Friday 7 July 2017 – 16 Tir 1396
In the wake of the publication of the news about the visit to Evin Prison by 50 ambassadors of different countries, the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights has sent a letter to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in order to provide some explanations and shed light on the truth.
In its letter, the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights has referred to the events which unfolded on the day of the ambassadors’ visit to Evin Prison, and has asked Ms Jahangir to include this matter in the Iranian government’s human rights record, and to use different means to convey this information to the governments who sent their ambassadors to the said visit.
According to a report by the website of the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights, the text of the letter to the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been signed by the Centre’s president, Shirin Ebadi, is as follows:
Your Excellency Ms. Asma Jahangir, the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
We respectfully inform you that on Wednesday 5 July 2017 (corresponding to 14 Tir 1396), 50 ambassadors from different countries paid a visit to Evin Prison in Tehran, ostensibly within the framework of joint judicial-legal collaboration in Iran.
The news about the visit, together with the comments made by some ambassadors in interviews with the official television of Iran, which included some praise for the Iranian judicial system for the way it was managing the country’s prisons, caused widespread astonishment among social observers and human rights activists in Iran. For this reason, the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights, in a bid to uncover the truth, has embarked on investigations into that event and has decided to write this letter to Your Excellency in order clarify matters for you, other human rights activists and the public opinion in general.
This is the course of events which unfolded on the above-mentioned date:
At 8 o’clock in the morning of Wednesday 5 July, the Iranian Judiciary officials moved at least 20 inmates imprisoned for political reasons or for financial offenses from Ward 4 of Evin Prison, on the pretext of dispatching them to courts and magistrates. These inmates, who were all astonished for their sudden summons to the magistrate without any previous notice, were boarded on a bus. Soon, however, instead of going to the magistrate office, they ended up in solitary cells in Ward 2-A. Around sunset that day, these prisoners were returned to their original wards in Evin Prison. Little did they know that during their absence, some 50 ambassadors from a number of foreign countries had come to that prison for an inspection.
In effect, on the day of that visit, Evin Prison had been emptied of any dissident or critical inmate, and those who had remained there were inmates who did not have the ability to talk about the realities. The question which needs to be asked is if Evin Prison is a safe, suitable detention centre which is able to satisfy the human rights standards, then what was the reason for the prison officials to remove from the prison at least 20 inmates who were dissatisfied with the conditions present there, so as to ensure no one would say anything which would contradict the show that the Judiciary officials had staged for the visit?
In this manner, the ambassadors visiting Evin Prison were able to meet only a group of ordinary inmates in the prison, which was obviously less crowded than usual. This section of inmates had been prepared to receive the visitors in advance after the prison was purged for the day from those prisoners who were not silent about the violation of their rights.
It is strange that the esteemed ambassadors did not even visit the ward for women political prisoners. This was despite the fact that on that day, there were 24 political and ideological prisoners in the jail. These included Narges Mohammadi, a human rights defender, Nazanin Zaghari, an Iranian-British dual nationality inmate, as well as Azita Rafizadeh and Atena Da’emi, all of whom undoubtedly, would have a lot of noteworthy things to share with the visiting ambassadors.
And what is even stranger is that merely a few hours after the visit, the Voice, and Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran [State Radio and TV Organisation] carried out some interviews with a group of the ambassadors. At the end of the broadcast of these interviews, the Voice and Vision correspondent announced that the visit was a documented rejection of the claims by the defenders of human rights, who constantly talked about the presence of adverse conditions in Evin Prison, including the presence of solitary cells there.
The Centre for Defenders of Human Rights hereby would like to request you to include these facts in the file of Iranian government’s human rights record and to convey this information through different means to the governments who sent their ambassadors to the said visit.
President of the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights
7 July 2017