Two political prisoners Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi wrote an open letter to ambassadors of 45 countries who visited the Evin prison recently on 5 July 2017. They explained the intolerable conditions of the Evin prison and brought to attention the horrible conditions of the Iranian prisons. They pointed out the hypocrisy of Iranian officials in showing the delegation that ward of the prison which was recently renovated and did not show them the rest of the prison cells where the majority of the prisoners are kept captive. As the new ward does not depict the actual conditions of the prisons and is only showing one side of the picture that the government and officials want the ambassadors and the world to see. The true side of the prison is still hidden and needs to be brought to the surface, so the world can see the inhumane conditions in which Iranian prisoners are kept. They highlighted the fact that solitary cells have no windows or ventilation or lavatory. The cells resembled graves because they are dark and look like dungeons used for interrogation.
They questioned the delegation, why they had not been brought to the women prison where female political prisoners like them are held captive. They also wrote that the ward four which the delegation had visited was recently renovated by the prisoners, who were taken to solitary confinement on the day of their visit.
They further elaborated on the conditions of women ward by stating that there is a shortage of detergent and disinfectants. The food provided to prisoners is not nutritional, and they are no female nurses in case a female prisoner falls sick. There are no regular health checks, and there is no one to administer electrocardiograph. Iraee and Daemi also accused the prison doctor of not checking the patients. They wrote that the doctor only prescribes medicine by looking at them and does not bother checking them.
Sanitation and hygiene are completely absent from the prison cells, and the situation is so bad that the prisoners are forced to drink dirty, unhygienic water which is causing kidney problems in them. Almost all the prisoners present in Evin prison are suffering from kidney issues.
Iraee and Daemi brought another issue to the attention of ambassadors by explaining that although the Head of the Prison Organization claimed that prisoners are allowed family visits every week, this is not the truth. They said that family visits are only allowed once a month which is harsh considering most of them are already living in solitary conditions.
In the end, both of them urged UNSR on human rights, Ms. Asma Jhanagir to visit prisons without prior notice in Tehran and other cities as well. So the reality of the living conditions of these prisons can be brought to light. The international community has a role to play, especially the United Nations, to ensure prisoners all around the world are kept in basic living conditions. And steps need to be taken to ensure that Iranian prisoners are being looked after and not treated inhumanely.
Originally published at themediaexpress.com on July 31, 2017.