Dear Mr Raisi,
Scores of Ahwazi Arab prisoners in section 5 of Sheiban prison in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, require medical care for injuries caused by beatings and metal pellets fired by security forces during the violent repression of protests that erupted in the prison on 31 March 2020 over the authorities’ failure to address concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 in the prison. Prisoners in need of medical care include minority rights activist Mohammad Ali Amouri, reportedly suffering from chest and head injuries; Abdolreza Obeidawi, reportedly suffering from gastrointestinal complications resulting from beatings to the stomach and loss of sight in one eye due to pellet injuries; and Abdolzahra (Zuhair) Heleichi, Abdulemam Zayeri, Sajad Deilami, Ali Ka’ab Umair, Jaber Alboshokeh and his brother Mokhtar Alboshokeh, reportedly suffering from wound infections.
Since 31 March, prison and intelligence officials have suspended family visits in Sheiban prison and only allowed prisoners to call their families daily for one minute. According to accounts by relatives, they have also subjected dozens of prisoners to periods of enforced disappearance accompanied by torture and other ill-treatment. Officials continue to conceal the fate and whereabouts of Hossein Silawi, Ali Khasraji and Naser Khafaji from their families after having transferred them to an unknown location on 31 March. At least seven prisoners who were returned to Sheiban prison by 13 April, after also being forcibly disappeared since 31 March, including Jaber Alboshokeh, Mokhtar Alboshokeh, Ali Mojadam, Moieen Khanafereh, Jamil Heidary, Jasem Heidary and Abdolrazagh Obeidawi, have since been crammed into a cell intended for solitary confinement, without access to regular phone calls. Relatives learnt that the seven men embarked on a hunger strike on 23 April. Prisoners held in section 5 of Sheiban prison have told their families that most prisoners in their section are injured and facing new criminal charges for the prison protests.
I urge you to release all prisoners of conscience including Mohammad Ali Amouri, Jaber Alboshokeh and Mokhtar Alboshokeh. Please ensure that they and other prisoners in Sheiban prison including Abdolreza Obeidawi, Abdolrazagh Obeidawi, Abdulemam Zayeri, Ali Ka’ab Umair, Ali Khasraji, Ali Mojadam, Hossein Silawi, Jamil Heidary, Jasem Heidary, Moieen Khanafereh, Naser Khafaji, Sajad Deilami, and Abdolzahra (Zuhair) Heleichi receive medical care as well as regular contact with their families and lawyers. Please ensure independent investigations are conducted into the allegations of enforced disappearance and torture during and after the protests on 31 March and prisoners are protected from torture and other ill-treatment.