On Saturday, September 16, 2023, at noon, Khamenei’s mercenaries launched a violent attack, opening fire on defenseless women detained in Qarchak Prison. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) reported that this harrowing incident resulted in at least 20 inmates being wounded.
These incarcerated women held in an all-female prison, had gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and to protest against the inhuman conditions prevailing within the prison. Tragically, their peaceful demands were met with a vicious and unprovoked raid by prison guards. The guards callously fired pellet guns at the protesting women, leading to the injury of at least 20 individuals, while a significant number of prisoners suffered harm due to the blows inflicted by the guards.
In the wake of this horrific attack, numerous inmates were subjected to beatings, forcibly removed from the general ward, and placed in solitary confinement. The situation escalated to the point where parts of the prison caught fire, subsequently spreading to several other wards.
It is crucial to note that Qarchak Prison is situated in an isolated area, rendering it extremely challenging for incarcerated women to reach out for help. Eyewitnesses have reported observing smoke billowing from the prison grounds, accompanied by the ominous echoes of gunshots within its confines. The severing of phone lines has compounded the situation, leaving the public uninformed and in the dark regarding the specifics of these alarming incidents.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, unequivocally condemned this merciless raid on the imprisoned women at Qarchak Prison. She urgently appealed to international bodies, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, and all authorities dedicated to the protection of women’s and human rights. Mrs. Rajavi implored them to take immediate action to save the lives of the women detained in Qarchak Prison. Furthermore, she stressed the pressing need for an international fact-finding mission to visit Iranian prisons, particularly those housing female and political prisoners.
The notorious Qarchak Prison in Varamin is the only all-women prison in Iran used for the detention of women convicted of violent offenses and as an internal exile for female political prisoners. There is no separation of crimes in this prison and political prisoners are held along with common prisoners and dangerous criminals. In one word, the conditions of inmates in Qarchak Prison are abysmal.
Also known as Shahr-e Ray Prison, Qarchak Prison is a disused industrial chicken farm in a desert area of eastern Tehran, falling far below international standards. Some 2,000 prisoners are held in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without access to drinkable water, decent food, medicine, and fresh air.
Common complaints include urine-stained floors, lack of ventilation, insufficient and filthy bathroom facilities, the prevalence of contagious diseases, poor quality food containing small pieces of stone, and salty water.