Iran: Deplorable human rights conditions remain the norm in prison
Mehrdad Mohammadnejad, an Iranian social media activist, has been transferred to another prison. The 23-year-old student was moved from Evin Prison to Fashafuyeh prison.
He is currently serving a two-year sentence handed to him by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court because of his social media presence and was charged with “spreading propaganda against the regime” and “insulting officials and agents”.
He was arrested at home in October 2018. He was badly beaten by a number of arresting agents who proceeded to confiscate personal belongings including documents, books, phones and computer devices.
Fashafuyeh prison conditions are very concerning. A former prisoner who has spent time in the prison has described the horrors that prisoners have been subject to there.
In an account of his time there, the prisoner said that he was sent to the quarantine section of the prison which can only be described by him, and anyone else that has spent time there, as “hell”.
Prisoners are then routinely sent to a part of the prison named “Brigade” where the conditions are as equally horrid. Having spent several periods of quarantine over the course of several years, the prisoner concludes that conditions are deteriorating.
The prison was originally used as a detention centre for prisoners with a drug addiction. The toilet is essentially a hole in the ground beside a bedding area, separated only by a curtain.
In an area described as “physics”, up to 32 prisoners are crammed into a 3 meter by 3 metre space. There is no cooling or heating provided and water is cut off for much of the day.
Many prisoners are forced to sleep on the floor because of a lack of beds. The former prisoner said that it is usually drug addicts, newcomers and Afghans that occupy the floor space. Many sleep under beds, meaning the experience is like resting in a coffin.
Fashafuyeh prison, like many prisons in Iran, hold prisoners that are so ill that they should be in hospital. However, authorities deny this basic right, increasing suffering for all of the prisoners.
Conditions are dirty, unhygienic and downright dangerous. Violent prisoners are put in the same cells as political prisoners.
The former prisoner said that no attention has been drawn to the conditions there and called for an urgent study to be carried out in light of specific phenomena such as a massive increase in the number of highly educated prisoners.
In other news, another activist, this time for teachers’ rights, Jafar Ebrahimi, was arrested at the end of last year. The member of Tehran’s teachers association was arrested while attending a ceremony commemorating the protesters that were killed by the regime’s brutality during the protests that started on 15th November last year.
There has been a temporary detention order for him and it has just become known that it has been extended. He applied for bail but it was denied.
Mr Ebrahimi’s lawyer has said that he suffers from “acute gastrointestinal illness” and that he has very specific needs in terms of medication. Only a few days ago, his house was raided and the mobile phone of his wife was confiscated.