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Political Prisoners Deliberately Kept In Criminals' Wards, Inmate Tells Radio Farda

File photo - Iranian prisoner Alireza Golipour who is accused of espionage, undated.

Iran's intelligence organs deliberately separate political prisoners from each other, placing them beside criminals, endangering their lives, an outspoken dissident has told Radio Farda in an interview from prison.

Taking the high risk of speaking to Radio Farda, Alireza Golipour asserts that the Islamic Republic's intelligence agents insist on separating political prisoners to prevent them from a sense of togetherness and having a unified voice.

Golipour, who is kept behind bars in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison told Radio Farda's Kambiz Ghaffouri, "Prison authorities scatter the political prisoners among criminal inmates, to punish them further. Many of these criminals serve as the Islamic Republic informants to report on political inmates."

Furthermore, Golipour, charged with "action against national security" says that placing political prisoners beside criminals endangers their lives.

In the latest incident, 21-year-old political prisoner Alireza Shir-Mohammad-Ali was stabbed to death by two inmates in the infamous Greater Tehran Penitentiary on June 10, 2019.

Shir-Mohammad-Ali was from a poverty-stricken district, Naziabad, in south Tehran. He had been sentenced to eight years in prison for "anti-regime propaganda, "and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic, late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and its current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Between March 14 and April 19, 2019, the young prisoner had gone on hunger strike to protest the dangers facing inmates in the ward.

According to an informed source, a prisoner convicted on drug-related charges, and a death-row convict Hamidreza Shojazadeh, accused of deliberate murder, attacked Shir-Mohammad-Ali on Monday, June 10, 2019, and viciously stabbed him at least 40 times.

The two convicts had been recruited by prison authorities to incite a fight in the ward where Shir-Mohammad-Ali and his fellow inmate Barzan Mohammadi were detained. As planned, no guards were in the ward when the fight broke out. Prison authorities had already disconnected the phones in this ward to successfully carry out their plan, portraying the murder as a clash among inmates, Iran Human Rights Monitor (IHRM) reported on June 11.

Furthermore, during the past two years, at least five prisoners, including a prominent Iranian-Canadian university professor and ecologist, Dr. Kavous Seyyed-Emami, have allegedly committed suicide in highly mysterious circumstances. The authorities have shelved investigations into these cases, one after the other.

Several prisoners have also lost their lives, while on hunger strikes, protesting the "unbearable conditions" of the prisons and being mistreated by the wardens. In the latest incident, a political prisoner in the city of Qom, south of Tehran, Vahid Sayyadi Nassiri lost his life, while on hunger strike. Sayyad Nassiri was also protesting for being kept beside dangerous criminals.

However, Article 69 of the State Prisons Organization regulations stipulates: "All convicts, upon being admitted to walled prisons or rehabilitation centers, will be separated based on the type and duration of their sentence, prior record, character, morals and behavior, in accordance with decisions made by the Prisoners Classification Council."

Nevertheless, Golipour, who is serving a twelve-year sentence in Evin, told Radio Farda, "The prisoners sentenced for crimes such as murder, rape, and kidnapping not only act as informers for the prison authorities but make the life for political inmates twice as difficult and burdensome."

Meanwhile, recent cases show that the Islamic Republic's intelligence and judicial authorities have never been accountable for the fate of prisoners.

"Whenever the intelligence agents want to pressure political prisoners, they use criminal inmates for the purpose, leaving no tracks of their involvement," Golipour told Radi Farda.

Alireza Golipour, born in 1986, resident of Tehran, a telecommunications student and employee of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in September 2012 and was charged with "Spying in for foreigners, specifically the United States" by Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by the notorious Judge Salavati, and was sentenced to 39 years and 9 months imprisonment and 170 lashes, on July 2015. Later, his sentence was reduced to 12 years.

During his short interview with Radio Farda, Golipour asserted that prison authorities deprive many political prisoners of visiting physicians, as further punishment.

"We are practically condemned to bear pains and a gradual death that nobody can accept," Golipour told Radio Farda.