Iran’s Evin Prison – the “moderate” tone of Iran’s leaders contradict their actions


02 May 2014

The Hill: By Lord Alton- One hundred guards dressed in riot gear stormed section 350 of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison on the morning of April 17 with overwhelming force and malicious intent. Though the exact motives and details of the raid remain unclear, the carnage that ensued has been confirmed by a number of human rights organizations. Thirty of the inmates were injured, four so badly that they were taken to the hospital. Besides broken ribs and a heart attack, the prisoners were made to watch as their belongings were destroyed and 32 are currently suffering under appalling conditions in solitary confinement.

This violent incident makes two issues clear. The first is that the international community must take action immediately. Without pressure the regime is more likely to torture and abuse these prisoners. The second is that this action is simply the latest in a long saga of intimidation, abuse, terror, torture and murder – the international community has a duty to stand for change.

Mrs. Mayram Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran strongly condemned the regime’s prison raid brutality. Rajavi called for binding and effective resolutions to be immediately passed against the regime and urged the West to stand for their professed values. She stated, “Silence and inaction upon whatever pretext in face of the savagery by the mullahs ruling Iran is turning one’s back on the principles and values that the United Nations was built to safeguard and that the European Union and the United States profess to defend.”

Iran’s repeated human rights abuses receive little coverage – it is under the veil of moderation that these abuses hide and they deserve to be uncovered. The latest incident of abuse in the prison involved dangerous “criminals”, criminals like Sa’id Metinpour. Sa’id’s horrible crime was belonging to Iran’s Azerbijani minority and promoting linguistic and cultural rights for the group, an act the regime described as “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. The incident also included Hootan Dolati, whose crime was “distribution of propaganda” and belonging to a banned political group. For daring to freely express himself Dolati was sentenced to three years in prison and repeatedly denied medical treatment for his chronic heart condition.

With “enemies” like these, why are the U.S. and others entertaining the idea of making those in the regime our friends? Rouhani’s new regime, replete with moderation is clearly a façade.

Rouhani’s “moderate” tone contradicts his actions – a shocking number of executions, 700 in all, took place in Iran during 2013, two thirds of which occurred during Rouhani’s tenure. If Rouhani is to be considered an “improvement” from his Holocaust denying predecessor Ahmadinejad, he can only be considered so in the context of “improving” the efficiency of the regime’s repressive and murderous polices. Rouhani could be on a record pace of “improvement” in 2014, as he has already presided over a whopping 95 executions.

Abroad, mullah approved President Rouhani backs the same old policies, exporting terror around the globe. He continues to prop up the murderous Assad regime, and sponsor terror groups in Lebanon, Gaza and Egypt – while these groups carry out attacks in Thailand and throughout Europe.

Though many are able to console themselves by pointing out the regime’s transition to modernity, tweets and hash-tags tend to be a poor counterbalance to murder and oppression. And those Iranians living in the country aren’t even able to console themselves; after all, they’re banned from Twitter.

Mrs Rajavi noted that these prolonged and escalating abuses are emblematic of the regime’s tenuous state. According to Mrs Rajavi, “Executions, oppression and discrimination are the principal pillars of mullahs’ rule and any flexibility here will accelerate the trend in regime’s downfall.” However, while this possibility may give hope, any change will not be easily won, change requires action and this action begins with recognition of egregious and sustained abuses as well as resolutions to prevent further violations.

The words of Ghandi, an expert in change and action, seem especially fitting: “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”

Alton, a cross-bench member of the UK’s House of Lords, is a member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.

May 02, 2014

5 thoughts on “Iran’s Evin Prison – the “moderate” tone of Iran’s leaders contradict their actions

  1. Thank you Lord Alton for keeping the world alert of a humanitarian crisis in the making. As you correctly say it is bizarre that the world leaders are silent about this. We know that they are well aware of Iraqi government’s intentions and have seen the previous attacks. In fact the last attack on 8 April 2011 that led to 36 deaths and over 300 injured took place a few days after a US State Department official told the congressmen in a hearing that he is “confident” that such an attack would not take place even after the US forces leave Iraq. The US government and other UN member states have both legal and moral responsibility to prevent another massacre at Ashraf and they certainly cannot day ‘they didn’t know’.

  2. I totally agree. I spoke to my aunt who is in camp ashraf yesterday, and she said that the reality is that she may be one of those who is massacred at the end of this month. She, you and I have been totally BETRAYED by our UK government and the UN, as they have sat and watched dozens of others be massacred and injured in the camp. It is time that the UK, EU and the UN stop the shameful silence and demand the end to Iraqi hostilities, threats and violence.

  3. Very good article Alton. I pray everyday for ashraf and the brave people there that I believe are not only standing for the people of Iran and to end an inhuman regime but for all us who love freedom.

    We all are concerned.

  4. A dignified and compassionate humanitarian has spoken. The true fact is that if the civilized community of nations do not act in concert, the regime in Baghdad, in concert with the thugs of Tehran, will cause a killing field no less horrible than that was allowed to take place at Srebrenica, an encclave of Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the hasnds of Serb forces, where more than 6000 men and youth were slaugtered wholesale.

    And now at this junture, the conscience of humanity is about to be pounctured yet again with an impending massacre at Camp Ashraf, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, home to 3400 women, men and children.

    In late 2008, prior to the transfer of authority to the Iraqis by US forces to prtect Camp Ashraf residents, protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) Article 45, and given “Protected Persons” status by the US command, following the voluntary reliquishing of their arms and reouncement of violence; this writer along with a US Lt. General publised a column, warning the civilized people of the world over, that the Iraqi government, an agent of the mullahs of Tehran, can not be trusted with the task at hand, comparing the assignment to “a fox given responsibilty to protect the chicken coop.”

    Well, the world at lage, and the US in particular ignored this warning, and the result was two massacres in July 2009 and april 2011, where in all more than 47 residents, including 8 women were mowed down with US supplied personnel carriers and weapons, and many hundreds wounded.

    And now with the deadline looming for December 31st to relocate the residents to a feared prison, despite international pleas for the cancellation of the unlawful deadline by al-Maliki government, in collusion with the terrorist Qods force of the mullahs, the US, EU and the UN, have before them a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecented dimension, that would no doubt stamp yet another black stain on the conscience of humanity.

    The regime in Tehran, one of th most tyrannical religious fascisms and soul-destroying entities known to contemporary histor, is intent on annihilating Camp Ashraf and its residents.

    The despicable actions of the recent days, where their thugs, under the direct order of the so-called spupreme leader, mullah Ali Khamenei, ransacked the British Embassy in Thran, and their foiled attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington a few weeks ag, is a manifestation of the reality on the ground that the Iranian regime would would engage in the vilest crimes, disregarding all international norms and humanitarian protocols.

    Thus, as the good Lord has pointed out, we should all rise up against this imminent act of genocide before it is too late and compel the dictator of Baghdad to cancel the deadline, so that the UNHCR and other UN organizations are able to begin their task of registering the residents and make provisions for their relocation to third countries.

    Thank you Lord Alton for your wonderful column.


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