The Complicated Situation of Zahedan Central Prison Narrated by Witnesses
HRANA News Agency – Mismanagement in Zahedan Central Prison, administrative corruption and intervention of inviolable institutions in the internal affairs of the prison have led to the creation of a complicated situation in this prison that has its effect on the daily lives of thousands of prisoners. The high level of uncertainty in the prison, the failure to address the specific situation of patients, punishments and physical and mental ill-treatment, poor quality of food products, failure to address detention requests, the presence of bulk drugs in prison and the lack of effective work are a part of the problem of prisoners.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), the statistics are higher than available capacity, for example, the number of residents in ward 7 is 650, while the capacity of the beds is one-fourth of the number. In such a situation, the recent destruction of the two wards of the prison has caused about 300 people be added to other wards of the prison.
The high level of uncertainty is one of the main problems of this prison. There are many prisoners in the prison who are held there for 2 to 5 years, but they have still no verdict.
A person who was recently released from the prison told HRANA’s reporter: “the bail is more than 50 to 100 billion IRR. This is happening in a province which is subject to absolute deprivation in every respect, and the texture of the houses is completely worn and they must provide this bail because the expert estimates the price of each document half. As a result, many prisoners are held in this prison for more than 3 years due to the failure in providing the bail. As we have heard and seen, this crackdown has only been implemented for the province.”
Although the legal uncertainty of detainees is not directly linked to prison administration but the lack of a social work center and the lack of effective mechanisms for linking detainees to the judiciary are among the cases of mismanagement.
However, according to Article 9 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone who is arrested or detained (imprisoned) must be presented as soon as possible in the courtroom in the presence of a judge or any other authority permitted by law to exercise judicial authority and should be tried or released within a reasonable time.
The case of lack of attention of the authorities to the prisoners’ demands such as the requests to use the open vote (part-time imprisonment), furlough and parole and delayed and unplanned sessions of the prison classification council which addresses such demands, have led to massive prolongation of the prisoners imprisonment and the unnecessary increase of the population living in prison.
Many prisoners have been held in jail for unintentional crimes and convictions such as paying blood money for several years. Prisoners believe that despite the fact that Golrizan is held in some parts of the country and funds are collected or center of blood money is active, this prison has been deprived of having such chances because of ethnic and religious discrimination.
On the other hand, witnesses who had experiences in this place indicated that prisoners did not know the prison authorities well beyond those who had been held in this prison for several years. On the other hand, the authorities did not enter wards of prisons while visiting the prison and also did not talk to the prisoners about their cases.
Prisoners told HRANA’s reporter in this regard that “unfortunately, the authorities do not come to the wards at all, they do not speak closely with the prisoners and sometimes when they inadvertently visit the wards, they get out of wards very quickly without talking to the prisoners and knowing their problems. They most visit after 12 am when they are all sleeping. No one knows the general director, the warden and the judge of the prison.”
Only a few people can use the gym in this prison, although prisoners in ward 3 of this prison are all prohibited from the right of using the sporting equipment of the gym.
The situation of ward 3 which is the whereabouts of political and security detainees is described to be hard in the cold season, as now according to the statistics of the beds, the capacity of this ward is 173, but the authorities use the population as a tool to put pressure on political-security detainees by transferring dozens of imprisoned prisoners to this ward.
Currently, 340 detainees are held in ward 3 of this prison.
The prison now has at least 200 prisoners on death row, who are Sunni and Baluch citizens.
The practice of physical encroachment in this prison is commonplace by authorities, in which prisoners are beaten with the slightest offense or even objection by the prison authorities. The witnesses told HRANA’s reporter that “If prisoners committed the slightest offense, they will take us to the yard of quarantine and hold our hands and feet behind us and hold us on the chest for several hours under the burning sun and eventually beat us.”
In addition to all the problems, the prison is also deprived of the minimum medical and standard facilities, so that the dentist and the ophthalmologist will refer to prison every 4 months for the treatment of a limited number of prisoners. Prisoners have to provide the medicine they need on their own cost by bribing the prison staff.
Also, the deportation of prisoners with special and emerging diseases to outside the prison is very limited and security and political prisoners will never be sent to the hospital.
HRANA recently released the report about a prisoner in Zahedan prison, who died in the absence of medical treatment in the prison.
