New US Sanctions for Human Rights Abuses in Iran

US TreasuryOn April 13, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the Tehran Prison Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organization. The announcement cited an April 2014 incident at the infamous Evin Prison, when dozens of security guards and prison officials attacked political prisoners in Ward 350 for several hours. At least 30 were injured and some were placed in solitary confinement without medical treatment. Soleimani was the head of the Tehran Prisons Organization during the event. He is also the brother of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, according to the White House. The elite unit is responsible for foreign operations. Soleimani has spent extensive time in Iraq and in Syria overseeing the fight against ISIS and other militants. The following are excerpts from the announcement and identifying information about the organization and individual.


“Today’s designations highlight our continued support for the Iranian people and demonstrate our commitment to hold the Government of Iran responsible for its continued repression of its own citizens,” said OFAC Director John E. Smith.  “We will continue to identify, call out, and sanction those who are responsible for serious human rights abuses in Iran.”

Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani are designated pursuant to Executive Order 13553, which targets serious human rights abuses by officials of, and persons acting on behalf of, the Government of Iran since the June 2009 Iranian election.

Tehran Prisons Organization is responsible for or complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses against political prisoners housed in Evin Prison, which falls under the authority of the Tehran Prisons Organization.  Evin Prison is one of Iran’s most notorious facilities, due to the detention of many prisoners of conscience and well-documented accounts of their mistreatment and abuse.  Former prisoners of Evin Prison have reported harsh interrogations, forced confessions, psychological and physical torture, and denial of access to medical care.

In an April 2014 incident at Evin Prison, dozens of security guards and senior prison officials attacked and severely beat political prisoners being held in Ward 350.  The attack lasted several hours and over 30 prisoners were wounded or injured.  Some of the prisoners were placed in solitary confinement afterward and did not receive medical treatment, despite their injuries.

Sohrab Soleimani was the head of the Tehran Prisons Organization during this violent event, and is being designated for having acted for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Tehran Prisons Organization.  After the Ward 350 prisoner attack, Soleimani denied that anything had taken place, despite the numerous well-documented accounts of the incident.  Soleimani currently holds a leadership position within the State Prisons Organization, which oversees Tehran Prisons Organization.  Since April 2014, attacks on prisoners and other human rights abuses at Evin Prison have continued, including the denial of access to medical care.

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