(seeder not working)
Nobody knows the exact number of foreign nationals in Iranian prisons. Some Iranian media give a figure between five and six thousand.According to the London-based organization World Prison Brief, 2.9 percent of prisoners in Iran were foreigners as of December 2014.
There are now close to 700 foreign nationals in Iran’s prisons. Many live in difficult and unsanitary conditions and most have no access to legal representation. Some have served their sentences but remain behind bars.
According to Iran’s Prisons Organization, more than 80 percent of foreign prisoners are Afghan nationals, most of whom are in prison on charges of drug trafficking or illegal entry into Iran.
There are also Somali and Malaysian pirates who have attacked Iranian ships.
If a foreign national is arrested in Iran, the Iranian Foreign Ministry will inform the relevant embassy. But it is up to police and security officials to inform the Foreign Ministry. If they neglect to do so, the person’s embassy may never be informed.
Iran has extradition treaties with 25 countries but they are rarely put into effect. Many foreign nationals remain in Iranian prisons even after serving their sentences.
Most foreign prisoners in Iran have been held on charges of drug trafficking or currency smuggling. Some of the African detainees had been given bags filled with drugs to deliver to Europe but were arrested while crossing Iran. The judge usually sentences these detainees to death or life in prison, although in recent years, the rate of executions for these prisoners has fallen sharply.
“It is really painful because these prisoners often have no lawyers, nobody follows their cases and their embassies do not care about them. Sometimes their sentences are disproportionate to their crimes and sometimes they remain in prison for no reason at all.”