Incarcerated women experience growing pressure as the clerical regime fears imminent downfall
The mullahs’ fear and desperation over the eruption of people’s discontent and the danger of being overthrown knows no bounds. The regime wants to deal with Ebrahim Raisi’s failure to contain daily protests by more executions and bringing more pressure on political prisoners, both men and women.
Exerting pressure, imposing restrictions, repression, torture, and physical and mental harassment of prisoners, especially incarcerated women, are common in the clerical regime’s jails. Such pressure and repression have brutally increased during Raisi’s tenure.
Torturing political prisoners to death is also a known method of the mullahs’ regime. The deaths of incarcerated women, the re-emergence of the Coronavirus and the surge in the number of infected inmates in the women’s ward of Evin prison, the torture and beating of incarcerated women, and dozens of examples of denial of medical treatment and prohibition of visits are some of the daily news about prisoners.
The United Nations and all human rights defenders should form and send an international delegation to visit the Iranian regime’s prisons and talk to the prisoners, especially the political prisoners. They should take immediate action to save the lives of the death-row prisoners, sick prisoners, and those under torture.
The beating of political prisoners
Female political prisoners were often beaten and brutalized over the past month. In all the circumstances, prison authorities were involved either directly or by hiring dangerous criminals to do the beating on their behalf.
Retired teacher, Massoumeh Asgari
A group of hired prisoners nearly killed Massoumeh Asgari in Kachouii Prison on August 16, 2022.
The prison warden had hired the female group of attackers to assault Ms. Asgari. They attempted to strangle and kill her by grabbing her throat.
Massoumeh Asgari was beaten so severely that she became unconscious. Other political prisoners could barely pull her away from her attackers to rescue her.
None of the prison guards and officials who witnessed the scene intervened to save the political prisoner’s life. The assailants told the other political prisoners that they would kill Massoumeh.
Massoumeh Asgari suffers from various illnesses and takes 20 pills every day. She was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” because she participated in the protest gatherings of teachers and retirees.
Political prisoner Khadijeh Mehdipour
Khadijeh Mehdipour, a 34-year-old political prisoner, was beaten and attacked by prisoners convicted of violent crimes.
Prison authorities then banned her from making phone calls immediately after the incident. Khadijeh Mehdipour has not had any contact with her family in the past week. Ilam Prison’s authorities have banned her from family contacts as a punishment for the alleged charge of blasphemy.
Beating and harassing Ms. Mehdipour was instigated and planned by the Ilam Prison authorities. Their hirelings barred Khadijeh from entering her ward at night, forcing her to spend the night in the prison’s library.
Political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared
Political prisoner Maryam Akbari-Monfared was beaten by Hosseinipour, Chief of Semnan Prison’s Visitation Hall, on August 24, 2022.
Kordi, the deputy Warden of Semnan Prison, disrespectfully rejected visitation for Mrs. Akbari’s two daughters. He refused them the right to visit their mother as they were not wearing a Chador (a head-to-toe cloth covering the entire body leaving the face free). Kordi also intended to return Mrs. Akbari to her ward.
When Mrs. Akbari objected to her daughters having to wear the prison’s contaminated chadors and resisted returning to the ward, Hosseinipour grabbed her by the throat and beat her.
Finally, given Maryam’s strong resistance, Kordi allowed her to have a visit with her two daughters.
Subsequently, on August 30, 2022, Semnan Prison authorities informed Mrs. Akbari that she would be deprived of visitations for three months.
Maryam Akbari Monfared is serving the 13th year of her 15-year time in prison for seeking justice for her sister and three brothers executed by the clerical regime in 1981, 1984, and 1988. According to the clerical regime’s laws, she must have been released after ten years. Nevertheless, she continues to remain in detention.
Soada Khadirzadeh, an IRGC hostage
Soada Khadirzadeh is yet another incarcerated woman detained under tremendous pressure in the Central Prison of Urmia. She recently gave birth to a baby girl in prison.
Due to the Intelligence Ministry’s pressures to extract false confessions from her, Mrs. Khadirzadeh is in dire psychological and physical conditions. On August 18, 2022, she committed suicide by hanging herself.
In an audio recording she sent from prison, Soada Khadirzadeh said she had committed suicide several times.
Soada Khadirzadeh’s trial was held online on August 24. Morad Pirotinia, a plaintiff, threatened to kill Mrs. Khadirzadeh if she was released from prison. Khezr Pirotinia, his father, was a member of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), murdered by an unknown person on October 5, 2021.
The head of the Justice Department of Mahabad refuses to accept bail for Mrs. Khadirzadeh’s release. Her family has provided 3 billion Tomans of bail for conditional release. The Judiciary officials, however, have delayed her freedom under various pretests.
Soada Khadirzadeh was abruptly moved from the women’s ward of Urmia Prison on August 25, 2022, and taken to an undisclosed location. Her 2-month-old baby daughter is now being cared for by several inmates. Mrs. Khadirzadeh had already declared that she was a hostage in the hands of the IRGC.
