No freedom loving human being can stay silent when hearing the horrible news that leak from Iran’s prisons time to time. These news tell the story of a massive human catastrophe that is happening every day in small and large, well known and unknown prisons of the country.
According to prisoners, mock execution, rape, pulling of nails, pushing prisoners heads into toilet bawl, getting attacked by vicious dogs, witnessing the torture of their close relatives, being forced to take mind altering drugs until they are reduced to a plant life state, long interrogations while being naked. sexual humiliation, wiping, sleep depravation, being locked in small cage, long solitary confinement, being threatened and lied to have been common tortures in the prisons of The Islamic republic all along. But torturing the prisoners in order to get false confessions is only part of the crimes and what goes on to political and non-political prisoners, old and young, men and women on a daily basis, is horrible and inhumane.
Some of the letters from the prisoners that have been leaked to the outside, depict the catastrophe that is going on inside the prisons. By writing these letters, the prisoners risk their lives, hoping that some from the outside might hear about them and come to their rescue.
The second terrifying letter from the imprisoned journalist, Mehdi Mahmoudian**, comes out when he is still under tortures for leaking his first letter revealing the crimes committed in Kahrizak prison. Because of the second letter, he was sent to solitary confinement and was hospitalized after going on a dry hunger strike. Kahrizak is the notorious prison that some of those arrested during the demonstrations of the summer of 2009 lost their lives in it shortly after being arrested. Although the regime tried to repair the damage by closing it down temporarily and putting on trial some of the low ranking prison officials in closed courts, bigger crimes are still happening inside the prisons and the prisoners are dying slowly.
In his second letter from the prison of Rajaie Shahr, Mehdi Mahmoudian reveals the terrible situations and talks about the savage tortures that are going on. The widespread activity of the drug gangs, the easy availability of drugs and widespread addiction, in addition to rape and common human trades for sex in exchange for drugs, have caused the epidemic of Aids and Hepatitis.
Former student, Seid Zia Nabavi who is spending a ten year sentence in Karoon prison in Ahvaz, tells the story of the terrible conditions in that prison. The number of the prisoners are three times over the capacity and one third of the prisoners sleep on naked floor and one third have to sleep in a small yard and take cover inside the bathrooms during the rain. It is sad to know that after each strong rain, the swage pipes over flow into the yard and the prisoners have no alternative but to bear the horrible smell, eat, sleep and “live” with the cockroaches and rats amongst them. When other prisoners are let out, there are three prisoners walking and smoking on each one square meter space. “The top of the out side yard is meshed up and that limits he air flow and adds to the heat of Ahvaz‘ extreme summer. This not only deprives the prisoners from enjoyment of looking at the open sky, but turn them into caged animals.”
Another revealing letter written by nine female political prisoners, who recently were transferred for a while to Gharchak Prison in the outskirts of far away Varamin, tell us about horrible things going on in that prison. Although they have all been transferred to other prisons since, it is painful to know that there still are other women and young girls suffering in that prison.
There are prisoners several times over the capacity kept in this former chicken farm. Not only they suffer from the lack of any sanitation and air ventilators, hunger and unsecured conditions, they get punished with batons and by pulling their nails.
Parts of the letter reads:
Gharachak Prison in Varamin has seven cells, each with the capacity for several tens, but with more than 200 prisoners in it. The lack of any ventilation system and the strong smell and gas coming from the sewage has caused respiratory problems for a lot of the prisoners. There are two washing facilities and two bathrooms for the more than 200 prisoners. Because of these limitations, a lot of prisoners use the space between the bunkers as their washing space. Because there are no other sources of water available, the prisoners have to use the faucets in the bathrooms to wash their clothes and dishes. Three daily meals are supposed to be served at the prison’s canteen, but due to food shortages, a lot of prisoners did not receive some meals last week. Each meal is usually consists of two stale pieces of bread and one potato or a small portion of noodles. One can see the results of malnutrition, specially because a lot of the prisoners kept here are under 18 years of age. Because of food shortages, there are constant fights and the canteen is called by the prisoners “the beating chamber”.
What we hear time to time from the prisons in Shiraz are also worrisome. For example, the reports about the suspicious death of political activist Reza Mouhammadi. The cause of death to his family, which was not receiving any news about him for a long time, was told to be “falling down on the bathroom floor”. Not only his family was denied the body despite their several appeals, but they were intimidated and his brother was also arrested by Shiraz intelligent in order to stop them from spreading the news about his death.
We hear from Sanandaj prison in Kurdestan, where the Information Ministry and the Pasdaran interrogators methods of humiliation and applying pressure are making the prisoners lives unbearable. The prison guards attack the political prisoners cells, beat them up and destroy or take away their meager belongings.
The news from Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad tells not only of large scale mass executions, but of overall inhumane conditions. Seyed Hashem Khastar who was the teacher’s representative in the Council of the Educators and is being held there, in a letter addressed to the country’s judiciary head, reveals some details about this prison. He writes that the prisoners whom are numbered four times over the prison’s capacity, are denied the basic necessities and compares the prison to “Hitler’s death camps“.
Over all, over population, no regard to divide prisoners based on their alleged crimes, lack of prison security, desperate lack of any sanitation and access to health facilities, lack or illegal denial of availability of mass media such as newspapers and radio and the right to have access to telephone and visitation, indicate not only disregard for the prison regulation laws, but disregard for basic human rights in prisons, which is itself part of the larger problem of human right violations in the country.
How can we be silent while we are witnessing that our best children are suffering under such conditions. Facing these conditions, the task is now much grater than demanding political prisoners freedom. What goes on in the prisons of The Islamic Republic is against human dignity and it is the duty of every justice loving person to stand up against it.
The Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers) and their supporters, in addition to stressing their just demands for unconditional release of all political prisoners, are asking that until these demand are met, the
security and wellbeing of them be guaranteed, all theirs and non political prisoners rights be respected according to prison laws and those prisons that do not meet the international standards be closed. In our struggle and hand in hand with all the families of the political prisoners, we ask freedom lovers of the world and the international human rights organizations to support our demands and oblige The Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold its agreements to international laws regarding it citizens.
We demand the immediate closure of all illegal and unregulated prisons, providing health facilities (with special consideration for women and their children), separation of prisoners based on their crimes and finally, to respect basic prisoners rights, whether political or non political.
Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers of Iran)
Supporters of Mothers of Lalel Park/ in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dortmund,
Vienna, Italy, Geneva, Oslo, Los Angeles-Valley…
High Commission of Human Rights
EU Human rights Commission
*Mothers of Laleh Park (Mourning Mothers of Iran) are the mothers of those executed, tortured and banned or killed in the street demonstrations by the regime’s thugs, during the rein of The Islamic republic of Iran. Despite the heavy burden of their mourning, they are asking not only for a just investigation of those involved in the torture and killing of their children, but they strongly condemn ethnic and religious cleansings, ghesas, stoning, torture and rape in order to obtain false confessions inside the prisons and are demanding the immediate release of all the political and conscientious prisoners and the abolishment of the capital punishment.
Considering the level of repression in Iran, their supporters abroad take up the duty of reflecting their views to the world.
Laleh Park was the first meeting ground after the bloody popular protests against the results of July 2009 election.
**Mehdi Mahmoudian is currently being held at the Rajaie Shahr prison. While being held there, he lost half of his lung due to an acute infection. As a result of severe tortures and mental pressures, he now suffers from epilepsies and has lost consciousness several times during interrogations and the officials pay no attention to his wellbeing.