Printer Friendly

IRAN - Apr 23 - Prison Chief Is Removed After Reports Of Attack On Inmates.

The head of Iran's judiciary removed the country's highest prison official, after what human rights advocates said was a violent raid on political prisoners in Tehran's largest prison facility. The official, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, the head of the Iran Prisons Organization, was promoted to a new position, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported, quoting a directive by the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani. Only a day earlier, Esmaili appeared smiling on state television repeating denials of the attack and showing what he said was a surveillance video proving that nothing out of the ordinary had happened in Evin Prison in Tehran. Last week, according to reports from outside the country, more than 30 detainees were hurt, some seriously, when a cellblock in the prison was stormed by guards, along with forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Intelligence Ministry. The reports came from opposition websites and Persian-language satellite news channels that have wide audiences in Iran even though they are officially banned. Domestic outlets picked up on the news, and Iranian lawmakers demanded an investigation into the episode. Relatives of the detainees staged a protest in front of the office of President Hassan Rowhani, asking him to intervene. During his interview on state television, Esmaili said the inmates had been in contact with the foreign Persian-language satellite channels, using cellphones and tablets with Internet access that had been smuggled into the prison. The inmates were contacting "leaders of networks and leading intermediaries of discord and anti-revolution networks", not their families, Esmaili said, accusing the London-based channels of plotting to overthrow Iran's Islamic leadership. Prison guards had been polite, the head of the prison organization added, while the supposed surveillance video showed people who looked like inmates throwing pieces of broken glass at guards. A voice-over added, "And now, the British lie-fabricating machine and sedition media sources had only one choice, which was to lie and create ballyhoo". Hard-line Iranian officials and the conservative news media refer to those who joined or supported antigovernment protests in 2009 as seditionists. On Apr 23, Esmaili was given the title of director general of the Justice Department in Tehran Province. The move seemed aimed at silencing critics, and Esmaili himself told the Iranian Labor News Agency that he was promoted to a better job that would put him in charge of several high-profile judicial cases. One prominent lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, concurred that the removal was technically a promotion for Esmaili, but could not tell whether he truly welcomed it. "Those who are familiar with the hierarchy of the judiciary system understand that this is a promotion", said Nikbakht, who has defended several activists accused of political crimes. "I have no further comment on whether this was done to please those criticizing the raid or not".
COPYRIGHT 2014 Arab Press Service
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Apr 26, 2014
Previous Article:IRAN - Apr 20 - Rowhani: Iranian Women Not Second Class Citizens.
Next Article:IRAQ - Apr 23 - Bomb Targets Minister's Convoy As Attacks Kill 3.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters