is hospitalized every month to undergo chemotherapy. I also have to mention that any kind of emotional pressure and stress is harmful and dangerous for him and every father’s wish is to be with his sick child and do his best for his recovery. I have not committed theft, nor pillaged or stolen anyone’s property. I was incarcerated merely for demanding freedom and justice. I was charged mainly because I revealed injustices and defended the rights of children and laborers. The prison officials have not hesitated to impose all kinds of harassment, persecution and threats on my family and I. How can a prisoner and his family – with a sick child – endure all these hardships?

When they informed me on Monday, December 1st to report to court, I refused to go. However, the dispatch section agents, Mostafa Ghiasvand and Alireza Noroozi accompanied by a few other agents resorted to force in front of two political prisoners, named: Farshid Fathi and Arash Moghaddam Aslan-pour and a few other regular prisoners. A few people attacked me and while they were beating and insulting me, they handcuffed me from behind, forced me into the car and drove me to the court. There is no law or footnote that allows this kind of barbaric and insulting treatment if a prisoner refuses to go to court, particularly a court session that had been postponed to a later time by Judge Salavati.

Meanwhile, I filed a complaint with the prison warden against the two offending agents. I was summoned to court on December 3rd. However, I refused to go again, due to the violent treatment I received on December 1st, but Mr. Mardani, the prison warden, very skillfully, used the excuse of addressing my complaint and tricked me into going to his office. He said: They shouldn’t have treated you like that. He also said: I will follow up your complaint. In front of the dispatch agent he asked me to go to court and emphasized that I did not need to be handcuffed. Sadly, however as soon as I arrived to the door of the dispatch section they resorted to force again and handcuffed me while I was severely resisting. In court, I was charged with “having connections with Ahmad Shahid and hypocrites” by judge Ahmad-Zadeh. After I returned to prison, they did not allow me to go back to ward 12 to take my personal belongings and medication, and without any explanation, transferred me to ward 1 where all murderers, criminals and drug addicts are held. All of this happened despite the prison doctor’s emphatic instructions regarding my health care and imminent surgery. Currently, I am in ward 1 of Hosseinieh among dangerous inmates, sleeping on a cold floor with no psychological or physical security. Within the last few days, a 23 year old inmate named Mehdi Amiri lost his life due to lack of proper medical care. Also, several inmates were injured in a group fight and prison guards didn’t do anything to stop the dispute. This is only a small part of the pervasive violent behavior in this prison. I have been transferred to a section where all kinds of drugs and hallucinogenic pills are easily bought and sold. It is obvious that all these drugs are sold by high-ranking prison officials to the prisoners at very high prices. Nutrition and hygiene conditions are way below par and the prison is infested with cockroaches and lice. Prisoners’ meals are limited to lentils, animal soy and halva. There are not dairy, fruits and vegetables or protein products in the nutrition program. Prison officials refuse to provide the minimum needs of the prisoners as stipulated and emphasized in prison regulations. This is the deplorable way 7 thousand inmates – serving long prison sentences or on death row – spend their days. I ask all human rights organizations and people with wakeful conscience to be the voice of all political prisoners and me, whose only child is hospitalized and battling cancer.

Behna Ebrahim-Zadeh

Rajai-Shahr Prison