Female political prisoners are victims of torture in Iran
The United Nations declared June 26 the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This day marks the moment in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect.
In 1997, the UN General Assembly implemented the convention and declared June 26 a day of support for torture victims. On this international day, we will examine the situation of women political prisoners, who are among the most oppressed victims of torture in Iran.
Under the mullahs’ rule, these women have constantly been subjected to severe pressure and harassment. They are victims of this dire, painful condition. The brutal torture of imprisoned women is a major disgrace in the record of the mullahs’ dictatorship.
More than 45 types of torture practiced against political prisoners in Iran
The Iranian regime uses more than 45 types of torture against political prisoners.
Since the 1980s, flogging, beating, suspension from the ceiling, burning, insertion of sharp objects (including hot metal objects) into the body, nail-pulling, rape, eye-gouging, amputation, and mock executions have been standard practices.
Pressure and torture on women in prisons have always been accompanied by double brutality and severity. Examples include raping women in front of their husbands and torturing and shooting pregnant women.
Another tactic the regime uses against victims of torture in Iran, especially women, is to detain them on remand. Detaining prisoners on remand is a common practice in Iranian jails to torture prisoners. Since prisoners cannot access anyone while they have not stood trial, prison authorities and interrogators can do whatever they want. In addition, the isolation of the prisoner creates a disturbing psychological situation for her.
Female prisoners are routinely insulted, humiliated, and threatened with rape. All these tactics are clear examples of torture against imprisoned women in Iran.
Denying medical treatment and medicine, poor hygiene, and lack of ventilation
Denying treatment and medicine and deteriorating health conditions are clear examples of commonly used torture tactics in Iranian prisons. The mullahs’ regime uses these tactics to put constant pressure on prisoners.
Overcrowding of prisoners
During the mullahs’ 43-year rule, a strategy pursued by the Prisons Organization and the Judiciary has been the deliberate overcrowding of prisons to drive additional physical and psychological torture and terrorize the society.
At Qarchak Prison in Varamin, as many as sixty prisoners are held in the tiny quarantine ward. The Iranian Resistance leaked 100 documentary photographs of prisons in 23 provinces under the supervision of the Judiciary. The photos offer additional proof of prisoners’ deplorable conditions.
The horrific conditions of women victims of torture in Iran
One of the victims of torture in Iran is Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner who has been in captivity since 2007 without a single day of parole.
Zeinab Jalalian has been under extreme physical and mental pressure for the past 15 years. She has been subjected to flogging, and her forehead was fractured when it was banged against a wall. She was threatened with rape and forced to make false confessions. To add to these forms of torture, prison officials kept Zeinab in solitary confinement for months.
Zeinab suffers from various diseases, including asthma, pterygium, thrush, and gastrointestinal discomfort. She also contracted the Coronavirus and was never treated for it.
The Ministry of Intelligence has agreed to allow Zeinab to seek medical treatment outside prison, provided she expresses regret, cooperates with the Ministry of Intelligence, and appears in television interviews.
The Jalalian family is extremely concerned about Zainab’s condition. According to a reliable source, on January 12, 2022, Zeinab Jalalian was denied the right to contact her family despite her physical and mental condition. She has been held incommunicado for 530 days, and no information about her well-being is available.
Maryam Akbari Monfared
Maryam Akbari-Monfared’s siblings forcibly disappeared and were secretly executed extra-judicially, in 1980 and 1988. Though she is the mother of three grown girls, Maryam has been imprisoned for 13 years without a day’s leave.
The regime’s laws state that she will be released after serving two-thirds of her 15-year sentence. However, the Ministry of Intelligence continues to prevent her release and impose harsher conditions on this political prisoner.
Maryam has been in exile in Semnan prison since March 2020.
Maryam suffers from fatty liver disease. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Intelligence has prohibited her from seeing a doctor outside prison. Maryam, one of the victims of torture in Iran, was prescribed special food by the prison doctor, yet she has received nothing but neglect during the 1.5 years. Mrs. Akbari’s physical condition has deteriorated significantly due to the lack of proper nutrition and access to treatment.
Earlier, when she was held in Evin Prison, Mrs. Akbari was prevented from visiting a doctor and was denied her medication.
Leila Chegini, a 43-year-old political prisoner and mother of two, has been continuously tortured and beaten at Nowshahr Prison.
Intelligence agents arrested Leila Chegini in Karaj on March 16, 2022, and transferred her to the Department of Intelligence of Sari, the capital of Mazandaran Province in northern Iran.
Leila was tortured and interrogated there for 20 days and subsequently transferred to Nowshahr Prison, where she had been detained in limbo.
She sustained injuries to her eye, face, and back. She did not receive any care, and no investigation was carried out.
