What you are reading is a horrific report by eyewitnesses about the torture in Ward 1 of Sheiban Prison in Ahvaz city, in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province. Details provided by activists have been tallied by the human rights association No to Prison – No to Execution.
According to the report, the ward contains a solitary confinement section, set up to punish, harass, and torture inmates. Based on the prison officials’ request, prisoners who must endure more torture are transferred to this ward. Interrogators and guards practice physical and sexual torture against inmates in solitary confinement. Ward 1 is known as “prisoners’ exile” among inmates.
Eyewitnesses say the dimensions of these solitary cells are two meters by three meters. In Ward 1, authorities deprive new prisoners of appropriate food, shower, and clothes for a long time. The guards hold several prisoners in each cell and deal with them inhumanely.
Notably, since the novel coronavirus began in Iran, inmates have suffered from a lack of health and hygienic equipment, which caused a rapid spread of the virus in the prison. Prisoners time and again protested to the authorities, demanding necessary items to contain the virus. However, they received nothing.
Authorities’ negligence prompted inmates to try to release themselves and rescue their lives. Prisoners launched riots across the country and several fled. However, many others were targeted by live ammunition and several lost their lives. “Those oppressors, who beat and killed prisoners in April, have been appointed the chiefs of solitary confinements to harass and torture prisoners,” a prisoner who wants to remain anonymous in fear of more torture said.
“Torturers such as Lalehzar, Abdeveis, Zare, and Zolfaghari trample prisoners’ dignity with beatings, insults, and humiliating acts,” the prisoner added. Also, another prisoner said Abdol Hossein Gholam-Nejad, then-chief of Ahvaz Central Prison Protection and current chief of Sheiban Prison Protection, had directly targeted prisoners in April and injured several inmates.
Prison officials intentionally held inmates accused of murder and rape crimes with other prisoners in these solitary confinements. Moradi is one of the prison officials. One prisoner said that Moradi had personally raped an inmate in solitary confinement. Another report states that a prisoner with the acronym “A.A.” was subjected to sexual abuse in this ward.
Prisoner “H.S.,” who was held in solitary confinement for 45 days, narrates harrowing stories. “These cells are called ‘dog kennels.’ Authorities treat prisoners inhumanely. Keeping the people in these solitary confinements is a kind of torture. Moreover, given the lack of hygienic facilities, the awful smell and stench of prisoners make even healthy people sick,” H.S. said.
Prisoner “M.A.,” who was held in solitary confinement for two months, provided moving details about these cells’ conditions. “In Ahvaz’s overwhelming summer, several prisoners died of lack of food, illness, thirst, and heat. Authorities give high-dose methadone to inmates. Clinic officials prescribed methadone for even some prisoners suffering from chronic diseases. They do not care about prisoners’ illness and do not provide their medicine,” M.A. said.
In their reports, many of the released prisoners pointed out that some healthy people became aggressive and nervous and even attempted suicide after receiving their prescription. Prisoners portray the clinic as a place for torturing, insulting, and humiliating prisoners because of the guards’ violence and embarrassing behavior.
“Every so often, an inmate loses his life in these cells. In the summer, the guards keep several prisoners in these cells. They give methadone to prisoners, leading to prisoners’ convulsion and death due to the high temperature. In fact, methadone is the medicine of death in solitary confinements,” another prisoner said.
Prisoners urged all human rights organizations and international bodies to pressure the Iranian government and judiciary system to end systematic crimes in Sheiban Prison, mainly in solitary confinement cells of Ward 1.