A Comprehensive Report about Ward 7 of Evin Prison in Tehran
HRANA News Agency – Ward number 7 of Evin prison composed of 8 halls is one the infamous wards of this prison, where mainly prisoners with financial crimes are being kept it. But at least 55 political-security prisoners are kept in this ward along with dangerous prisoners with drug smuggling and financial crimes in a very bad condition, in contrast with the separation of prisoners’ act, and are serving their long term sentences. There are at least 30 prisoners with HIV in this ward as well. The following report is about the condition of this ward, based on the interviews with first hand witnesses.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), ward number 7 of Evin prison is composed of 8 sections as following: Hall number one, allotted to drug addicted and financial prisoners (subbasement), hall number two allotted to financial and seamstress prisoners who are working in prison, halls number 3 to 6 allotted to financial prisoners, Jahad ward (known also as hall number 11) allotted to financial prisoners and prisoners who are working in ward seven’s facility plan, and hall number 12 (subbasement) allotted to political-security prisoners and financial prisoners charged with document forgery and scam.
In the following report, HRANA is trying to tackle the location, hygiene, nutrition, management, accommodation and medical conditions inside ward number 7.
Ward number 7 is located to the north of Evin prison and close to ward 8 and 240.
Number 1: Hall number two’s yard
Number 2: Jahad’s ward yard
Number 3: Hall number one’s yard
Number 5: Hall number three and five’s yard
Number 6: Hall number four’s hall
Number 7: Hall number twelve’s yard where political prisoners are held. It is very narrow (12meters) and confined, and some parts of it are used for cleaning the dishes. Due to high walls there is no direct sun light.
Warm water is usually not in access. For instance during the past New Year holiday, it was totally cut off. This problem in the cold weather becomes a serious hygienic issue.
Hall number one and twelve which are located on subbasement level, are moist and causing problems like joint problems and pains in the arms and legs of prisoners. Hall number 12 has the most limited access to the yard.
Hall number 12 has 5 small washrooms one of which is usually out of order. The part of the very confined yard is used for washing dishes and dresses, in warm and cold seasons.
There are three swear walls with open doors in this yard that leads to the presence of vermin and rats.
In the warm seasons bugs bites puts the prisoners in trouble. Rates and cockroaches also find their way into the wards and halls.
Due to the high walls, prisoners cannot dry their dresses.
The food is reported to have a poor quality and be unhealthy and instead of meat, soya is used. Sometimes sand and even rat’s waste could be found in the ward’s food. Ward number twelve’s kitchen is small and it is hard for the prisoners to prepare food for themselves.
According to the regulations of the prison bureau, the prison is mandated to provide vegetables and fruits for the prisoners. It is not carried out and the authorities state that they do not have resources.
Mr. Aliashraf Rashidi, Evin prison’s head has told to prisoners that their budget was enough just for a Falafel and they had to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Roohollah Tavasoli is the head of ward number 7 and Moradi and Ghobadi are head of the security of this ward. The halls are controlled by the prisoners, who are called ward’s attorney. This sometimes creates problems for political prisoners in ward 12, because these “attorneys” are selected among financial prisoners with forgery and scam charges, they sometimes cooperate with ward security forces to harass the political prisoners.
Prisoners believe that the “attorneys” are reporting all of their activities. It will be discussed on a related section.
The prisoners addicted to drugs in ward 7 are kept in hall number one which is close to the hall where the political prisoners are kept. They are constantly using “methadone syrup” which is prescribed by prison’s clinic authorities. The condition has been reported to be very polluted and inappropriate.
According to the officials, “triangular clinic” of ward seven is hospitalizing at least 30 prisoners with HIV. However, these are the prisoners who have done HIV test voluntarily.
Medical facilities of this ward are bad and hall number twelve’s physician, Mr. Jafarnejad is always refusing to help political prisoners and evade sending them to hospital. They would be sent to a hospital just if they start a hunger strike and the endangerment of their life is being covered in press.
Ward’s physiologist is Dr. Rahmani who according to the prisoners prescribes a lot of neurological drugs that is creating problem for prisoners in long term.
Other problems of political-security prisoners:
Hall number 12 of ward number 7 is very small, with 4 rooms and a narrow corridor, but 55 political-security prisoners and few prisoners with financial crimes are kept there. There is a room outside the corridor where 5 prisoners including ward’s “attorney” are kept in.
The corridor is so narrow that prisoners have difficulties walking through it.
Even though ward’s windows are located on the basement, but noises of loading and unloading good and also the smoke from load trucks cause problems for prisoners.
This ward has two public phones which from time to time have technical difficulties. This is while one phone is installed in ward attorney’s room is used by him and his subordinates.
One of the things that is carried out to discomfort prisoners, is during Azan. The sound volume would be on the highest level and the prisoners who are using the phones are then in trouble. Need to be mentioned that around 70 people are using these two phones.
Family visits is another problem for prisoners of ward number 7, especially for prisoners who are not residents of Tehran. For a 15-minute-long visit, prisoners’ families need to get the permission for the visit from the prosecutor’s office on Mondays. If their request is approved then they should come on Saturday for a visit, so families who are living in other places has to travel to Tehran twice.
Almost all of the political-security prisoners of ward number 7 are charged with cooperation with conflicting foreign countries, and by applying article 508 of the penal code, they have received 5 to 10 years of imprisonment. Judge Salavati has issued most of these sentences.
According to article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code, “each person or group who cooperates with conflicting foreign countries against Islamic Republic of Iran, will be sentenced to between one to ten years in prison, if he/she was not recognized as belligerent”.
Legal analysts believe that government is the only reference for defining the definition of “conflicting foreign countries” for applying article 508 or any other law that is related to foreign countries. It has to be audited from the government if a country could be considered as a “conflicting country” and the judiciary and the judge are not qualified for defining it. It is important that the list of conflicting countries must be available for the public.
This is not the case for this ward’s prisoners and it is generalized among all of the security prisoners around the country. Most of these prisoners believe that they are victims of systematic scenarios and they do not consider the verdict to be valid.
One of these prisoners told HRANA’s reporter, “according to the law I have not committed any crimes, let alone espionage! We are the victims of a “spy-creating-project” of the previous government”.
Another prisoner told HRANA’s reporter about having access to his documents, “under the presumption that the intelligence service and judge Salavati were right and I was a spy. Then why the prosecutor’s office has ordered that the status of political-security prisoners should not be printed, even the forms are without their names? Why they do not give us any documents or do not give a permission to make our court process public in the internal press?”
Political and security prisoners of this ward have demanded better condition and fair and humane behavior with them by performing hunger strike and other ways, but these demands have been ignored by the authorities so far.