According to reports from the Qarchak prison in Varamin, a suburb of Tehran, the Iranian regime’s Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i visited the female political prisoners’ ward on Friday, May 27, with several bodyguards and security forces accompanying him.

Upon entry to the ward, Mohseni Eje’i was greeted with chants of “Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei” by the political prisoners. In recent protests, many citizens have chanted the same slogan in Abadan and other cities following the collapse of the ten-story Metropol twin towers and the regime’s feeble response to the disaster.

Qarchak prison is regarded as one of the regime’s most dreaded penitentiaries, where female prisoners, in particular, are deprived of minimum facilities and essential needs. Political prisoners are also routinely subjected to permanent types of torture, assaults, and ill-treatment during their incarceration.

Read More: Qarchak Prison, a Nightmare for Women Prisoners in Iran

Female Political Prisoners Continue Struggle for Freedom and Justice

A female prisoner explained, “Several guards unexpectedly entered the ward, looking for knives, razors, and other sharp items. Then Eje’i entered the ward. The delegation did not take off their shoes, prompting prisoners’ complaints. However, several ordinary inmates pulled the carpet over.”

Eyewitness accounts stated that Mohseni Eje’i and his entourage stood at the entrance to the ward, expecting the prisoners to welcome them. However, many political prisoners refused to meet them and instead chose to stay in their cells.

Addressing the prisoners, warden Soghra Khodadadi said, “‘Suppose a guest has come to your home.” In response, prisoners reportedly lashed out, “We do not want a criminal guest.”

Read More: Who is Soghra Khodadadi, Qarchak Prison’s Warden?

Even Inmates Refuse Judiciary Chief Eje’i

Rather than welcoming Eje’i and his entourage, the political prisoners burst into song, singing, “Burn the cage and free the birds”—a famous song among political activists opposed to the authoritarian regime.

One prisoner stated, “Then the warden ran toward a room, shouting, ‘Why do you disturb the order?’ We told her, This is our home; this delegation has disrupted our regular life with this intrusive visit.’”

Other prisoners addressed the visitors, exclaiming, “Get out; you are annoying us; why have you come to our living quarters? You criminals have triggered a mass killing machine; why did you hang Ladan Molla-Saeedi the day before yesterday?”

The judiciary chief was reportedly shocked at the reception he had received and seemed taken aback in the face of the prisoners’ high spirits and defiance.

The report on the visit explained that a political prisoner shouted, “I will curse your entire regime if you  do not leave here right now,” before several other prisoners began chanting, “‘Death to Khamenei.”

The warden then threatened the prisoners, telling them, “I would never address your problems.” At this point, Mohseni Eje’i and his delegation fled from the ward and left the prison.

Surprisingly, other inmates agreed with the political prisoners’ response. They encouraged and praised the resistance of the political prisoners, stating that, in reference to regime officials, “They are all cut from the same cloth.”

Emphasizing Iranian women’s steadiness in the struggle for fundamental rights, Mrs. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human and women’s rights activist, praised the female political prisoners’ response to Eje’i in a written comment to Iran News Update.

“This incident once again put on display the vigilance, adherence to values, and principles in this group, who are undoubtedly the most resilient and combatant women of Iran,” she said. “Iranian women are determined to move forward until full equality between men and women is achieved, and until this regime is overthrown, and a democratically elected republic is established.”

Women’s Rights Activists Should Hold Iranian Officials to Account, Says Mrs. Irina Tsukerman

Following the female political prisoners’ firmness against the judiciary chief, Mrs. Irina Tsukerman expressed her profound concerns over the political prisoners’ conditions in a written comment to Iran New Update.

Mrs. Irina Tsukerman, NY- based human rights lawyer and national security analyst, condemns the dire situation of female political prisoners in Iran
Mrs. Irina Tsukerman, NY- based human rights lawyer and national security analyst, condemns the dire situation of female political prisoners in Iran

“The report, revealing the unconscionable conditions in women’s prison, sheds light on the culture of brutality permeating the Iran regime law enforcement. It is a feature, not a bug, of the regime’s structure, which strives on terrorizing its own citizens and causing divisions through fear of retaliation,” she wrote.

“The prime example of that is Soghra Khodadi, who was literally trained in torture and intimidation of prisoners. Just as Western law enforcement and prison authorities share best practices on the most effective methods of rehabilitating prisoners, the Iranian regime is coordinating with its allies to share in the best torture methods and psychological breakdown of the prison population, reflecting the same approach the population at large.

“Beatings to shut down demands of basic necessities necessary for survival, parading of remains from past wars, and enforcing unsafe conditions for hundreds of prisoners are practices used to ensure compliance with fear rather than to provide just punishment for any particular wrongdoing.

“Amnesty reports underscore the heinous and sadistic intent behind these regulations but demands by human rights NGOs. The Islamic Republic must pay a hefty political price for its atrocious treatment of political prison; only sanctions and deprivation of political and economic privileges, such as participation in international fora, will be sufficient pressure to ensure compliance with basic international norms.

“These reports must be brought to the political level and made clear to Western governments that putting sanctions on individual actors, such as prison wardens, will not have a sufficient deterrent effect as they are unlikely to travel to the West or to keep any funds in Western bank accounts; the entire system has to come under severe political and economic pressure to alleviate at least some of the horrors to which political prisoners are subjected for no reason other than the political whim of the authorities on a regular basis,” she added.

“Moreover, women’s rights activists, in particular, should be vocal in exercising this pressure on the Western governments to take action. Far too often, they make excuses for these human rights violations out of political correctness, deference to alleged cultural or religious norms (or perceptions thereof) or due to the fact that they are more concerned with more popular political causes or domestic issues,” Mrs. Tsukerman concluded. “If women’s rights activists are serious about protecting the most vulnerable, they need to show their commitment to ensuring accountability where it matters the most.”