An informed source reported, “Her legs are very swollen and bruised, and she can hardly walk.” Leila has not been given any medication; instead, prison officials are giving her dangerous, addictive drugs.
Soada Khadirzadeh, married and the mother of two, is another one of the victims of torture in Iran. She was 1 month pregnant at the time of her arrest. She has spent more than 8 months in prison, yet the reason for her arrest remains unclear.
She suffers from severe lumbar disc pain and heart disease. Although her health condition is severe, authorities at the Central Prison of Urmia have denied her request for temporary release.
In an audio file, Soada described her situation, stating, “During the first days of my arrest in the intelligence detention center, I was under severe psychological torture. I was disrespected and insulted many times. They even assaulted me sexually.”
Naqshin (Shelir) Ahmadi is from Ghezelghopi village in Mahabad.
On March 16, 2022, Shelir Ahmadi was summoned by the Intelligence Office in Naqadeh, where she was beaten in front of her husband. After her arrest, she was severely tortured at the detention center.
In March 2022, she was supposed to undergo chemotherapy due to her illness, but she was denied access to any medical treatment. Her health is now seriously endangered. She was released from the women’s ward in the Central Prison of Urmia on June 8, 2022.
Fatemeh Mosanna, another one of the victims of torture in Iran, remains in critical condition in Evin Prison despite receiving a formal report from the forensic doctor.
The 53-year-old political prisoner suffers from an intestinal infection and cannot tolerate the prison’s harsh conditions. In addition to ulcerative colitis, Fatemeh Mosanna has endured poor nutritional conditions, nervous tension, and liver problems due to her long years in prison.
Fatemeh’s doctor had previously stated that she should not be under stress, yet she was taken to the hospital repeatedly due to severe pain and high fever. Nevertheless, she was returned to prison every time and did not receive treatment.
On April 3, 2022, Fatemeh was again returned to Evin prison without receiving her complete treatment under the orders of Amin Vaziri, a prison official.
Zahra Safaei, one of the victims of torture in Iran
She is also one of the victims of torture in Iran. On August 31, 2021, Zahra had a heart attack. Her health condition does not allow her to stay in prison. But not only is she not being released on bail, but she is also not receiving any treatments.
Mrs. Safaei was banned from being sent to the hospital on April 12, 2022.
The authorities told her that she could not go to the hospital unless her hands and feet were cuffed, which she refused to accept. The prison authorities, therefore, prevented her from going to the hospital.
Zahra Safaei has done angiography and a balloon has been placed for her due to the closure of two arteries, so preventing her treatment endangers her life.
Khadijeh Mehdipour is a 34-year-old political prisoner from Ivangharb. IRGC intelligence agents arrested her on October 10, 2021.
Although she has developed coronary heart disease in prison, she has been deprived of medical care and is suffering from symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and sore throat.
She has severe digestive problems and suffers from nausea when taking food or even water.
She has lost 8 kilograms in the last two months.
Due to her health condition, she needs to be further examined in Tehran for her gastrointestinal illness, but the prison’s prosecutor has opposed her transfer.
Nejat Anvar Hamidi
On the order of the Ministry of Intelligence, she is deprived of medical care and sick leave. Mrs. Anvar Hamidi has cataracts in both eyes and needs emergency surgery.
According to reports received from Iran on January 15, 2022, the prison doctor told Mrs. Hamidi, “You do not need surgery until you become blind!”
On May 1, 2022, Monireh Arabshahi, a civil activist and the mother of political prisoner Yasaman Aryani, was sent to Rajai Hospital in Karaj from Kachouii Prison due to her deteriorating physical condition.
An informed source said, “Mrs. Arabshahi must be monitored constantly by a doctor after surgery and thyroid drainage, and her hormone levels should be checked.”
Monireh was transferred to a civic medical center on June 14, 2022, due to a severe drop in calcium levels and local anesthesia in her body.
According to the doctors, after her thyroid surgery, she needs to be sent to a civic hospital once every 10 days for tests. Nevertheless, prison officials have hindered her dispatch to the hospital.
More than 579,000 female prisoners constantly exposed to torture
According to documents leaked by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the mullahs’ regime has imprisoned more than 12 million people in the last 40 years.
Of this number, 579,015 were women.
Of course, these statistics and names do not include female prisoners from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in the 1980s. They were victims of torture in Iran under the rule of religious tyranny.
Currently, 1,709 female prisoners are in a state of uncertainty and under investigation by the police security services and the Ministry of Intelligence.
On June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran urges all UN member states and all international bodies to support female political prisoners, who are clear examples of victims of torture in Iran.
The NCRI Women’s Committee calls for the dispatch of an international mission to Iran to visit the regime’s prisons and speak to prisoners, especially the women political prisoners.