Iran – The Women’s Ward of Ahvaz’s Sepidar Prison: Women Commit Suicide to Die or Rest for a Few Days

Iranian women experiencing double repression in prisons
Iranian women experiencing double repression in prisons

and for this reason, during the coronavirus epidemic in April 2020, the male prisoners of this prison revolted, and several of them were brutally killed by the prison agents. But the women’s ward of this prison is in a much worse situation.

Reports from the Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz indicate that women in solitary confinement are in critical condition because of the coronavirus, which now has spread to virtually all of Iran’s prisons. As temperatures in Ahvaz reach 50 degrees Celsius, conditions in this prison are much more difficult due to the crowds.

According to a reliable source, despite the fact that this city is one of the hottest cities in Iran, women prisoners in Sepidar prison do not have air conditioning. The only air conditioning system in the women’s ward is broken and the prisoners do not even have a ventilator. Prison officials are also taking no action to repair the air conditioning system, and the situation sometimes gets worse when the water is cut off.

The different parts of the prison are crowded, and the prisoners are kept in small cells designed for people less than this, which has led to the spread of many diseases among the prisoners.

The source said the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has recently infected more than 50 prisoners, has worried the families of prisoners about their conditions. Prisoners infected with the coronavirus are kept in the quarantine ward of the prison for only a short time and are quickly returned to the public wards, increasing the risk of other prisoners becoming infected.

A female prisoner who was held in the Sepidar prison in Ahvaz until a few days ago described the situation there as very dire.

Unbearable living conditions in women’s wards

Female prisoners in Ahvaz’s Sepidar Prison are deprived of the most basic necessities. Sewage and sanitation are problematic.

Prison cells are full of lice, insects, and beetles. Prisoners who have to sleep on the floor are in a worse situation. Blankets given to prisoners are dirty and unusable, and the Women’s Health Center has no doctors or nurses on many days of the week. Very low-quality food is given to the prisoners.

 

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Suicide is on the rise among women prisoners, as women prisoners hope to be taken to medical centers after suicide so that they can spend a few days in better conditions or eventually die.

Death in this prison is a common and insignificant occurrence and no one cares about women’s health and illness. When a young girl got upset in the bathroom and fell and received a head injury, no one was willing to take her to the hospital.

Women with uncertain sentences

Many of the women in this prison often do not have anyone outside the prison to follow their case. Although their sentences have been completed, many of them are forced to serve additional time in prison.

A girl, who was sentenced to one year in prison three months after the end of her sentence, was still in prison because she had no one outside the prison to follow her case, and even social workers did not help her.

A young girl who was imprisoned in Sepidar prison for some time wrote: “Now I am not in Sepidar Ahvaz for days. But you cannot forget the situation in that place, which is burning you into your heart. Can anyone forget that darkness and nightmare, that lasts forever? Darkness and nightmares because they belong to women, because they belong to women prisoners, because they belong to the country’s women prisoners, outside the walls of the Sepidar it cannot be seen and heard. ‌ It is not heard that ‘here is the Sepidar…’”