DUBAI (Reuters) – A fire at Iran’s Evin prison on Oct. 15 that killed eight people has ramped up pressure on clerical rulers who are already struggling to contain nationwide protests ignited by the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The prison, a sprawling complex located at the foot of the mountains overlooking Tehran, holds many political prisoners and detainees facing security charges, including dual nationals whose detentions continue to sour Iran’s relations with western powers.
Evin prison has long been criticised by Western rights groups and was blacklisted by the U.S. government in 2018 for “serious human rights abuses”.
Here are some of the prominent foreign nationals jailed in Evin prison:
AMERICAN IRANIAN PRISONERS
Siamak Namazi, a businessman with dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship, was detained in 2015 by Revolutionary Guards while visiting his family in Tehran. He was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison for spying and cooperating with the U.S. government. He was given a one-week furlough in October.
In 2017 Sharghi and his wife moved to Iran from the United States. The Iranian-American businessman was first arrested in 2018 when he was working for a tech investment company.
He was released on bail after eight months. Although a Revolutionary court cleared him of spying and security-related charges, his travel ban remained.
In November 2020 he was summoned by another Revolutionary Court which sentenced him to 10 years in jail for espionage. He was not initially imprisoned but Iranian media reported he was arrested as he tried to flee Iran in January 2021.
An Iranian-American environmentalist, who also holds British citizenship, Tahbaz was arrested in 2018. Tahbaz was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for “assembly and collusion against Iran’s national security” and “contacts with U.S. enemy government … for the purpose of spying”.
FRENCH AND GERMAN PRISONERS
French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah was arrested in 2019 and given a five-year prison sentence in 2020 on security-related charges before being put under house arrest. She was returned to prison in January.
German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi is a human rights activist based in Germany who was arrested in October 2020 while on a visit to Tehran. A year later, she was sentenced to over 10 years in prison on national security charges.
Poland’s foreign ministry said the man was detained in September 2020. Iranian state media said Walczak was arrested for taking soil samples in a restricted area.
The Swedish-Iranian national was arrested in 2016 during an academic visit to Iran and subsequently sentenced to death on charges of spying for Israel. He is a disaster medicine doctor and researcher. In November 2020, Djalali was informed by authorities at Evin prison that his death sentence was about to be carried out. He spent five months in solitary confinement, awaiting execution, before being returned to a cell with other inmates.
The co-chairman of the Iranian-Austrian Friendship Society was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for sharing information on Iran’s “missile and nuclear projects” with Israel’s Mossad and the German intelligence service. Austrian media reported that Mosaheb had been imprisoned in Iran since January 2019.
(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Michael Georgy and Raissa Kasolowsky)