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Concerns Mount Over Alleged Torture of Female Ahwazi Prisoner

Human Rights activists are increasingly alarmed over the fate of the female Ahwazi political prisoner Fahima Ismaili Badawi who has been in prison for over a decade.

Former school teacher Badawi was beaten unconscious by guards in the infamous Yasouj Central Prison, which is located in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, southwestern Iran. Severe injuries left her hospitalised and activists fear her life is in jeopardy.

A source in Ahwaz told Ahwaz News: "She was beaten after a verbal argument with a prison guard named Ameneh Fooladi. The beating was so extreme that Mrs.Ismaeli was initially committed to the clinic inside the prison and later transferred to hospital due to deterioration of her health condition. The beating began inside the cell when, for no reason, the prison guard started to harass and insult her, which prompted an argument. As the argument escalated, she was severely beaten. After treatment, she was discharged from hospital but remains bedridden in prison. She is feeling dizzy and has bruises and cuts on her face and body."

Badawi was arrested in February 2006 in Ahwaz City with her husband Ali Matourizadeh and her mother on charges of threatening national security for his human rights activism. She was heavily pregnant at the time and gave birth to her daughter Salma in Sepidar prison, which is known for its squalid conditions and over-crowding.

Badawi's mother was released and now looks after Salma, who is now 10 years old. She remained in custody as punishment for refusing to denounce her husband and divorce him. However, Matourizadeh was tortured into confessing to be a a British secret agent involved in terrorist attacks and was executed. She was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in internal exile by the notorious judge Ali Shabani at Branch 3 of Ahwaz Revolutionary Court.

In 2010, she was forced to confess to various crimes against national security on Iran's English language channel Press TV, possibly motivated by her desire to leave prison and be reunited with her daughter. Her efforts have so far failed to bring her closer to freedom or Salma.

Yasouj Prison is notorious for poor treatment of its female detainees. In December, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that Kurdish prisoner Qadriyeh Qaderi went on hunger strike in protest at her conditions. There had also been concerns over the failure to provide her with adequate medical care.