Hengaw's statistical report on the state of Iran's prisons in 2023 reveals the deaths of 11 prisoners under torture

According to the data compiled by the Statistics and Documents Center of th

26 February 2024 22:39


Hengaw: Monday, February 26, 2024

According to the data compiled by the Statistics and Documents Center of the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, a total of 32 prisoners died in the prisons and detention centers of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2023. Additionally, two prisoners passed away shortly after their release, while one accused individual was killed by direct fire from the forces of the intelligence department while attempting to escape. Among the deceased, nine were political prisoners, and shockingly, at least 11 prisoners lost their lives under torture. Notably, 60% of the victims were Kurdish prisoners.

The report comprises 10 distinct sections, each offering detailed insights into various aspects of the situation:

1. Introduction
2. Abstract of the 2023 statistical report
3. Separation of Prisoner Deaths in Iranian prisons
4. Separation of deceased prisoners according to charges
5. A summary of the identity information of nine political prisoners who died in 2023
6. Separation of deceased prisoners according to province in 2023
7. Disposition of deseased prisoners according to correctional facility and detention center
8. Separation of deceased prisoners according to nationality
9. The death of 21 Kurdish prisoners in 2023
10. Conclusion

Each section is accompanied by diagrams and further information, providing a comprehensive overview of the findings.



Security detention centers operated by the Revolutionary Guards and the Intelligence Directorate across Iran, along with numerous public prisons, remain unchecked by international human rights organizations, lacking judicial oversight. These facilities, particularly those in Kurdistan cities, witness severe physical and psychological torture inflicted upon political detainees by security agents.

Compounding this issue, the absence of judicial control extends to Iran's central and public prisons, where the presence of drug-trafficking networks facilitates the entry of various weapons. Under the supervision and financial backing of prison officials, these weapons often lead to lethal altercations among inmates.

Furthermore, documented evidence reveals instances where security institutions coerce prisoners with common charges to intimidate others, particularly political detainees, in prisons lacking segregation based on charges.


Abstract of the 2023 Statistical Report:

As per the data compiled by the Statistics and Documents Center of the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, the year 2023 witnessed the loss of at least 32 lives within the prisons and detention facilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Among these, two political detainees met suspicious deaths shortly after their release, while one individual was fatally shot by intelligence forces while attempting to flee.

Of the 35 recorded deaths, a significant majority—21 individuals—were Kurdish prisoners. Alarmingly, 11 of these fatalities resulted from torture, while nine were attributed to delayed medical attention and inadequate healthcare provision.

Urmia province accounted for the highest number of prisoner deaths, with 11 reported cases. Furthermore, 23 of the total fatalities occurred in various central and public penitentiaries across different cities, while three individuals perished under torture within the detention centers of the Intelligence and Information Department of the IRGC.

Notably, the year 2023 saw the deaths of 11 inmates with drug-related charges and nine political prisoners across Iran's prison facilities.


Separation of Prisoner Deaths in Iranian Prisons:

According to this report, the majority of prisoner deaths occurred due to the torture inflicted by security institutions, accounting for 11 cases. Additionally, nine prisoners succumbed to their demise due to inadequate medical attention and delays in transfer to medical facilities, while three prisoners passed away under suspicious circumstances, suspected of poisoning.

Death under torture: 11 cases, constituting 31.5% of all cases
Lack of medical attention: 9 cases, representing 26% of all cases
Conflict with other prisoners: 4 cases, comprising 11.5% of all cases
Suspicious death: 3 cases, amounting to 8.5% of all cases
Poisoning: 3 cases, making up 8.5% of all cases.
Suicide: 3 cases, accounting for 8% of all cases.
Shots fired during detention: 1 case, equivalent to 3% of all cases.
Heart attack prior to execution of the death sentence: 1 case, also accounting for 3% of all cases


Separation of Deceased Prisoners According to Charges:

The majority of prisoners who died in prisons in 2023 were those accused of drug-related crimes, totaling 11 cases. Following this, nine cases involved political prisoners, and an additional nine prisoners were charged with common crimes. Two cases pertained to financial crimes, one to intentional homicide, and three to murder charges.

Political activity: 9 cases
Drug-related crimes: 11 cases
Common crimes: 9 cases
Financial crimes: 2 cases
Intentional murder: 1 case
Unknown: 3 cases


A Summary of Identity Information for 9 Political Prisoners Who Died in 2023:

According to the report, nine of the 35 prisoners who died in the past year were political prisoners, accounting for 26% of all cases. Among them, five were Kurdish political prisoners, two of whom died suspiciously shortly after completing their sentences. Additionally, two Baloch political prisoners, one Lur Bakhtiari political prisoner, 

and one Gilak political prisoner also lost their lives.

