Amnesty Int. :
Last week the Iranian authorities arranged a rare visit to one of the country’s most infamous prisons for representatives of up to 45 foreign diplomatic missions from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
The authorities made no secret of the fact that the tour of Evin Prison in Tehran was designed to counter negative human rights reports about the prison, and showcase the “excellent facilities” on offer which include an in-house beauty salon, gym, library and restaurant.
In the days that followed, state media outlets were flooded with news stories praising conditions at the prison including congratulatory comments from Indian, Indonesian, Portuguese and South Korean delegates.
In reality, this rosy picture could not be further from the truth.
Unsurprisingly many areas of the prison remained off limits to the foreign delegates. They were only granted access to a handful of sections in buildings 4 and 7, mostly housing wealthier prisoners convicted of financial crimes. In these areas, prisoners have used their own funds to boost conditions, buying carpets, curtains, televisions, air conditioning units, kitchenware and other furnishings.
Amnesty International learned that ahead of the visit the authorities transferred some prisoners from these sections to other areas in order to alleviate overcrowding and painted walls. They also warned prisoners against approaching the diplomats and expressing any criticism.
Soltani and severely ill human rights defender Arash Sadeghi; building 8, which holds human rights defender Omid Alishenas,and the women prisoners’ wing which holds human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Atena Daemi.
They were also unable to meet dual nationals held in the prison on spurious charges including British-Iranian nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff and Kamal Foroughi as well as the Iranian-born Swedish resident Dr Ahmadreza Djalali who was transferred to solitary confinement for the entire duration of the visit.
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