London, 8 May – A prominent Iranian political activist, and prisoner, Saleh Kohandel will no longer be accepting visits due to the demeaning psychological tricks used by prison staff. In an open letter Kohandel describes how he has been kept from direct interaction with his family for six years and subject to torture and humiliation. Kohandel’s only crime was to demand democracy and human rights in Iran, according to his relatives.
On 4 May, Kohandel was summoned to a visit, meditated through a glass partition, then searched four times between his ward in the prison and the visiting hall, with prison wardens attempting to strip him in front of other prisoners.
“This dirty action was despite the fact that the wardens know full well that in the 10 years that I am in prison I have not violated any of the prison regulations including those which stem from their reactionary nature”, Kohandel said in a letter smuggled out of prison.
Kohandel was arrested on 4 March 2007 for ties to the Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK). He is currently held at Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj, to the north-west of Tehran. Security forces arrested Kohandel in front of his eight year old daughter Paria who has since been forced to flee Iran.
Kohandel is amongst the political prisoners who are being denied medical treatment.
“I urge all my relatives not to come to visit me from this day onward. I apologize to my family in advance because I can no longer tolerate the insults and humiliation that I am subjected to”, wrote Saleh Kohandel.
Read the full letter here.