Elham Ferdowsi, a college student in Economy, had spent the last two years in Gharchak Varamin Prison (southeast Tehran).
She says, “Without any investigation on charges against me, they put me in Gharchak Varamin prison. I was in the quarantine section for three days. Only one day after being taken to hall 3.
I was then transferred to solitary confinement. There was a horrifying stench there, everywhere was dirty. Three rooms with cement floors, without any restrooms, and not even any blankets. I thought they had painted the hallway, but I found out later that it was blood. It was horrifying. Believe me, until then I thought these things only existed in movies. But now I have seen it with my own eyes. I remained in solitary confinement for 24 days, without being able to take a shower even once. After 24 days I was not afraid of the mice anymore.”
Maryam Rabie, in prison for 17 years, says, “Four years ago many others and I were brought here from Evin Prison. I don’t know what I should name this place? Dungeon? Wreckage? Stable? Henhouse? This is not a place for human beings, it is hell…
Today is March 5, 2015, and I am sitting in a large warehouse with a very high ceiling. On the ward’s metal door they have written, “No one must touch the refrigerator” with an arrow pointing to a small refrigerator that doesn’t work 11 months of the year and belongs to 180 female prisoners.
I was 18 and I had been married for a year. I was arrested along with my husband for the crime of possessing antiques. Five years later my husband died in a car accident while on leave from prison. My old parents can come to see me once a year for only 15 minutes while a male and female agent are also in the room close by.
During these four years I don’t remember eating even 10 grams of meat or a spoon of rice without bugs in it! Or even some eggs or some fresh tea! There is no drinking water here, unless you buy it! I write plays and articles to make some money, I tell poems, draw paintings. What I receive each day is another 20 minutes on the phone. I sell that. My monthly salary adds up to around 600,000 rials (around $20). Now, should I buy water or food?
The floor of the restrooms is always covered a few millimeters of water coming from the toilets and sinks, and all the sandals are torn up.
Many of the prisoners are bald. Lice is rampant here, and since there is no medicine, the women must shave their heads.
Simin is sitting before me. She is 43 years old and has six children. She has been in prison for the past 14 years. Her eyes are red and puffed from crying so much. Last night she was yelling and crying, saying, “I want some bread and butter!!!”…