Incarcerated women, Sahar and Tina, tied to the bed for 24 hours
A prisoner named Sahar F. was tied to the bed in the dispensary of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad for 24 hours, along with her 12-year-old daughter, Tina Gh. Their hands and feet were cuffed to the bed.
Sahar and Tina were tied to the bed for arguing with agents of the women’s ward of Vakilabad Prison (the Central Prison of Mashhad) on August 3, 2022. On the order of prison authorities, they were tied to the bed for 24 hours as punishment.
The mother and daughter were returned to the women’s ward of Vakilabad Prison on the evening of August 4.
Incarcerated women die in prison
Azam Pakdel, 40, died in the women’s ward of Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad on July 24, 2022, due to a lack of medical attention. She had stomach cancer. Despite the doctor’s emphasis on chemotherapy, the prison authorities did not take any action regarding the prisoner’s treatment.
Azam Pakdel was taken to the prison’s dispensary on Saturday night, July 23, in critical condition. But she was examined as an outpatient and returned to the ward. She finally lost her life after much suffering.
Another round of Covid-19 outbreaks in the women’s ward of Evin Prison
The news from Evin Prison indicates the re-emergence of the Coronavirus in the women’s ward. As a result, the number of infected prisoners is on the rise.
The daily increase in the number of prisoners has worsened the situation these days during the Covid-19 contagion. At the same time, some of the incarcerated women serving their sentences have lung and heart diseases.
The prison authorities’ disregard for the health and lives of prisoners in Evin, Qarchak, and other prisons is a matter of history. However, such pressures surged when Raisi took office.
On the order of the director general of prisons in Tehran province, all the female political prisoners in Qarchak Prison were transferred to the Hall No. 2 of the women’s ward of Evin Prison on July 20. The hall was previously used as a special quarantine for Covid patients. With the arrival of new prisoners, there is no longer a place for quarantine, and people are sent directly to the general ward. The transfer of prisoners took place at a time when tuberculosis had spread in Qarchak Prison.
These imprisoned women do not have access to any medical treatment and care. Prison authorities and guards do not give them any medicine and even prevent the delivery of medications provided by families.
For example, Asal Mohammadi and Samin Ehsani were kept in an empty room for an entire night. The door was locked, and the guards did not bother to check on them during the night. The incarcerated women were so weak they could not reach the water tab independently. When the two sick prisoners complained, the guards answered, “We are not nurses!”
Recently, 16 female political prisoners protested against the spread of the Coronavirus and the lack of access to proper health and treatment facilities. They wrote a statement in which they opposed the increase in the number of infected people, the sudden increase in the number of prisoners, and the lack of suitable space for isolation and quarantine. The statement said the total population of the women’s ward of Evin prison is 60 people. Although some are on vacation, the population density is high.
An informed source also reported the problems of detainees in the women’s ward of Evin prison. In this report, the lack of sufficient space for resting, studying, lack of hygiene and detergents, and problems in the field of food are pointed out.
Political prisoners have been denied face-to-face visits due to the Coronavirus and are limited to cabin visits. The windows of meeting cabins are filthy and full of rods. These bars were previously made for dangerous prisoners, and political prisoners used the section without bars. Most of the meeting room phones are broken. Prisoners cannot see the faces of their families or hear their voices properly.
Incarcerated women face many problems, such as limited phone time, denial of phone calls on weekends, lack of enough space to rest and study, lack of hygiene and detergents, problems with food, etc.
The women’s ward of Khoy prison
The women’s ward of Khoy Prison also has deplorable conditions. Inmates in this prison suffer from hunger. Red meat is not included in the prisoners’ diet. Poultry is rarely used in food; one chicken is the food quota of 38 prisoners.
The women’s ward of Khoy Prison is located next to the facility building and the labor ward. This place is in a very abnormal situation, and there is no news about it.
The women’s ward of Amol Prison
The person in charge of cultural affairs in the Prison of Amol prevented the delivery of books to one of the death row prisoners in the women’s ward in this prison.
Former political prisoner Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee who spent part of her prison time in Amol Prison, published a post on her account. She wrote: The authorities in the Prison of Amol prevented the delivery of 10 volumes of books, including novels and psychology books, to a death row prisoner in the women’s ward in this prison. The guards in Amol Prison have a long record in harassment of female prisoners.”
Sick prisoners and incarcerated women deprived of treatment
Many ill prisoners are deprived of treatment and denied care. Most of them are still locked up in prison despite the forensics’ confirmation that they cannot tolerate prison conditions.
The need for sick political prisoners to be sent to the hospital has become a means of mental and physical torture and humiliation by prison officers and authorities. Also, in many cases, after sending the patient to the hospital, the treatment procedures are left unfinished on the pretext of changing the shift and other fake excuses. Even if the patient needs hospitalization, they return him to prison.
Political prisoner Farangis Mazloum
The political prisoner Farangis Mazloum suffers from heart disease while imprisoned in Evin. She once underwent cardiac angiography. She had to be hospitalized for 24 hours under the supervision of a doctor. Nevertheless, she was returned to Evin prison the same night.
Again, on August 21, 2022, she was transferred to Taleghani Hospital due to heartburn. According to the doctor, Mrs. Mazloum should have been admitted to the hospital. But due to the lack of signature of the prosecutor, she was returned to prison.
