Prison Reportedly Confirms Death In Custody, Iran’s Fourth In Two Weeks
A day after prisoners at Greater Tehran penitentiary reported the death in custody of Shahin Naseri to his family and to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, sources close to the family told Iran International that prison authorities had confirmed to them his death and were investigating its cause.
In an audio-file acquired by Iran International, a political prisoner at the penitentiary Farhad Salmanpour-Zahir rejected any possibility of a suicide.
Salmanpour-Zahir said Naseri, who testified in the 2020 murder trial of wrestler Navid Afkari that Afkari had been tortured before his confession, was put into solitary confinement a day before the September 12 anniversary of Afkari's execution to stop him giving media interviews.
Babak Paknia, Afkari's lawyer, in a series of tweets Tuesday said Naseri had contacted him three times from the prison Monday asking him to represent him. Paknia tweeted that Naseri had borrowed a card from a friend after his own phone had been confiscated.
Naseri earlier alleged he had been threatened after submitting his Askari testimony in 2020 by an investigation judge who said he “was interfering in a security case.”
Naseri, who had shared a cell with Afkari at Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz, testified to court that Afkari had been tortured to confess to killing Hassan Turkman in Shiraz in 2018 during anti-government protests. Afkari was hanged 12 September last year after retracting in court the confession he said had been made under physical and psychological duress.
State media originally described Turkman as a member of security forces but later reported he was a security guard for the publicly-owned Shiraz water company.
Naseri's case is the fourth suspicious death in Iranian prison reported in September.
The Iraq-based Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported on September 20 the deaths in Urumieh prison under torture by Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intelligence of two Kurdish detainees, Assad Ramin and Davoud Rahimi, allegedly members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI). Hengaw earlier reported the death in custody in Urumieh on September 8 of Yaser Mangouri, also − Hengaw said − under torture.
Amnesty International in a recent report published a list of a list of 72 individuals whose deaths in custody since January 2010 it said Iran had not adequately explained. Amnesty said that in 46 cases, sources including relatives or other inmates had claimed the deaths resulted from torture or other ill treatment.
Amnesty International has listed a variety of tortures it says have been committed by Iran's police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials with the complicity of judges and prosecutors. Iran has generally ignored Amnesty reports, and has long responded to abuse allegations by referring to prisons in other countries, particularly those run by the United States and its allies.
Civil and labor activist and author Sepideh Gholian said Wednesday she had been summoned by Bushehr Justice Department over charges of libel and ‘propaganda against the regime.’ Gholina, who is out of prison on furlough, in early September made detailed allegations of abuse of prisoners in the women's ward of Bushehr prison, southern Iran, saying she had received no response over 20 cases she had reported to the authorities, including five she described in tweets.