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Iran Prison Atlas (IPA) is a database created and administered by the non-profit organization United for Iran, which collects, verifies, and publishes information on human rights abuses against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran. The IPA sees the status of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as a lens by which to better understand the human rights situation in Iran. Their detentions are a direct reflection of the status of freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and religion in Iran. They also give us insight into Iran’s violation of freedom from torture, the right to fair trials, the right to life, and more.

Cases and profiles of prisoners are featured in the Iran Prison Atlas Database. Breaking developments and analyses are published on the Iran Prison Atlas News website.

The current version of the IPA has been gathering information since March 2016. However, we also have access to the names and information of a number of political prisoners who were also in prison in 2014 and 2015. In order to keep the accuracy and consistency of the data, the information of the years 2014 and 2015 is not shown in the current version of the IPA.

United for Iran has compiled the information for the Iran Prison Atlas through a knowledgeable team of Iranian researchers, many of whom are human rights activists and former political prisoners. Staff and volunteers of United for Iran have spent more than 25 thousand hours verifying the data in Iran Prison Atlas. To gather and vet data about the prisoners, United for Iran’s team is in direct and consistent contact with the families and friends of political prisoners, as well as various rights activists and political, religious, and ethnic communities inside and outside Iran. United for Iran meets with various stakeholders, to gather data, and to build contacts. Information contained within this atlas is verified by multiple credible sources, including but not limited to personal contacts, family members, media, and other non-governmental organizations.

As a consequence of severe state repression and a lack of independent media and human rights organizations, Iranian human rights defenders face severe challenges in the process of data acquisition and verification on political prisoners. After the 2009 election, human rights organizations that had been operating informally were targeted and shuttered by judicial and intelligence organs. Staff members of these organizations who were able to leave the country have managed to continue their activities and maintain underground networks inside the country to report violations. Family members of political prisoners and their close acquaintances are threatened by security forces to not speak out or provide information to organizations or the media or face severe consequences.

The aforementioned restrictions on the free flow of information create barriers to providing a fully comprehensive atlas of political prisoners, prisons, and judges in Iran. As such, we believe that the actual number of political prisoners is higher.