According to the diagnosis of Forensics Medicine, Farangis Mazloum, the mother of former political prisoner Sohail Arabi, should undergo a series of medical care during her time in jail. But there are no such facilities and treatment available in Evin prison. The prison authorities should refuse to accept her in prison.
On August 2, 2022, the Ministry of Intelligence agents took Mrs. Mazloum to Evin prison despite her severe physical condition, heart problems, stroke, and severe leg pain that required surgery. Farangis Mazloum was one of the incarcerated women who contracted the disease during the resurgence of the Coronavirus in Evin.
Political prisoner Golareh Abbasi
Political prisoner Golareh Abbasi is confined in Evin Prison while suffering from various health problems, including Lumbar disc, Arthritis, and Spinal stenosis. Golareh Abbasi, 46, is her family’s sole breadwinner. She is serving a sentence of 2 years and six months.
Even though doctors have emphasized that she cannot tolerate being in prison, Golareh Abbasi has been deprived of medical treatment or a medical furlough.
Political prisoner Monireh Arabshahi
Monireh Arabshahi, a political prisoner detained in the Kachouii prison of Karaj, has to go to the hospital every ten days for tests related to her illness. However, the authorities of Kachouii prison only allow this to be done once a month, contrary to medical orders.
Also, for more than a year, the prosecutor’s office has not agreed to the leave request of Monireh Arabshahi and her daughter Yasaman Aryani. Without observing the principle of separation of crimes, they are held in Ward 4 of Kachouii prison in Karaj.
Political prisoner Samaneh Saeedi
Political prisoner Samaneh Saeedi, 39, has been detained in Evin Prison since 2020. Unable to endure prison conditions, Ms. Saeedi has been held in a difficult situation. The Revolutionary Guards Corps Intelligence prevents Samaneh’s release and medical leave.
The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Samaneh Saeedi to 5 years in prison on charges including “blasphemy” and “assembly and collusion against the state.” Born in 1982, Samaneh Saeedi is human rights activist from Mazandaran Province, northern Iran.
Political prisoner Zohreh Sarv
Political prisoner Zohreh Sarv has contracted an infectious disease in Evin Prison and has been denied access to medical care and the right to treatment. Due to the spread of the disease in her body, she cannot even inject a third dose of the Coronavirus vaccine. She will lose her life if she is also infected with the Coronavirus. On August 27, 2022, the Evin Prison authorities prevented her transfer to the hospital despite having an appointment.
Born in 1986, political prisoner Zohreh Sarv is an online activist who was arrested and detained in October 2021. She was imprisoned in Evin after completing her interrogations.
Elderly prisoner Narmin Ahmadabadi, 61, is denied the right to be sent on leave. This female prisoner has been incarcerated in the women’s ward of Urmia Central Prison since five months ago. She has been sentenced to 5 years in prison on charges of cooperation with Kurdish parties.
Student activist Leila Hosseinzadeh
Political prisoner Leila Hosseinzadeh was arrested thirdly by security forces in Tehran on August 20, 2022, and is presently detained in the detention center of the Department of Intelligence of Shiraz. Ms. Hosseinzadeh suffers from the incurable Chron disease.
Security forces beat and arrested Leila Hosseinzadeh outside her home. She had been released on bail from Shiraz Adelabad Prison on January 2, 2022, as she was not physically capable of tolerating detention. She must constantly be under a doctor’s supervision. In prison, however, she does not receive her essential medications and is deprived of medical treatment and care.
Political prisoner Forough Taghipour
Political prisoner Forough Taghipour was not sent to the hospital on August 30, 2022, as she opposed being hand and foot cuffed during her transfer.
She was supposed to be sent to the hospital due to her poor physical and GI condition. But she disagreed with being handcuffed and shackled. For this reason, the Evin prison authorities wasted several hours during which they harassed her, finally preventing her from going to the hospital and returning her to the prison ward.
Born on May 10, 1994, Forough Taghipour graduated in accounting with a bachelor’s degree.
Ms. Taghipour and her mother were arrested on February 24, 2020. She was detained in Ward 209 of Evin Prison and underwent interrogation under torture.
On January 5, 2021, Tehran’s Revolutionary Court tried Forough Taghipour and her mother on charges of “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion” through membership in the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The blinding of a woman
The state-run Hamshahri newspaper wrote on August 1, 2022, that a woman and two men would be blinded.
The Supreme Court of Kermanshah Province upheld the blinding verdict for a young woman. Since it is impossible to carry out the sentence in Kermanshah, the third branch of the Implementation of Verdicts Unit of Tehran’s Criminal Prosecutor’s Office will do it.
This is not the first time the mullahs’ regime has issued inhuman sentences. Cruel and inhumane punishments are institutionalized in the regime’s laws.
Articles 269 to 293 of the third book of the Islamic Penal Code describe all the conditions of retribution.
In May 2020, the fifth branch of the Razavi Khorasan Province’s Criminal Court sentenced a woman to the blinding of both eyes. The victim was a 30-year-old woman, identified only as FM.