Evin prison in northeast Tehran has the shameful honour of being known for the harsh conditions in which prisoners have to live, with reports of cruel interrogation, torture, prolonged solitary confinement and executions.
In this prison, the Iranian government locks up artists, academics, activists, journalists and other dissident intellectuals, earning it the nickname “Evin University”.
Atena Farghadani is a painter who has been imprisoned there for more than a year.
Atena was sentenced to 12 years and 9 months and locked up for “spreading propaganda against the system and national security”, “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the supreme leader“, as well as her interrogators.
And all for this illustration. Expand story.
Illustration by Atena Faghadani
It is normal that, after a certain time, those imprisoned cease to be news in the international press and only become known about them thanks to humanitarian organisations and other groups that continue to try to draw attention to their situation.
Peaceful acts of protest at the prison gates are commonplace.
On Sunday 20 March, coinciding with the Persian New Year, a group of mothers and other relatives of political prisoners gathered to protest at the gates of Evin Prison.
As is tradition, the Iranian regime’s security forces violently charged the rally to force them to disperse, and among those beaten by the police was the father of Atena Farghadani.
The security forces are handing out sticks both inside and outside.
Roxana Saberi described the treatment of prisoners in Evin. Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist of Japanese origin, spent four months in Evin prison sentenced to eight years for espionage and released in May 2009, allegedly in response to international pressure.
Last year, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf announced that he was considering entering into negotiations with the Iranian judiciary to turn the Evin prison complex into a public park.
But Evin, for the time being, remains a torture and repression centre with a capacity of 15,000 people.
Update 03/05/2016 Atena is released from prison, coincidence or not, coinciding with World Press Freedom Day.