The Committee of Human Rights Reporters (Updated: September 29, 2011) — Nearly two months following Kouhyar Goudarzi’s arrest, there is still no information available on his condition. According to earlier unofficial reports, Kouhyar Goudarzi was held in ward 240 solitary confinement in Evin prison. However, since Iranian authorities have remained silent on Kouhyar’s condition and location, it is not possible to confirm his current situation.
According to the citizenship regulations approved by the Iranian judicial system in 2006, holding a prisoner in solitary confinement is considered a form of psychological torture and has been declared illegal. Nevertheless, holding political prisoners in solitary confinement has become a common method of torture in Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader stated the following in a speech he delivered two years ago: “I spent 17 days in solitary confinement during the Shah’s regime.” He had acknowledged that being held captive in a solitary cell is a form of psychological torture.
The continued silence on Kouhyar Goudarzi’s current condition is considered inhuman. Since his arrest, Kouhyar Goudarzi has been denied the right to call his family members or meet with them. According to the civil rights regulations, a person arrested has the right to immediately notify their family on the location of their detention. Telephone calls and visitation rights with the family are legal rights explicitly emphasized as a defendant’s rights.
Kouhyar Goudarzi was arrested in Tehran on July 31st along with two of his friends, including his roommate Behnam Ganji, who was held in prison for eight days and committed suicide shortly after his release. The reason for the suicide is unknown. On the night of September 28th, Nahal Sahabi, Behnam Ganji’s girlfriend also committed suicide. According to unofficial reports, she was suffering from depression after Behnam’s death. Behnam Ganji’s suicide has raised serious concerns regarding Kouhyar Goudarzi’s unknown situation.
Kouhyar Goudarzi’s mother Parvin Mokhtare was arrested on August 1st at her home in Kerman. She is held in the general ward of Kerman prison. Recently, Parvin Mokhtare was tried in court then transferred back to prison.
Previously, Kouhyar Goudarzi was arrested by security forces on December 20, 2009, as he was on his way to Ayatollah Montazeri’s funeral in Qom. The court sentenced him to one year in prison. He was held in both Evin and Rajai Shahr prisons. The human rights activist was released on December 14, 2010, after completing his sentence.
In the past two months, various international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, and Front Line have issued statements expressing concern over Kouhyar Goudarzi’s unknown condition and location.
The Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) is concerned about the continued incommunicado detention of Kouhyar Goudarzi. CHRR condemns any acts, such as physical and psychological pressure, to obtain confessions from the accused. CHRR requests from the public to focus on the damaging effects solitary confinement has on a defendant.