Neda Naji, Atefeh Rangriz and Sepideh Gholian, Iranian labor activists imprisoned in Gharchak Women’s Prison were attacked and are in a dangerous situation according to social media statements by their family members.
Naji, Rangriz and Gholian have been attacked by an inmate transferred to Gharchak from Varamin’s Psychiatric Ward, Naji’s husband tweeted on Tuesday, July 30. Jamal Ameli warned that “the lives of our beloved are in danger”.
Human rights groups are concerned about the well being of political prisoners who are kept with violent crime inmates – this has been a strategy of Iranian authorities to put more pressure on prisoners of conscience and so far one political prisoner has been killed in prison as a result of this strategy.
Human rights activists have previously raised alarm about the prison situation of Neda Naji and Atefeh Rangriz. They are among the activists who still remain in custody after their arrest at the May Day demonstration in Tehran this year.
Both political prisoners were beaten and seriously injured a month ago by prisoners accused of violent crimes. It was also reported that when the women activists went to the prison clinic to get treatment for their injuries, prison guards physically attacked them for not wearing the compulsory Hijab.
“In some cases Iranian authorities keep political prisoners in violent crime prisoners’ wards as a form of punishment”, former political prisoner and journalist Masoud Bastani told Zamaneh Farsi.
The general health conditions of the three activists are a matter of concern, too.
Jamal Ameli, Naji’s husband, wrote on Tuesday that Rangriz was transferred to the prison’s clinic following an asthma attack and is under oxygen therapy.
Sepideh Gholian, a 23-year female labor rights activist and citizen journalist who is in the same prison has also been on hunger strike for eight-days to object to the violent treatment of prisoners and prisoners’ families by security and prison authorities.
According to reports, Gholian’s health condition has deteriorated. She is unable to walk and her movement inside the prison is restricted to a wheelchair.
Gholian, who was arrested in connection with the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Complex workers’ protests six months ago, initially started a hunger strike in protest against the mistreatment of her parents by the prison guards during their visits, according to her brother’s Instagram post. However, her demands to end her strike are now about the well-being of other fellow prisoners.
Shirin Ebadi, prominent Iranian lawyer and Noble Peace Prize laureate, has issued a statement and warned about Gholian’s dangerous situation. Ebadi has asked for popular support for Gholian.
Neda Naji has also refused to go to the clinic for medical treatment, demanding an end to “wrongdoings” by the prison wardens.
Among other pro-labor activists in Iran’s prisons are: Esmail Bakhshi, one of the workers’ representatives in the Haft Tappeh Independent Labor Union; Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsani Rad, board members of the Free Union of Iranian Workers (FUIW); and Sanaz Allahyari, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, and Amir Amirgholi, the editorial team of an online left-wing magazine called “Gaam”.