Iran’s dire prison conditions are being highlighted in the media due to recently released reports of sexual harassment and critically poor sanitation.
The Jaras opposition website published a letter from detained journalist Mehdi Mahmoudian, who is serving a five-year sentence in Rejai Shahr Prison in Karaj.
Mahmoudian’s letter, addressed to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, says the rape of young men in Rejai Shahr Prison is “an accepted and common everyday matter” completely ignored by prison officials.
In his letter, which was written last September but has not been published until now, the jailed member of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front writes: “I do not know what fate is in store for me after I write this letter” but he goes on to stress that every word of it is true.
Mahmoudian’s journalistic investigations and reports were instrumental in uncovering the crimes committed in the notorious Kahrizak Prison in the summer of 2009, when at least three detainees were killed while being tortured. He also reported on the alleged mass burials of slain protesters. He has been detained since September of 2009.
Kaleme, another opposition website, also reported that the families of female inmates at Gharachak Prison in Varamin have written a letter to the “Islamic Human Rights Commission.” It describes the “human disaster” taking place at the prison. According to Kaleme, the letter details the beating of prisoners and the lack of adequate food and sanitary facilities.
“In this prison there are four lavatories for 600 women, which have to be used for all washing purposes from washing clothes and dishes to bathing,” they write. “In addition, they cut off the water at the prison most of the day.”
The treatment of Iranian prisoners in Iran has declined steeply since the 2009 protests against alleged vote fraud in the presidential elections and has been criticized by various international groups.
Islamic Republic authorities have refused to allow external inspection of their prisons.