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Iranian Activist Put in Solitary for Exposing Bedbugs at Tehran Prison

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Zia Nabavi, a student activist and political detainee, has been moved to solitary confinement after raising concerns about bed bug infestations in Tehran’s Evin prison, his lawyer Amir Raeisian reported on Thursday.

Speaking with the Emtedad outlet, Raeisian said Nabavi “has not been able to communicate with his family members for days, so we cannot be certain about his condition.”

This news follows Nabavi’s open letter two weeks ago, in which he detailed the severe conditions caused by the infestation, including prolonged periods without sleep.

In response to the accusations, the Mizan news agency, which is affiliated with the judiciary, denied the presence of bedbugs in Evin Prison, describing the facility as one of the nation’s “cleanest and most orderly prisons.”

Human rights groups have long documented a history of severe human rights abuses at the notorious prison in the nation’s capital. Inmates endure beatings, sexual harassment, and deliberate neglect when in need of medical care. The prison suffers from chronic overcrowding and routinely employs solitary confinement.

Last week, Tehran’s Taleghani Hospital announced that it would no longer accept dialysis patients from Evin Prison, citing the presence of bed bugs brought in by the inmates.

In a post on X, former political prisoner Mehdi Mahmoudian said that the hospital had sent the head of Evin’s medical department a sample canister of bedbugs to substantiate the allegation.

Nabavi, who has long been targeted by authorities, was imprisoned last March for his role in a protest against chemical attacks and serial poisoning of female students across the country. The attacks affected thousands of young students, with hundreds requiring medical attention.