The authorities in Orumiyeh Central Prison have recently increased pressure and torture on prisoners after more than 800 prisoners signed an open letter calling for the removal of Peyman Khanzadeh, the head of the prison.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learnt that on 3 March, Akbar Maheri, the head of Section 1-2, and several prison guards severely beat two prisoners, Towhid Ghaznavi and Sajjad Khodajou, in the main hall of the prison and took them to the high security ward of the prison after the two prisoners protested about their condition.

Dozens of prison guards then stormed and inspected section 1-2 on the orders of the prison chief, disrespecting the prisoners and destroying many of their personal belongings.

In the released letter, the prisoners raised the alarm about the growing number of suicides in the prison due to the increasing pressure from the authorities and the harsh conditions in the prison.

Several family members of political prisoners who spoke to KHRN said there has also been an increase in pressure and threats against political prisoners.

According to these sources, despite the dire physical conditions of several political prisoners, they are being isolated and denied access to basic services on the orders of the Ministry of Intelligence office located in the prison and the prison warden: “Despite the serious physical conditions of several political prisoners, they have been denied the right to access medical services, furlough and conditional release on the orders of the security authorities and the prison director.”

On 26 February, Kurdish political prisoner Shahin Gallehdar, 50, from the village of Haki in Orumiyeh, who was serving a two-year sentence in prison, committed suicide as a result of pressure and torture by the Ministry of Intelligence.

On 28 February, after news of Gallehdar’s suicide spread, prison guards under the orders of Peyman Khanzadeh raided the political and religious section of the prison, destroying prisoners’ belongings and beating some of them.

At the same time as the prison guards’ raid, two Kurdish prisoners, Hassan Omarpour and Ashkan Osmannezhad, attempted to set themselves on fire and suffered burns on their legs.