Families of political prisoners demonstrated outside the presidential office in Tehran on April 22 to protest what they say was a brutal raid and called on authorities to investigate the incident. According to them and reports from inside Iran, at Tehran’s Evin Prison security guards in Ward 350, supported by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Intelligence Ministry, had stormed on April 17 the cellblock in a violent clash that left more than 30 detainees injured, some seriously. It has been reported that at least 32 individuals from Ward 350, where many political prisoners are held, have been transferred to solitary confinement in Ward 240 of the prison.
According to these reports and international Iranian media, some of the assailants had put on glasses and had covered their faces. The prisoners were moved through a human tunnel and were beaten as they were moved in that tunnel. According to Iranwire.com, Omid Behroozi, a lawyer, and Esmail Barzgari, a musician, had been hospitalized with ruptured blood vessels and broken ribs and later placed in solitary confinement, tied to their beds. Other prisoners are reported to have been injured, but it is not clear whether they have received medical treatment inside the prison. The head of Iran's Prisons Organization, Gholam Hossein Esmaili have been quoted in the state-run media in the evening on April 22 that the incident was an inspection to find electronic devices, which had been used to spread "false information to Iranian journalists and media abroad. The state television aired footage it said was taken on the day of the incident, showing the protest of prisoners such as the well known Iranian imprisoned human rights lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, at one cell.
According to Iranwire the daughter of Abdolfattah Soltani, told that the inmates had resisted the inspection because in the past the guards had taken their belongings, but the response of the guards on this occasion “was to beat them.” Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi denied there had been an attack, according to official news accounts of their response, but conceded that two inmates who had resisted “were slightly injured.”
The demonstration was the second by families of the prisoners who say they are worried about their jailed relatives. The families also gathered in front of Iran’s parliament on April 20, holding pictures of their relatives. Despite promises by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, to loosen some of the constraints on Iranian society, and an initial release of detainees after Mr. Rouhani took office last August, Iranian human rights activists report little has changed, the repressive atmosphere lasts and Iranians continued to be arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their fundamental rights to expression, association, assembly, belief and religion.