Translation by Iran Press Watch
As reported by Bazdasht, quoted from Al-Arabiya, a group of political prisoners detained at Rajai Shahr prison, in a letter to Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council, protested the bad conditions in the prison and demanded an investigation. The prisoners complained about such things as a “shortage of medicine”, “the use of unqualified medical practitioners”, “lack of an operating room”, and “poor sanitation” in Rajai Shahr prison, in the village of Gohardasht in Karaj.They wrote: “basically, and in the clinic as well, there are no sincere efforts to deliver any effective treatment.” Also, in cases where families of the prisoners are successful in acquiring a permit to transfer patients to a medical facility outside the prison, prisoners are “handcuffed and taken to hospital in a state of humiliation and disgrace, and are chained to the beds.”
Rajai Shahr political prisoners wrote in their letter about the spread of certain diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS in the prison, and say that “no effective treatment is ever provided for people with these diseases.”
They write that the Prison Health Service has no hot water or adequate lighting, and that the food provided by the prison for prisoners is so little that the prisoners are “always in a half-starved condition.”
The authors of the letter also mentioned a number of the prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison who, according to them, passed away due to the “poor medical treatment processes, and negligence and indifference by the health and prison officials”. These prisoners are Mohsen Dokmehchi, Shahrokh Zamani, Ali Reza Karami Kheyrabadi, Mansour Radpour, Afshin Osanloo and Mehdi Zaliyeh.
The full text of the letter by the Rajai-Shahr prisoners follows:
We, the political prisoners in Hall 12 – Hall 4 of Rajai Shahr prison, are in serious danger of harm from various diseases which can lead to slow death, due to the Prison Organization’s repeated violations of the terms and conditions specified in the Internal Rules and Guidelines of the prison, and their failure to honor the legal rights of prisoners:
1- According to Articles 102 and 103 of the Regulations and Guidelines for prisons, the provision and delivery of medical and hospital care, medical examination, and prescription fees is the responsibility of the prison; however, the shortage of drugs in this prison is a serious problem. In most cases, prisoners need for family members to pay for and provide medicines from outside the prison, and to send them inside the prison with a good deal of difficulty.
Lack of health care facilities and inadequate prison staff, as well as using unqualified medical doctors, cause many health and medical abuses and deaths: hence, patient safety is regularly put at risk.
The prison’s medical center lacks specialized nursing staff to such an extent that resident staff are incapable of even the simple administration of an IV injection, and physicians at the clinic are incapable of correctly diagnosing patients. There have been cases in which a bone fracture has been diagnosed as a blocked vessel or bruise.
This prison lacks an operating room. Since 2010 the operating room in the prison has been closed due to rumors about the sale of the entire prison; no action has been taken to reopen it.
The clinic’s public spaces are dirty and often contaminated with prisoners’ blood, spilled due to their injuries, and no attention is paid to cleanliness or to health essentials.
The first inclination of the Health authorities in dealing with sick prisoners is to ignore them; if the prisoner is in a very serious condition, at most an injection is used to relieve pain, but any attempt at actual treatment is nonexistent.
Families of prisoners often have no choice but to refer such cases to the Prosecutor, and with tremendous effort and struggle, enduring an obstructive bureaucracy, they must acquire a permit for their loved ones to be transferred to hospitals outside the prison; they must also pay all the expenses of medicines and treatment for the prisoner at their own personal cost.
In these cases, patients are “handcuffed and taken to hospital in a state of humiliation and disgrace, and chained to their hospital beds. There have been cases in which, although there was a permit for prisoner’s hospitalization, prison officials intervene and force the patient to return to prison after a simple examination at the hospital. There are a significant number of people with certain diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS in prison who never receive any effective treatment.
As a result of such poor and incomplete treatment methods and neglect, and the indifference of health and prison officials, in recent years we have lost many dear ones, including the late Mohsen Dokmehchi, Shahrokh Zamani, Ali Reza Karami Kheyrabadi, Mansour Radpour, Afshin Osanloo and Mehdi Zaliyeh, and so far no one has been held accountable for these atrocities.
2 – Article 108 of the Regulations and Guidelines for prisons has specified hot and cold water in the shower, sink and toilet as a necessity; unfortunately, however, there is no hot water, not only in bathrooms and toilets, but in many months of the year the bath water is also cold. Due to the aging and dilapidated prison buildings and the lack of necessary repairs, in some cases sewage from the upper levels overflows to the lower levels.
3- Regarding violations of Articles 93 and 95 of Regulation and Guidelines, which insists that prisoners’ daily food ‒ i.e., breakfast, lunch and dinner ‒ contain essential vitamins and sufficient calories, nevertheless it must be said that prison food is of very poor quality, both in terms of the quality of raw materials such as rice and soy (which are actually animal food) and in terms of the amount of food, which causes prisoners to always be in a half-starved condition. Also, there are times when the rotten ingredients in the food poisons prisoners. Also, because of a lack of hygiene in the prison kitchen, insects and zooplankton have repeatedly been observed in the food.
Needless to say, only prisoners who have the financial means can buy food at the prison store at high prices, to compensate for the food shortages.
4. Article 169 of the Prison Organization’s Regulations and Guidelines has banned desecration of prisoners, punishment and harsh treatment of prisoners, abuse, corporal punishment and so on. But the prison officials under the guise of physical inspection strip prisoners naked, and humiliate and insult them, and in the event that prisoners’ object or and resist, they are beaten. For example, one of our prison-mates, Ramadan Ahmad Kamal, has been in a coma for over a week due to a baton blow to his head by prison security personnel.
Unfortunately, there are no effective legal means to track and complain about these inhumane acts against prisoners. So far, Mr. Loghman Moradi, Ramadan Ahmad Kamal, Namegh Mahmoudi and many others who have been beaten, have not seen any action as a result of their complaints.
5. Article 70 and 71, which refer to requirements for assigning rooms to the accused, and also regulations on the classification and separation of inmates, emphasize that rooms must have a floor area of at least 10 square meters for each prisoner with sufficient light. Rooms in Rajai Shahr prison are purposely kept under 5 square meters; each houses 3 to 5 prisoners. Because windows have been blocked with bricks and sheet metal, rooms lack sufficient light and air circulation. These limitations are the main cause of skin and respiratory diseases.
6. Hall 12 has no telephone facilities. Our lack of access to the phone may be contrasted with prisoners who are incarcerated for murder, kidnapping and robbery, who have access to a telephone 24 hours a day, without any restrictions.
These limitations and shortcomings, deficiencies and lawlessness, and especially the lack of medical attention by prison health officials, has created a precarious situation for all prisoners, especially for the elderly and sick, such as Kareem Aziz Maaroof, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Farhad Eghbali, Omar Faghihpour, Asghar Ghattan, and Farhad Fahandezh.