The poor food of this prison lacks nutritious food value. According to people who talked to HRANA’s reporter, “Sometimes it is observed that the served bread is not well-cooked and has a dough condition. The chicken and mutton will be supplied just sometimes and when they are expired.”
The prisoner added that “there are no vegetables and fruits and also peppers and onions are prohibited by the order of the prison security.”
The prison store often offers limited and repetitive materials and in some cases, does not offer some materials for several weeks and the prisoners have to wait several weeks for what they need.
Prisoners have the problem on dairy products and government nutrition. The prisoners explained in this regard, “we add water into yogurt and add boiling water to the broth for sharing with prisoners in order to share the diet equally. Prisoners have repeatedly protested to the authorities of the prison against the low-level and non-standard diet, but unfortunately, officials have, in contrast, reduced the quality of food in comparison with the past, in order to prevent more prisoners from protesting.”
He added about the quality of food that “Mr. Khosravi, the head of the prison has said that each person has the quota of 150 grams of meat, but we do not receive 25 grams of meat at the time of serving.”
According to witnesses, the health condition of baths is so bad that in most baths, water accumulates and there is no way out, bathroom and toilet doors are worn out, some of the bathrooms and toilets do not have doors, and the waste plastics are used instead of the door. The refrigerators and coolers are not enough at populated wards, like 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are only four coolers in the corridor of ward 4 while it has two floors and there is no cooler in the rooms. The other wards have such problems, too. There is no cold water in wards 6, 7 and 8, if the defrost or refrigerator fail; they should be tracked for several weeks or month, to be repaired at the expense of prisoners.
According to sources, there are no sport facilities at all at yards of prison as well as the yards are very small for such a population and having the break is deemed to be forced to spend hours on the day with all these problems. The prisoners are kept in the small yards of wards under the burning sun of Zahedan in the summer from 8 am to 11 am.
As noted at the beginning of the report, other problems in the prison include the lack of an effective social work, in which prisoners believe that authorities are relinquishing prisoners’ requests to other officials, including the social work.
Some prisoners told HRANA in this regard, “Prison card sheets for signature and processing are accumulated in the office of the internal director and also it takes at least one week to be signed and the sheets are pending for a month to be sent to the court because the social worker refers to the prison every two weeks. While most of the papers are required to be sent to court at the due time.”
The prisoners must bribe one million and five hundred thousand tomans to the prison authorities to be transferred to a better ward.
The prisoners added, the problems were getting worse since the day when Mr. Mohsen Khaje became the interior director. They repeatedly ask for money for signatures and determine one million and five hundred thousand tomans for transferring to other wards, so that there is a representative who collects money in each ward, especially wards 6, where the prisoners should pay even for a family visit.
Psychotropic substances and sleeping pills are distributed with the participation of some prison staff, to the extent that the authorities are indifferent to the distribution of narcotics.
The use of technical and professional workshops such as gym is limited in this prison, and prisoners in ward 3 do not have the right to attend these places.
Prison conditions are described to be extremely inappropriate with the advent of the winter and the lack of a heating system.
Informed sources told HRANA, “The hall is very cold in the winter and the wards are not equipped with the heating system and every prisoner have to use blankets to prevent the arrival of cold. The prison guard’s officer, Mahdi Jahangir, accused prisoners of trying to escape from prison.”
The sources added, the criminal cases were created for people who used blankets to prevent the arrival of cold in Hall 3.
Among those who have been accused of “trying to escape from prison” in recent days, there are:
Morad Bakhshi Balochi, 32 years old, drug offender, sentenced to death from Room 1, ward 4
Hossien Dadvar, 27 years old, drug offender, sentenced to death
Mohsen Gangozehi, 30 years old, drug offender, sentenced to death
Four other prisoners, at the time of prayer in the mosque of the hall, noticed the mosque’s cold and tried to cover the mosque by using blankets, but the guard officer accused them of “trying to escape from prison”. The identity of these four detainees have been onbtained by HRANA: Mo’in Nora, Maulvi Abdul Razzaq Brahui, Hafez Zavar and Ibrahim Garshak Zehi”.
The informed sources who helped HRANA for the field research added, “In the last week, Towhidnia, the head of ward 7 have replaced blankets with carpets by sewing the blankets because of lack of carpet in the corridor for prayer in order to the prisoners read Quran in the Corridor.