Four Sunni prisoners have been denied access to telephone calls or meetings whilst detained at Kermanshah Central prison, known as Diesal Abad prison, in Kermanshah, Iran.
The four men, Bahman Salimi, Ismael Abdi, Bilal Ahmadi and Musab Khezri, were arrested after allegedly insulting a member of the judiciary. It has now been three months since they were banned from making telephone calls to their families or having prison visits.
The men, who are from Javanroud, are detained in Ward 10 of the prison, a ward notorious for having the worst health and environmental conditions in the prison. A source told the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) that the hall was known for having "lice infestations and the AIDs disease [is widespread]."
The prison authorities are accused of treating the Sunni men more harshly than the rest of the prisoners, indicating the men are being discriminated against due to their Sunni beliefs. A source told HRANA, "The pressure on Sunni prisoners from Javanroud has increased, showing the authorities' difference in approach towards Sunni and Shia [prisoners]."
The four men, who were arrested three months ago, were first sent to Javanroud General court, before being referred to Kermanshah Intelligence Agency. After being interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence they were sent to the Revolutionary court in Kermanshah. Since then, they have been held in Diesal Abad prison, Kermanshah.
Sunnis face widespread persecution in the Shia-dominated Iran, and many of those who openly propagate Sunni Islam have been imprisoned or executed under false charges. In 2011, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated that "Sunni Muslim leaders regularly are intimidated and harassed by intelligence and security services and report widespread official discrimination."