The clerical regime in Iran has completely closed down Gohardasht Prison in Karaj (Rajai Shahrprison), infamous for being the site of a massacre and crimes against humanity that occurred in 1988, along with other criminal executions starting in the early 1980s until today.
The Mizan News Agency, affiliated with the Judiciary, announced on August 5, “In line with the decisions made during the visit of Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the Judiciary, to Alborz Province on April 6, nearly half of the prisoners had been released by July 1, and all prisoners were transferred to Qezel-Hesar Prison by August 5 and the Gohardasht Prison was closed.”
Gohardasht Prison, located north of Karaj city, serves as the central prison for Alborz province. This prison’s name is deeply associated with the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, during which many detainees from Gohardasht Prison, even those whose sentences had legally ended, were retried and subsequently executed.
During the trial of Hamid Noury, a former Gohardasht prison guard, in the Stockholm District Court in Sweden, details of the crimes against humanity were revealed by survivors and witnesses of that horrible massacre. These shocking revelations were officially recorded as legal and judicial evidence.
A model of this prison was prepared by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and was presented in court while the trial was temporarily convened in Durres, Albania, in November 2022. The replica clearly showcased the torture chambers, the “Death Corridor,” where prisoners were blindfolded and lined up to wait for their execution, and the execution hall, where the victims were hanged in groups.
On August 5, the regime’s judiciary also announced that in addition to the closure of Gohardasht, the central prisons in the cities of Mashhad, Zanjan, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Yazd, and Bijar in Kurdistan province will also be transferred outside the cities.
In recent years, the clerical regime in Iran has continued to take actions to eliminate evidence and sites of its atrocities, even going so far as to destroy the graves of its victims and construct buildings and highways on the unmarked mass graves where it secretly buried the political prisoners it executed. This reprehensible behavior is an obvious continuation of their crimes against humanity.
On August 3, a human rights organization reported that several political prisoners, including Saman Yasin, Saeed Masouri, Afshin Baymani, Hamzeh Savari-Lifti, Matlub Ahmadinejad, Loghman Aminpour, and Mohammad Shafi’i, had been transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison to Evin Prison.
The evacuation of Gohardasht Prison seems to have been conducted hastily, leaving the prisoners with no opportunity to gather their personal belongings and medications.
In recent years, Gohardasht Prison has come into focus again due to the transfer of political prisoners connected to the 2009 protests. For decades, the prison has hosted thousands of political prisoners and witnessed their torture and execution.
Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have consistently voiced concerns about the appalling conditions endured by detainees in Gohardasht Prison, particularly political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and they have described it as an “inhumane” place.