Saturday , 25 September 2021

Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh; 8 Years of Torture and Harassment in Prisons

HRANA News Agency – Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh, 55, Baluch Sunni political prisoner, after eight years of imprisonment in exile in the Central Prison of Ardabil, is held without leave and medical treatment for the diseases such as; “asthma, swelling and scarring of the lungs” with coughing up blood. In his referring to the prison clinic, he was told that he had to pay “6 million IRR” for his medicines as they had to get them from outside the prison, while in the past eight years Mr. Shah Bakhsh had no income because of the imprisonment, and his family is in poverty caused by being “orphaned”.

The following report is a statement of the 8 years of torture and religious discrimination of this citizen who used to work as a shepherd and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in exile on security charges.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh, son of Noor Mohammad, 55, resident of the city of Khash in Sistan-Baluchestan province, was arrested on charge of “collaboration with the Jundallah”, by the Ministry of Intelligence agents, on May 6, 2009.

According to Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh, he was a shepherd in the mountains and had met some people who asked him for some food and water, and he had given them some “for God’s sake”. However, after the arrest, the Intelligence service’s agents have tortured him to tell where he had hidden them.

One of the tortures was fastening him to the “miracle bed”, to tolerate blows to the soles of his feet with a cable or belt, to the extent that the soles of his feet were split and bleeding. However, they wrapped his legs then with a plastic and continued beating him until he passed out. Mr. Shah Bakhsh came to consciousness with resuscitation and oxygen masks.

After recovery, interrogators put a “written” statement in front of him and told him “these papers indicate that you are innocent and as you are illiterate we have written it for you and you just need to put your fingerprint on them to set you free.” After a month of interrogation at the Intelligence Office, Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh was transferred to the prison of Zahedan. At this time he was just told by the prison’s officers that his charge has been recorded “collaborating with Rigi Group”.

In this regard, he has told his relatives: “When I heard this, my whole body got cold. The interrogators even had not asked me anything in this regard.” After four months, in the trial, he once again was questioned only about those who “he had met in the mountains”, and he had given the previous explanations.

A few months later, while Mr. Shah Bakhsh was “waiting for his release”, a sentence of 15 years imprisonment in exile in Ardabil prison on charges of “acting against national security through cooperation with Abdulma’lek Rigi’s group”,  was delivered to him.

After being held for one year in the prison of Zahedan, this prisoner’s exile sentence was enfourced and he was transferred to the Central Prison of Ardebil, on January 17, 2011.

Mr. Shah Bakhsh, regarding this transfer, also said: “When I arrived to the Ardebil prison, as if I was in a prison abroad, I even did not speak Farsi, and now I had to figure out how to deal with Turkish. At the beginning I had lots of difficulties, because of the language barrier and we could not understand each other.

After 4 months of being in the ward of political prisoners, ward 7, I was transferred to consultation ward, ward two. I had very hard days because of my Sunni religion and my way of praying. Even when I took ablutions I was vilified by prisoners until one of the prisoners, with humanity and kindness, announced in the ward that nobody could insult me because of my religion. After 4 months, I was returned again to ward 7, by the prison’s warden’s order.

Authorities’ attitude towards the ward seven is discriminatory. We are deprived of all cultural and skills classes. We have to speak Farsi with our visitors.  How can I speak Farsi with my wife and children while I do not know Farsi? Making a phone call is not better than this, and it is very short in term of time, as when you say hello you just have time to say goodbye”.

Abdul Karim Shah Bakhsh was summoned by the prison’s senior officer, in “Ramadan” 2014, along with three other Sunni Muslims, and when they went out of the ward, about 60 to 70 prisoners from ward 6 of the drug related crimes, by the prison authorities’ incitement, as “the enemies of Imam Ali”, severely beat him, so that of one of his teeth was broken and his eyes, face and body were bruised everywhere.

Even one of the employees of the prison, “Gholizdeh” whose father had been killed in clashes with Kurdish opposition groups, had told the prisoners that: “They killed my father and you, prisoners, take my father’s revenge, and we do not report that and the prison senior officer will coordinate”.
This political prisoner, who has been deprived of having leave during the last 8 years, suffers from asthma, inflammation and lung injury. His physical condition and lack of appropriate medical treatment have caused him have bloody coughs.

When Mr. Shah Bakhsh was referred to the prison clinic, he was told that: “We do not have your medications and you have to pay their cost as we have to get them from outside the prison, and that’s because the Prisons Department is not going to pay your treatment’s cost due to your crime”. They gave this answer to him, while in the past eight years Mr. Shah Bakhsh had no income because of the imprisonment, and his family is in poverty caused by being “orphaned”.

A source close to this prisoner told HRANA’s reporter, in this regard: “The only drug in the clinic, is oxygen spray for asthma, which is only a temporary help for shortness of breath. The cost of his drugs is 6 million IRR, but the prison does not pay it, also he and his family are not able to pay such expenses.”

Abdulkarim Shah Bakhsh, regarding his family’s condition after his arrest, has said: “I was a shepherd, I had 60-70 sheep, but after the arrest, my family was orphaned. They sold the sheep one after another to meet living expenses. My children were out of school due to poverty, and now my daughters are at the marriageable age, but they do not have the ability to provide a dowry.”