A number of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners in ward 5 of Ahwaz’s Sheiban prison, including Jaber Albushokeh and his brother Mokhtar Albushokeh, have gone on a hunger strike to protest new cases filed against them by the Iranian intelligence services on charges of inciting prison protests late March, local sources have told the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO).

Protests over coronavirus safety fears in Ahwaz’s Sepidar and Sheiban prisons have had dire consequences for prisoners – especially political prisoners – as most of them continue to suffer from the effects and injuries of torture by security forces.

A number of political prisoners from Sheiban prison, including Mohammad Ali Amouri, Zuhair (Abdulzahra) Heleichi, Abdulemam Zayeri, Sajad Deleimi, Ali Kaab Umair, Jaber Albushokeh and Mokhtar Albushokeh were transferred to intelligence services’ headquarters in Ahwaz on March 31 following the prison protests and were subject to torture in the intelligence services secret detention centres for two weeks.

These prisoners were returned to prison on April 13 and their condition has been reported as extremely poor due to injuries from torture and they are still being held in the quarantine section of the prison.

Security forces killed at least 35 prisoners in Ahwaz’s Central and Sepidar prisons during protests over coronavirus safety fears and authorities’ refusal to grant prisoners furlough.  

The prisoners demanded to be granted leave amid the coronavirus outbreak, but their requests were met with gunfire and torture, and new cases were filed against them. 

Officials of the Ahwaz Central Prison, namely Sakhrawi, Azadeh and Gholamnejad forced prisoners to go to the prison yard, threatening the prisoners using firearms. The prison officials ordered soldiers to line up in the opposite rows and create a “torture tunnel for prisoners. 

The prisoners were forced to walk barefoot on glass. The prison guard had poured detergent on the glass to cause prisoners burns and extra pain. As the prisoners walked on the glass, the prison guards also beat them using batons and cables from both sides. This carried on for at least 14 hours.

The use of hunting bullets wounded countless prisoners, including Abdulreza Obaidawi, who lost one of his eyes and his intestines have stopped working due to multiple injuries. 

Mohammad Ali Amouri was severely tortured by the intelligence services and his health condition has been reported as particularly poor near the head and chest area. Zuhair Heleichi, Abdulemam Zayeri, Jaber Albushokeh and Mokhtar Albushokeh have also been injured and suffer from infections due to torture.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that Fares Albushokeh, another prisoner, was killed by direct fire.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that Fares Albushokeh, another prisoner, was shot dead by security forces.

These political prisoners have not been sent to the hospital to receive treatment for their injuries, and most of them are at risk of having even more cases filed against them by Iran’s Prisons’ Organisation as well as the Ministry of Intelligence. These prisoners have gone on a hunger strike as a result and their physical and mental condition is reported to be very poor.

Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) 

23 April 2020