DUBAI – A fire at Iran’s Evin prison on October 15, which killed eight people, has increased pressure on religious leaders who are already struggling to contain nationwide protests sparked by the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in police custody became.
The prison, a sprawling complex at the foot of the mountains overlooking Tehran, holds many political prisoners and detainees facing security charges, including dual nationals whose detentions continue to taint Iran’s relations with western powers.
Evin Prison has long been criticized by Western rights groups and was blacklisted by the US government in 2018 for “gross human rights violations”.
Here are some of the prominent foreigners imprisoned in Evin Prison:
Siamak Namazi, a businessman with dual US-Iranian citizenship, was arrested by Revolutionary Guards in 2015 while visiting his family in Tehran. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 for espionage and collaborating with the US government. In October he received a one-week vacation.
In 2017, Sharghi and his wife moved to Iran from the United States. The Iranian-American businessman was first arrested in 2018 while working for a tech investment firm.
He was released on bail after eight months. Although a revolutionary court acquitted him of espionage and security charges, his travel ban remained in place.
In November 2020, he was summoned by another Revolutionary Court, which sentenced him to 10 years in prison for espionage. He was not initially detained, but Iranian media reported that he was arrested while attempting to flee Iran in January 2021.
Tahbaz, an Iranian-American environmentalist who also has British citizenship, was arrested in 2018. Tahbaz was arrested in 2019 for “assembly and collusion against Iran’s national security” and “contacts with hostile US government… for the purpose of espionage”.
Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah was arrested in 2019 and sentenced in 2020 to five years in prison on security-related charges before being placed under house arrest. She was returned to prison in January.
German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi is a Germany-based human rights activist who was arrested while visiting Tehran in October 2020. A year later, she was sentenced to over 10 years in prison on national security charges.
Poland’s Foreign Ministry said the man was arrested 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 while studying in Iran and was subsequently sentenced to death for spying for Israel. He is a doctor and researcher in disaster medicine. In November 2020, Djalali was informed by Evin prison authorities 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-chair of the Iranian-Austrian Friendship Society was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking information about Iran’s “missile and nuclear projects” to the Israeli Mossad and German intelligence. Austrian media reported that Mosaheb had been imprisoned in Iran since January 2019.