It is known as Evin University, but it’s no school — it is one of the world’s most brutal and infamous prisons. And barring intervention by Iran’s religious leaders, it could be the home of American citizen and Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini for the next eight years.
Beatings, torture, mock executions and brutal interrogations are the norm at Evin prison, where for four decades the anguished cries of prisoners have been swallowed up by the drab walls of the low-slung lockup in northwestern Tehran. Standing at the foot of the Alborz Mountains, it is home to an estimated 15,000 inmates, including killers, thieves and rapists. But the prison has also held ayatollahs, journalists, intellectuals and dissidents over the years, and few if any who have survived time in Evin could be surprised by claims of torture and abuse made by Abedini’s supporters.
“To many Iranians, the concept of Evin prison is synonymous with political repression and torture,” Gissou Nia, executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, told FoxNews.com. “Today, anyone who is perceived to be a threat to the Iranian regime, including human rights defenders … is kept within the confines of Evin and other notorious prisons in Iran.”
Evin House of Detention was built during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi — known to Americans as the Shah of Iran. Before he was ousted from power in the 1979 revolution, the prison housed some of the very radicals and sympathizers who would one day rule the Islamic Republic. During the 10-year reign of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of political prisoners were systematically murdered at Evin, according to Nia. After Khomeini’s death in 1989, Evin continued to serve as a holding pen for some of Iran’s most prominent intellectuals, activists and journalists, earning it the nickname “Evin University.”
Following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as president in 2005, arrests related to political opposition mounted, reaching a frightening apex during the failed “Green Revolution,” that followed Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election.
“Much of the opposition was sent, without pretense, to Evin,” Nia said.
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