A large number of political prisoners in Zahedan Prison sent urgent appeal to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to address the deteriorating medieval and inhuman prison conditions. This letter of appeal has been sent to “Human Rights Activists for Democracy in Iran” (HRDAI), for sending to the UN officials and publication in the media:
We are a large number of political prisoners in Zahedan central prison, living in undesirable and deplorable condition. We want to raise our strong objection to the poor and wretched situation of the jail and request for consideration by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights.
1-Keeping of prisoners: in any 4×5m room a number of 30-35 prisoners and in a 2×3m cell some 12 to 15 people are kept. Most of the prisoners lack a bed to sleep and they sleep on the floor. Since bringing blankets and clothing into the prison is prohibited, every prisoner has only 2-3 blankets which will not suffice the cold season. The wards are not well heated and the only fan coil of the ward is always producing wind chill.
The imprisoned must wake up at 6 am. The guards to put pressure on all the prisoners take them outdoors, and keep them long in the coldest weather of morning, making prone to get sick. After coming into the ward and having breakfast, again they are forced back to the yard from 8 to 11 in the cold weather of morning, making the prisoners vulnerable to be diseased.
3- Health care status: Health status is not desirable in Zahedan prison; most prisoners are sick and those who are affected with contagious diseases often are not isolated from the healthy individuals and both are kept together. Lack of 24 hour physician is problematic, and every prisoner can only once every 2 or 3 months go to the clinic for treatment. If visited by the doctor, there is no medication to prescribe for the patients, and specialized drugs such as psychiatric drugs, etc. are sold on the black market by the brokers. In any case, those who have a heart attack or heart failure by accident will lose life through lack of medication and treatment. Even the prisoners who die due to an ordinary illness, the cause of demise is reported in the medical report as “shortage of narcotics”.
3- Sanitary conditions: Although more than 400 to 500 people are imprisoned in a ward, there are only 5 bathrooms and 6 toilets for this number of prisoners; often 1 or 2 of them are ruined and useless. Water of the services is discontinued 2 days a week and there is only hot water available for 2 hours daily for bath which is not sufficient for all the prisoners. For this reason, the vermin like lice has caused skin diseases among inmates.
4- Nutritional status: Only half a loaf is given per prisoner per day is. For breakfast, 5 times per week and each time 10 grams of cheese, jam once, and boiled egg for once are given. Poor quality cooked rice without stew and cooking oil is served 6 days a week for lunch. For dinner, soup 5 times a week and once potato and eggs are served. Food is generally of poor quality, which makes most inmates to be malnourished. Meanwhile, those having financial strength can provide themselves with something to eat from the store, but unfortunately the poor ones are inevitably to use poor quality food of the jail.
5-The store conditions: The prison shop status is not good at all and most of the items are offered several times the price of outside. Many prisoners’ needed groceries are not available at the store; it sells to the inmates all the poor quality expired goods that cannot be sold outside. It is for 2 weeks now that washing powder, slippers and more essential items are not available in the prison store.
6-Dealing with the prisoners: Officers show inhumane treatment toward the prisoners and even some beat and torture the prisoners for no reason. When a prisoner returns back from the leave or visiting his family, the officers sometimes hold the prisoner at the entrance door of the prison hall, tied hand and foot, under the pretext that he may bring drugs with him into the jail. This is another way of torturing and character assassination of the prisoners.
A group of political prisoners in the Central Prison of Zahedan
The above report was sent to the following organizations:
-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
-UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights-Amnesty International