August 19, 2019
Nearly 200 inmates in the women’s block of the notorious Qarchak prison near the Iranian capital city, Tehran, said on Saturday, August 17, that they would reject the food provided by the authorities until their demands are met.
In a letter to the Islamic Republic’s director-general of prisons, Heshmatollah Hayat al- Ghayb, the enraged inmates have protested the unbearable conditions of the infamous prison.
Qarchak Women’s Prison located on the Tehran-Varamin Highway holds approximately 2,000 women and some children; while the number varies in different periods.
The letter, a copy of which circulated on social media, says conditions in Qarchak are so atrocious that several female prisoners have desperately made use of “self-inflicted injuries” apparently to force prison authorities to pay attention. Many also take handfuls of tranquilizer pills to cope with desperate conditions.
Furthermore, the letter notes, many prisoners are forced to serve other inmates to procure their essential requirements.
“Your last month visit to the prison took less than ten minutes, but the inmates were under intolerable pressure and suffered for two weeks to prepare a pleasant scene for the visit,” the prisoners said in their letter.
International rights organization or independent local observers are not allowed to visit Iranian prisons.
In Ward 5 of the Qarchak prison, the letter has noted, “There are inmates who have been washing other prisoners’ dirty laundry for years to receive the money needed for buying their daily needs”, including food, which is inadequate in prison.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), in each building of Qarchak 200 to 300 female prisoners are held together, disregarding the rules of segregation of prisoners by age and crime.
“To stop prisoners from practicing their right to objection and defiance, the prison officials threaten the prisoners by sending them to solitary confinement, along with the those who have mental health problems.”
In another letter circulated on social media two days ago, women’s rights activist held in Qarchak, Atefeh Tangriz, said Qarchak is the pseudonym of the “Hell.”