Ahmad Shaheed

A number of former Iranian political prisoners have written to Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations’ special human rights rapporteur for Iran, to say they are prepared to testify about what they’ve seen and experienced in Iranian prisons.

The signatories claim there is “widespread violation of human rights in Iran” and call on Ahmad Shaheed to closely investigate the “mistreatment” of political prisoners all across the country.

Over the past two years, after protests erupted around allegations of vote fraud in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, thousands of Iranians have been arrested and hundreds have been sentenced to prison terms.

The letter indicates that political prisoners are subjected to inhumane treatment, especially since the 2009 election protests.

Ahmad Shaheed was appointed as the UN special rapporteur for Iran in June, and his mandate officially began on August 1. Islamic Republic authorities have condemned the United Nations’ decision and have announced that they will not allow Shaheed to enter Iran for his investigation.

The letter, which is signed mostly by former Iranian prisoners now residing abroad, points out that most political prisoners are “peaceful political activists” who have been falsely accused of “terrorism, espionage and endangering national security.”

The signatories describe torture in prisons and the violation of all prisoner rights, adding: “We confirm that, in many cases, the sentence is dictated to the judge by the investigator.”

Referring to themselves as “victims of injustice in Iran”, the signatories go on to urge Ahmad Shaheed to take immediate action against “human rights violations in Iran.”

Ali Afshari, Morteza Eslahchi, Maziar Bahari, Abbas Hakimzadeh, Fariba Davoodi Mohajer and Mohsen Sazegara are among the many signatories.