Iran, what do we know about the Evin prison where Alessia Piperno is located

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Alessia Piperno is in a cell of the Evin prison among political prisoners, held for a week in the Tehran prison, among the dissidents of the Iranian government. The Roman travel blogger, in the last days before the arrest, had written some social messages that have not gone unnoticed by those who have been monitoring the protests arising from the killing of Mahsa Amini from the beginning. And those words on social media could have represented the pretext for those in Tehran aiming to politicize the story, regardless of the responsibilities and circumstances that led to the arrest.

The reasons for the arrest are unknown

The Farnesina is working to open a window to liberation through a diplomatic solution: expulsion from Iran appears to be the quickest. We try to understand if the young traveler, who had regularly entered the country where she had already been staying for two and a half months, had been stopped due to visa problems or because those in the ranks of student protests had taken refuge in her hostel these weeks. The only traces, not sufficient to give answers, remain in his travel notes and in her movements. It is certain that Alessia also spent a period in Iranian Kurdistan, an area that is constantly monitored due to anti-regime demands.

What happened

The situation begins to get complicated from September 14, the expiration date of the blogger’s residence visa, as she herself confirmed in a post, intending to return to Pakistan but unable to obtain the permit that has not yet arrived: “She is saying terribly to me in Iran – she wrote – there is no affinity because traveling here for a single woman is not easy even if I have never been afraid. I want to leave, even if they are driving me away. I went to ask to renew my visa, they didn’t even look at me in my face and they said only rejected, request rejected, so by Wednesday I have to leave “. She had looked for a bus but due to a holiday the buses were all blocked. Then – she tells in her diary – “while I was walking desperately through the station, a very sweet gentleman who spoke English asked me if I needed a hand. I explained the visa problem to him, he told me to be calm: ‘Tomorrow let’s go together to the office and I’ll help you get your visa renewed ‘”. And so, while waiting for the pass from Pakistan, Alessia Piperno had obtained to remain until mid-October still in Iran, where she told on Instagram about the street demonstrations and how one day some people came to her hostel to ask them for help, frightened from the clashes. On September 28, the situation worsened. Trigger the arrest and transfer to Evin. In Italy, those who work on the trail of liberation reiterate the need to keep the whole affair confidential, to avoid compromising the attempts to bring the blogger back to Italy.

What do we know about Evin Prison

Evin is a prison known for its particularly cruel methods according to the accounts and testimonies of the exiles, which speak of executions – many fake and carried out to put psychological pressure on the prisoners – beatings and torture. Those who know that prison explain that the institution is divided into three structures: one is for common prisoners, another is in the hands of Iranian intelligence, which is directly linked to ‘section 209′, specific for those political prisoners, also foreigners, who are arrested. The latter is very crowded in recent weeks due to arrests due to the unrest unleashed after the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested for not wearing her veil correctly. Evin prison, in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, is also known as the prison of political dissidents. Thousands of opponents killed in the mass executions of 1988 were detained right there, after the green light given by a commission which also included the current president Ebrahim Raisi, at the time deputy prosecutor of Tehran. Established in 1972, the penitentiary was famous for the mistreatment of prisoners even before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has maintained its tragic reputation even during the forty years of the ayatollahs’ regime. Also nicknamed ‘Evin University’ for the many students and intellectuals who are held there, the prison is regularly the subject of complaints by human rights associations that describe it as a place of torture, rape and even massacres, despite the denials. of the country’s authorities. Several Amnesty International reports published in recent years have documented “whipping, mock executions, waterboarding, sexual assaults, limb suspensions, forced ingestion of chemicals and denial of medical treatment”. While last year some activists managed to get hold of, and release, video of the prison’s security cameras showing overcrowding and beatings. Tehran prison is also the place where foreigners or Iranians with dual citizenship are often placed in custody, such as the British Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, released in March this year after 6 years in prison following a conviction for “propaganda. “.