1. Sadegh Fuladiwanda, a 29 years old Lur Bakhtiari and a resident of Gachsaran, died under torture on February 21, 2023, in the intelligence detention center of Gachsaran. He was detained during the Women, Life, Freedom movement.
2. Ebrahim Rigi, a 24-year-old Baloch doctor from Zahedan, died under torture on February 22, 2023, in Zahedan Police Station 12. He was one of the detainees of the Women, Life, Freedom movement.
3. Shirzad Ahmadinejad, aged 41, a Kurd from Bukan, died on March 15, 2023, in the detention center of the Urmia Intelligence Department. He was detained during the Women, Life, Freedom movement.
4. Musa Esmaili, aged 35, a Kurdish resident of Piranshahr, died under torture on July 8, 2023, in the Urmia intelligence detention center.
5. Peyman Galvani, aged 24, a Kurdish youth from Mahabad, died under torture on July 9, 2023, in the intelligence detention center in Urmia.
6. Hassan Joja Galvani, a Kurdish political prisoner from Piranshahr, died suspiciously on August 31, 2023, a few months after completing his 5-year sentence and being released from Ardabil Central Prison. His body was buried amid strict security measures.
7. Javad Rouhi, aged 35, detained during the Women, Life, Freedom movement, died suspiciously in Nowshahr Central Prison on August 31, 2023. The security agencies have attributed his death to drug poisoning.
8. Arman Sangi, aged 27, a Kurdish political prisoner from Baneh, died suspiciously in September 2023, three months after completing his 2-year sentence in Tehran.
9. Mahmoud Rakhshani, aged 19, Baloch from Zabul, died on December 11, 2023, at “Amir al-Mominin” hospital in this city. Three months earlier, he was severely injured in the head and in a coma due to torture in the intelligence detention center in Zabul.


Separation of Deceased Prisoners According to Province in 2023:

Based on statistics from Hengaw, the highest number of prisoner deaths in 2023 occurred in the prisons and detention centers of West Azarbaijan province (Urmia), totaling 11 cases. Four cases were recorded in the prisons of Kurdistan and Sistan and Baluchistan provinces, while three cases each were reported in Kermanshah and Tehran provinces.

• Urmia Province (West Azarbaijan): 11 cases
• Kurdistan Province (Sanandaj): 4 cases
• Sistan and Baluchistan Province: 4 cases
• Kermanshah Province: 3 cases
• Tehran Province: 3 cases
• Golestan Province: 2 cases
• Razavi Khorasan Province: 2 cases
• Alborz Province: 2 cases
• Mazandaran Province: 1 case
• Gilan Province: 1 case
• East Azerbaijan Province: 1 case
• Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province: 1 case



Disposition of Deceased Prisoners According to Correctional Facility and Detention Center:

The majority of prisoners who passed away last year were individuals serving sentences in public prisons, comprising 23 cases. Additionally, three deaths occurred in the Intelligence Department’s detention center and the IRGC intelligence detention center. Two cases were reported in the Nirohi Police Detention Center, while one case each occurred in the Correctional and Education Center and the Detention Center of the Anti-Narcotics Headquarters.

• General and central prisons: 23 cases
• IRGC intelligence detention center: 3 cases
• Detention Center of the Intelligence Department: 3 cases
• Police detention center: 2 cases
• Suspicious death after release: 2 cases
• Correctional Center: 1 case
• Detention center of the anti-narcotics headquarters: 1 case


Separation of Deceased Prisoners According to Nationality:

According to Hengaw’s statistics, 21 cases, equivalent to 60% of the prisoners who died in Iranian prisons last year, were Kurdish prisoners. This figure starkly illustrates the heightened use of violence by security institutions in Kurdistan to suppress prisoners.

Additionally, last year saw the deaths of at least 7 Baloch prisoners, comprising 20% of all cases, in Iranian prisons and detention centers. Furthermore, a prisoner with dual citizenship (Iranian-American) also died in Tehran.

• Kurdish prisoners: 21 cases
• Baloch prisoners: 7 cases
• Gilak prisoners: 2 cases
• Lur and Bakhtiari prisoners: 2 cases
• Turkish prisoners: 1 case
• Dual-nationality prisoners: 1 case
• Fars prisoners: 1 case


The Death of 21 Kurdish Prisoners in 2023:

Out of the total number of prisoners who died across Iran, 21 were Kurdish prisoners, representing 60% of the total, with 8 of them being killed under torture, accounting for 73% of all prisoners who died under such circumstances in Iran last year.

According to the report, 8 Kurdish prisoners died under torture, 5 due to a lack of medical care, and 4 in clashes with other prisoners. Additionally, the deaths of three prisoners were suspicious, and one prisoner committed suicide.

At least five Kurdish prisoners lost their lives while detained on charges of political activity. Eight individuals faced accusations related to drug-related crimes, while five were accused of ordinary crimes. Additionally, two individuals faced charges of financial crimes, while one individual’s charge remains unknown.

According to Hengaw statistics, the majority of Kurdish prisoners who died were from Urmia province (West Azarbaijan), accounting for 12 cases. Four cases each were recorded in Kurdistan province (Sanandaj) and Kermanshah (Kermashan), while Lorestan province recorded one death of a Kurdish prisoner.



Extrajudicial killings, occurring without valid legal process and the opportunity for the accused to defend themselves, constitute egregious violations of human rights and fundamental principles of justice. Often carried out under conditions of repression, fear, and lawlessness, such actions are deemed crimes against humanity. Reports like those compiled by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights shed light on the severity of rights violations in Iran. The deaths of prisoners under torture or at the hands of security forces, absent legal due process, exemplify extrajudicial killings. These cases, especially when impacting national, religious, and ethnic minorities, underscore the urgent need for international attention and action. Standing against such crimes and establishing mechanisms to pursue justice and support victims and their families are integral to the global struggle for human rights.

The report by Hengaw starkly demonstrates not only the widespread human rights violations in Iran but also clear instances of crimes against humanity, as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court, particularly in the case of extrajudicial executions. These actions, conducted without fair trials and under conditions of torture, flagrantly violate international human rights standards and basic principles of justice. The findings of this report necessitate not only the attention of the international community to pressure for an end to these violations but also underscore the imperative for decisive action by international courts to investigate and prosecute those accountable for these crimes.


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