Gohardasht Prison or Rajaei Shahr Prison: A newspaper affiliated with the Iranian supreme leader publishes information about Hamid Noury

by Farzad Seifikaran —28March 2022

The seventy-second session of the trial of Hamid Noury, AKA Hamid Abbasi, a former Iranian judiciary official (Dadyar) accused of involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison in the summer of 1988, was held in a Stockholm court. An Australian-British lawyer, Jeffrey Robertson, who prepared a detailed report on these killings in collaboration with the Boroumand Foundation, testified in court during this session; this report is one of the most critical documents in Hamid Nouri’s trial.

Nouri not only denies working in Gohardasht Prison, but also claims that there is no prison by that name in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s judiciary maintains the same. In this report, Zamaneh refutes these claims, citing a variety of documents including a book published by the Kayhan Institute’s research office, an institution close to Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zamaneh investigated the history of Gohardasht or Rajaei Shahr Prison and found that a newspaper close to the office of the supreme leader published a document showing that Rajaei Shahr prison is still known as Gohardasht, and that a person named “Abbasi” (the pseudonym of the accused who is on trial in Stockholm) used to work there.

One of the most critical disputes in Noury’s trial is the name of Gohardasht Prison, also known as Rajaei Shahr Prison. The judiciary-run news agency, Mizan News, has published a video on the trial that also covers the conflict over the name of this prison.

Why are Hamid Noury and the Iranian judiciary rejecting Gohardasht as the name of this prison, and why is it necessary to investigate the history of the name of this prison?

The source of this denial is related to the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988: accepting the name Gohardasht equates to acknowledging these crimes. Because the Islamic Republic is unwilling to accept this history, it obscures reality and denies these events. This report will address the history of this prison and its names based on historical documents and various sources, including the Iranian government.

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