Prison guards beat female prisoners and used tear gas, firearms, and pepper spray during raids inside wards 1 and 2 of Qarchak Prison in Varamin on Thursday, February 7, 2019.
According to reports, the attack and beating of the female prisoners continued until Friday morning, February 8, 2019.
After the female prisoners in wards 1 and 2 of Qarchak (Shahr-e Ray) Prison of Varamin tried to raise awareness that one of the prisoners needed medical care, the security forces responded with violence, firing tear gas and pepper spray.
Prisoners set fire to their beds and bed sheets in order to neutralize the effects of the pepper spray and tear gas fired in the closed area. However, the prison authorities used a fire engine to extinguish the fire while women were still trapped in their ward. They subsequently cut off the electricity and gas inside the ward and let the prisoners remain in the cold weather after being drenched by the fire engine. Despite inhaling large amounts of pepper spray and tear gas, the prisoners were left unattended until the morning.
The attack continued until Friday, February 8, 2019, and the prison guards, who were all male, severely beat and injured the female prisoners.
According to reports by family members of the prisoners, during the attack female prisoners were severely beaten and injured and some were taken to the prison medical center. Smoke has covered the Qarchak Prison and the prison authorities have removed the benches and exercise equipment from ward 1 so the women would not be able to use them to defend themselves.
Another family said that the possessions of the female prisoners in wards 1 and 2 of Qarchak Prison were seized and they were severely beaten, with some of them being transferred to the medical facility.
Further reports indicate that prison officers have resorted to firearms to end the protest.
Responding to reports of the attack that began on Thursday, February 7, 2019, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther said, “The reports of the Iranian prison guards’ reckless and heavy-handed response to protests at Shahr-e-Rey prison are deeply alarming. Many prisoners were reported to have received hospital treatment for the effects of tear gas.
“Prison authorities must refrain from using unnecessary and excessive force against prisoners. Instead of carrying out violent raids against prisoners, they should be working to address the inhumane and squalid conditions at Shahr-e Rey prison”