December 24, 2018

Death in prison and ten questions

By: Emadeddin Baghi
20 Dec 2018
or many years, we have been warning about the abundance of deaths in jails, and it had fallen on deaf ears.

One of these warnings was made ten years ago under the title "The Right to Life and Security of the Prisoners" (Etemad Melli Newspaper, June 15, 2009), in which it was argued that a prisoner is a trust and the government is a trustee and the government is responsible and accountable for the life of the prisoner.

What is the difference between the fact that Khashoggi goes to his embassy and returns back dead with a prisoner, even guilty, who goes to jail and returns back dead?

The deaths of ordinary prisoners are often not reported, except for certain cases such as Babak Ghorbani, a wrestler of the Iranian national wrestling team in Kermanshah Prison. But some of the cases that have been disclosed in recent years and have brought heavy costs are:

Hoda Saber, Zahra Kazemi, Mohsen Rohal-Amini, Amir Javadifar, Mohammad Kamrani, Ramin Ghahremani, Ahmad Nejati-Kargar, Ramin Pourandarjani, M.D. (the physician of Kahrizak Detention Center), Sattar Beheshti, Mohsen Dokmehchi, Naser Khanizadeh, Mohammad Mehdi Zaliyeh, Afshin Osanlou, Sina Ghanbari (in the quarantine of Evin Prison), Vahid Heidari in Arak, Dr. Kavous Seyyed Emami and recently Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri in Qom Prison.

Two days ago, the commemoration ceremony for his death was held. In response to a news release on his death, a well-informed official told ISNA: Vahid Sayyadi was a member of the Thunder terrorist group (Association of the Kingdom) and was sentenced to 5 years in prison for insulting the sacred.

This reaction is more terrible than the original news of the death of the late Sayyadi in prison because it suggests that the death of a person, in prison or due to hunger strike, who has committed a crime would not matter.

This notion is dangerous, not only in the humanitarian sense, but it is a kind of declaration of invalidity of all official laws of the country, because the issues related to the Constitutional Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Law on Citizenship Rights, etc., are not for the innocents and the saints, they are for the sinners and the criminals.

The rights of criminals are so obvious in human rights documents and laws in the world as well as in Islamic jurisdiction and religions that even the late leader of the Islamic Revolution says that the execution of the sentence of the convicted person who is sentenced to death should be stopped, if he is insulted ,in order that the insulter should be retaliated (He has used the word retaliated). In this case, how can we underestimate the death of a prisoner during his term in jail by claiming that the prisoner has been a member to an anti-government group?

They were examples of political or security prisoners or ordinary people who had lost their lives in prison, while assuming that they have been guilty (while some of them, like Dr. Kavous Seidamami, were only accused).

In addition, many of them have lost their health in prison due to medical negligence, which Alireza Rajaee is an example of them. For the cases not disclosed yet, the authouorities are accountable in terms of humanitarian as well as otherworldly responsibilities. For such a well-known and credible person, like Ahmad Ghabel, also, long delay in sending him for receiving therapeutic measures caused his brain cancer to go uncontrolled and this caused his death outside the prison.

There is no doubt that suicide or death from illness in the prisons of the world is natural, but our question is about abnormal deaths and avoidable events and events due to neglect, and worse than that is not to answer the questions and not to be accountable before the parliament and public opinion as well as the immunity of the guilty, which is itself one of the main reasons for repetition of such misfortunes.

Unfortunately, there have been reports of misconduct in prison, especially during the interrogation period. These published
reports are not among those that do not have access to propagation or are afraid of public announcement, or what is happening are regarded as natural, and they are not aware of their opposition to the law.

This article was published in Persian language media of Iran:

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