A security guard stands at the gate of Evin Prison in Tehran, undated. (Fars)

August 15, 2020

Following the publication of a completely false report by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which clearly has no mission other than [telling] lies, we decided to enlighten the public and draw their attention once again to the situation of the prisoners, make a few points about the ridiculous report by the IRIB 20:30 program on August 12 and inform people who are seeking the truth (in Iran too, where pursuing the truth is a crime).

1. The disinfectant tunnel you saw in the photographs made us laugh, because basically none of us knew it existed, let alone used it when we entered the prison.

2- The quarantine on Ward 1 receives new prisoners, not for 14 days, but for only a few hours or, at most, a day. New prisoners arriving in Wards 4, 8, and 7 are quarantined as a formality next to other so-called quarantined prisoners. A description of the quarantine section of one of the wards follows.

3. The report aired about Ward 4 of the prison was about the rooms where people such as the looters of the teachers’ reserve fund, the Sarmayeh Bank, the Samen Institute, and several other prominent embezzlers and car sultans [individuals who have made a lot of money through the sale of cars using corrupt practices and their connections], etc. are kept along with some of the Revolutionary Guards’ former commanders (who don’t even go by their names for fear of angering the prisoners; for example, one of them is apparently called Sardar Seif) and their collaborators, who have arranged luxury rooms for themselves with the looted property of the oppressed people of Iran and who have imposed their order and authority in the ward.

In these rooms are Hossein Fereydoun (the president’s brother) and Mohammad Ali Najafi, the former mayor of Tehran (a person who should not be in that ward or prison for murder) and Mehdi Hashemi (who is in Ward 7 in a special room on non-leave days); rooms where people from the lower strata of society — just like outside the prison — only have services after they pay a fee.

Thus, a totally discriminatory class system has been established in the prison, and it is natural that the officials of the Prisons Organization and the judiciary use and welcome this stylish part of Evin Prison being highlighted in such TV programs.

4. But the story of Ward 8 is different. The ward plays the role of “exile” from the prisoners’ own perspective. First, the health center you see in the pictures lacks the necessary medical facilities and suffers from a lack of medical and pharmaceutical equipment and is unable to provide the slightest medical services to patients — a healthcare system that is unable to provide most of the specialist and sometimes even non-specialist drugs to patients. Secondly, the fuzzy image that was presented as Ward 8 in the video was actually hall 7 of Ward 8, which is the workers’ hall. It is the same hall where prison workers are exploited for more than six hours a day with extremely low wages — just like outside the prison — between 300 to 700,000 tomans [$14 to $32] per month. They prepared this report during the hours when most of the prisoners are at work in their workshops. It seems that their presence would have prevented the depiction of a sentimental atmosphere from within the prison.

The next point is that the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience of ward 8 are in halls 8 and 9, and considering that the IRIB and its officials are well aware that the political and ideological prisoners consider the IRIB to be part of the ruling repression and propaganda apparatus and will not give interviews to it, and due to the deplorable health condition of these two halls, especially hall 9, which has a high population density, they did not even dare to attend these two halls, which have several cases of coronavirus and suspected coronavirus cases (according to prison officials).

The issue here is not to focus only on political prisoners or prisoners of conscience or on Evin Prison. In fact, the discriminatory and oppressive structure, and based on the seriousness of the current situation, the unhealthy conditions of all prisons are well known in all other cities, especially deprived cities — prisons such as Gharchak, Ghezel Hesar, Greater Tehran, Rajai Shahr. They are much worse. When we see the small hall of ward 8 (hall 9), with a population of more than 130 people, where it is possible to use only three washing basins, five bathrooms, and five toilets that are in poor sanitary conditions, and when in the small rooms numbered 12, 15, and 17, 17 or 18 people live, it is conceivable what is happening in other prisons.

Our aim in this letter is not to reply to the ridiculous remarks of the repetitive program 20:30, which spreads lies and hatred (and which is stained with the blood of hundreds of innocent people and is one of the most disgraceful media outlets among the people) but to give a reminder of the deplorable health and living conditions of the country’s prisoners.

Regarding the preposterous quarantine on Evin Prison wards, newcomers are kept together with people who are on quarantine for a few days (for example, they are on day 10 or 11) and interact with other prisoners. The sham report from 20:30 highlights luxuries such as hand washing liquid. When a trusted prison doctor working in ward 8, instead of sending people with suspected coronavirus disease symptoms and people who have been in direct contact with coronavirus-infected people to medical clinics, tests the temperature of the patient by placing his hand on his forehead and proceeding immediately to write a prescription, there is no other option for him than to ridicule himself in front of IRIB cameras.

Although the end of this story is bitter for us, it will be more bitter for the ruling system.

Evin Prison, Ward 8, August 13, 2020

Names of signatories:

Behnam Mousivand, Behnam Mahjoubi, Ruhollah (Arash) Khezri, Mohammad Hadi Mehrani, Hossein Mahmoudi, Atbin Jafarian, Yasin Jamali, Alireza Farshid, Hamid Manafi, Behnam Sheikhi, Sobhan Imani, Mosayeb Raeisi Yeganeh (Mohsen Raeisi), Asghar Shiri, Ahmad Farsi, Mohsen Farid.

Names of signatories:

Behnam Mousivand, Behnam Mahjoubi, Ruhollah (Arash) Khezri, Mohammad Hadi Mehrani, Hossein Mahmoudi, Atbin Jafarian, Yasin Jamali, Alireza Farshid, Hamid Manafi, Behnam Sheikhi, Sobhan Imani, Mosayeb Raeisi Yeganeh (Mohsen Raeisi), Asghar Shiri, Ahmad Farsi, Mohsen Farid.

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.