The Women’s Ward of Evin Prison is the place of detention for female political prisoners and the prisoners of conscience.
Located in the north of the Iranian capital, the notorious Evin Prison is a 40-hectare compound with several wards, one of which is the Women’s Ward.
The Women’s Ward of Evin Prison has two main halls. Hall no. 1 has three rooms. Room No. 1 holds 12 political prisoners, room no. 2 holds 10 political prisoners and room no. 3 holds 8 political prisoners.
Hall no. 2 was previously used to detain the wives and children of male convicts. These detainees were released upon the Judiciary’s ruling in March 2020 after the coronavirus outbreak.
Upon the insistence of political prisoners, Hall no. 2 was used for temporary isolation of female prisoners suspected of contracting the Covid-19 disease.
New arrivals and the quarantine ward
New arrivals are held for 14 days in Hall No. 2, or in a room in the administrative section of the quarantine ward, before being allowed into the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison.
This isolation, however, proves to be ineffective since the prison’s telephones located in the “sports club” and the prison’s store are commonly used by all prisoners and the quarantine is violated in practice.
Only the prisoners’ personal sense of responsibility in observing the hygiene protocols and social distancing, can save their lives.
Prisoners have to procure their own masks and gloves from the prison’s store; each mask or a pair of gloves are sold between 8,000 and 10,000 tomans to prisoners.
Detergents and disinfectants are rationed by prison authorities which is hardly sufficient and inmates have to buy their own detergents and disinfectants at prices much higher than the market price.
Prisoners not separated based on their crimes
The prisoners detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison are not separated by the category of their crimes. Women accused of common crimes are transferred to the Women’s Wards of Evin, instead of being detained in the general ward. These inmates are held for several days or several months. The situation gets really problematic when women addicted to narcotic drugs are transferred to this ward and deprived of access to their drugs.
Nutrition of female prisoners in Evin
Most of the detainees in the Women’s Ward of Evin have to buy their own food because of the low quality of food served by the prison kitchen.
The prison’s store sells its goods for prices several times the regular market price.
Medical treatment and healthcare
Even before the outbreak, prisoners had to pay their own medical expenses if visited in civic hospitals, but prison authorities systematically prevented their dispatch to hospitals and medical centers outside the prison.
If a prisoner managed to have a hospital visit, she would be quickly returned to prison without receiving adequate treatment.
Hospital visits have become even more difficult after the outbreak of Covid-19. The needed visits are done either very late or irregularly.
Sick prisoners also encounter various obstacles for going to the prison’s dispensary and specialist doctors rarely visit the women’s ward of Evin.
Court summons unaffected by the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has not cut down the number of summons issued for prisoners or civil activists. On the contrary, more people are being summoned to courts.
These political prisoners have refused to appear in court because the guards and soldiers who accompany the inmates to the court do not observe the sanitary protocols and do not wear masks or gloves.
Access to visitations and telephone calls
Female prisoners in the women’s ward of Evin Prison are basically allowed to make telephone calls only three times a week, on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays, and only for ten minutes.
The telephones are located in the “sports club.” Every inmate is allowed to save only five numbers on her telephone card.
During the 10-minute calls, a recording is played several times indicating that the call is being made from Evin Prison. This recording is very disturbing to little children, whose mothers are imprisoned, and mothers are stressed when talking to their children.
After the outbreak, all in person visitations were cancelled and the cabin visits are done only once a week on Sundays.
Authorities do not provide disinfectants for cabin visits to wipe the telephone receiver and the seats. So, families bring their own disinfectants.
The sports club
Most instruments and equipment in the so-called sports club of the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison
are worn out or out of order, and prison authorities have not taken any measures to repair them.
During the pandemic, there have been no sanitary protocols, so if inmates use the equipment, they would risk infection. If they don’t, they would be deprived of the minimum physical fitness they need in the prison’s closed environment.