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Jailed Environmentalist Expose Torture in Iran; IHR Calls for Immediate International Reaction

20 Feb
Jailed Environmentalist Expose Torture in Iran; IHR Calls for Immediate International Reaction

 

Iran Human Rights (IHR); February 21, 2020: Iran’s Court of Appeals has upheld a total of 58 years prison for eight environmentalists. Niloufar Bayani, one of the environmentalists whose 10-year jail sentence was affirmed, has penned letters from prison revealing torture and repeated threats of sexual assault against her by her interrogators.  
The details were revealed first by BBC Persian, based on the letters and documents that Niloufar Bayani has managed to send out of the Evin Prison where she has been held the last two years. 
Niloufar, the former UN Environment consultant, revealed that her interrogators continually made sexual threats against her, showed her pictures of torture tools, told her stories about torture and execution for hours and threatened her with injecting paralyzing or lethal drugs. She says all of the confessions extracted from her during 8 months of absolute isolation in solitary confinement, were under severe torture and 1200 hours of harsh interrogation.
Torture to extract confessions is prohibited by Iranian law but is widely used by the authorities.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) calls on the establishment of an international investigation on the use of torture in Iranian prisons and detention centers. 
“Use of torture by the Islamic Republic authorities in Iran is not a new phenomenon. The experience of the last 40 years has shown that those responsible for the use of torture are not held accountable, and they even enjoy impunity by the Iranian authorities.  ,” IHR director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said, “Details revealed by Niloufar Bayani emphasizes the need for urgent action by the International community. Niloufar is in great danger following the revelation.”

Iranian judiciary spokesperson announced that a sum of 58 years jail sentence has been upheld by the Court of Appeals. Gholamhossein Esmaeili said on February 18, 2020, said that Morad Tahbaz and Niloufar Bayani were each sentenced to 10 years for “cooperating with the enemy government of the United States of America”, Hooman Jokar sentenced to 8 years, and Sam Rajabi and Hamideh Kashani were each sentenced to 6 years for the same allegation. He said to reporters that Amirhossein Khaleghi sentenced to 6 years “for espionage” and Abdolreza Kouhpayeh sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment for “illegal gathering and conspiracy against the state.” 
The environmentalists were arrested in early 2018 by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence organization and spent months in solitary confinements. Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian university professor and a prominent environmentalist was one of them. He was arrested on January 24, 2018, and died two weeks later in custody at the IRGC intelligence service. The authorities claimed that Seyed-Emami had committed suicide, but rights organizations believe he died as a result of torture and ill-treatment by the IRGC interrogators.
Niloufar Bayani mentioned in her letter that the agents showed her a photo of Kavous Seyed-Emami’s corpse and said: “That will be your fate, your colleagues’ fate and your family members’ destiny unless you write whatever we want.”