oil on canvas
40" x 30"
The letter came from Tehran's Evin jail, cell 93 of block 209: "I
was hit with an electric cable, hung up by a rope and violently
In January, 1999, Akbar Mohammadi was arrested during pro-democracy
student demonstrations at Tehran University that led to the deaths
of five students at the hands of Iranian police forces. One of four
students convicted in a secret trial and slated for execution for
his participation in the protest, reports of his torture emanated
from the Evin jail. Whipping and mutilation were carried out by
prisons guards attempting to coerce confessions, and the resultant
hearing loss and kidney failure suffered by Akbar Mohammadi was
endured without the provision of medical treatment. While his case
is believed to be amongst the most severe, Akbar Mohammadi's
situation is not unique. In all, approximately 1500 students were
arrested during this and subsequent protests, the majority held in
isolation, neither their names nor their locations released by the
Iranian authorities. While all of the death sentences were later
commuted, political prisoners remain incarcerated in Iran for the
peaceful statement of their beliefs, often serving long sentences
based on false charges, and carrying fear for their own safety and
diminishing hope of release.
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