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Gholam-Hossein Esmaili

Title: Head of Iran’s Prisons Organization

Sanctions: European Union (April 12, 2011)

In April 2011, the European Union named Esmaili as an individual subject to sanctions for human rights violations. According to the Official Journal of the European Union, Esmaili “was complicit to the massive detention of political protesters and covering up abuses” performed in Iranian jails.[1]

Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani named Esmaili the Head of Iran’s prisons in August 2009, according to the Iranian press. [2]

Reporting on political prisoners in Iran, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) quoted Esmaili, who commented that there were no political prisoners in Iran, instead stating “These individuals are in prison as a result of threatening the national security of our country and their numbers are very limited.”[3]

[1]Council of the European Union, “Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 of 12 April 2011 Concerning Restrictive Measures Directed Against Certain Persons, Entities, and Bodies in View of the Situation in Iran.” Official Journal of the European Union, April 14, 2011, p. 100/9.

[2]“Mortazavi Named Iran Deputy Prosecutor,” Press TV (Iran), August 30, 2009. (

[3] “Head of Iran’s Prisons: ‘There Are No Political Prisoners in Iran’,” Persian Report by HRANA, October 7, 2010. (