Concerns are growing for six Sunni prisoners awaiting execution in Evin prison, Tehran. They have been in solitary confinement for over a month, and are under extreme pressure and psychological torture.
The six men, Sheikh Kaveh Vaisi, Mokhtar Rahimi, Kaveh Sharifi, Shahram Ahmadi, Talib Malaki and Behrouz Shah Nazari have been on hunger strike for the past sixteen days.
The families of the men are growing increasing worried that their death sentence will be implemented soon.
A source told the HRA News Agency, "each of the six people are facing execution. Their families are worried that after the [Islamic calendar] month of Muharram ends, their death sentence will be implemented."
The Islamic calendar month of Muharram ends in early December, 2013. Last year, six Sunni prisoners were hanged at the end of Muharram in Ghezel Hesar prison, Karaj.
"Since their transfer, so far they have only been allowed to make one telephone call," he said.
"When they tried to talk about the bad conditions in the prison, the telephone line was disconnected," he said.
The men have been detained for more than a month in solitary confinement in ward 240 of Evin prison, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence.
These wards are used as interrogation and detention wards for 'security' suspects. By operating outside the control of the prison authorities, the Ministry of Intelligence is able to operate without any concern for the law. The wards are notorious due to allegations of torture and unauthorized detention.
Prison guards psychologically tortured one of the prisoners, Shahram Ahmadi, by simulating his execution on a number of occasions.
He was told that he would be executed, and was taken to the execution ground and made to believe that he was about to be hanged. The prison guards did this a number of times.
He was also only given one meal in the morning, and forced to remain hungry until the following day.
Sheikh Kaveh Vaisi and Mokhtar Rahimi were also held under psychological pressure, and had been kept in their solitary cells for 24-hours a day. They had not been allowed to use the shower or get fresh air.
There is no information on the conditions faced by the remaining three prisoners, but it is highly likely that they are suffering similar treatment.
These brothers are respected Sunni scholars and students of knowledge, many of them have memorized the entire Qur'an and are highly knowledgeable about Islam.
Those who actively propagate Sunni teachings in the Shia-dominated Iran face persecution and imprisonment. Many prominent Sunni activists and scholars have been imprisoned and, especially those who criticize the regime, many have been executed.