Iran Focus: London, Sep. 08 The international human rights groups Amnesty International expressed deep concern at the death in custody of a long-time Iranian political prisoner. Iran Focus
London, Sep. 08 The international human rights groups Amnesty International expressed deep concern at the death in custody of a long-time Iranian political prisoner.
Amnesty International today expressed its deep concern at the death in custody of political prisoner Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi in Gohar Dasht Prison (also known as Reja’i Shahr) near Tehran, the group said in a statement on Thursday.
It said that the death in custody was the second to occur in Iranian prisons in recent weeks, after imprisoned student activist Akbar Mohammadi died in Evin Prison on July 31.
Amnesty called on the Iranian government to take immediate and urgent measures to ensure that all deaths in custody were investigated promptly and effectively, including that of Akbar Mohammadi and Valiollah Feyz-Mahdavi.
Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi, a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), was reportedly arrested in 2001 and sentenced to death after an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court after being convicted of moharebeh (enmity with God, a charge often applied to those accused of armed resistance to the state), Amnesty said.
Following reports in March 2006 that he was at imminent risk of execution, it was announced that his death sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment. However, Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi reportedly did not receive confirmation of this commutation, and his lawyer was later told that this had not yet taken place, it said.
The statement added that Feyz-Mahdavi began a hunger strike on August 26, demanding to be informed of the status of his case, to be transferred to Evin Prison, and to be granted access to his lawyer.
There are discrepancies between the reports of his co-prisoners and the statements of prison officials. On 4 September 2006, Sohrab Soleymani, the Director of the Tehran Province Prisons Organization, told the Fars news agency that Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi had attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself in the washing area of the prison, and had been sent to the Shari’ati hospital where he was under observation. He denied that Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi had been on hunger strike. On 6 September it was announced that Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi had died in hospital the previous day. Reports suggest that Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi’s family have not received official confirmation of this news, despite a family member attending the Revolutionary Court to seek information, it said.
The group called on the Iranian authorities to open an immediate and impartial investigation into the death in custody of Feyz-Mahdavi and any other cases in which prisoners have died in suspicious or unusual circumstances. The methods and findings of such an investigation must be made public, with anyone found responsible brought to justice in fair trials, it said.
The group also urged Tehran to halt torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners.