Monday, April 6, 2015 8:17:26 AM
An exclusive interview with Shiva Ganji an Iranian women rights activists who lives in Turkey since 2013.
Gharchak prison is one of the prisons in Iran to hold especially female prisoners with general crimes. The prison is located in the eastern deserts nearby the capital city of Iran that its geographical location of the prison caused difficult conditions of prisoners to visit their loved ones.
The prison is reportedly held the criminal prisoners including murders, armed robbers and drug traffickers which is estimated more than 1.200 inmates.
Some of women political prisoners including Atena Faraghdani, Hakimeh Shokri, Roya Saberinejad, Ghonche Ghavami, Shabnam Madadzadeh, Negar Haeri … had been exiled to the prison to bear more pressure after excruciating life among criminal prisoners they have undergone.
“It is a prison after all. It is not a five-star hotel. My wife says it would have been better if she was sent to Evin. But I don’t think so. Of course, I hope that Evin would be better than Gharchak Prison as I have seen it” as Marzieh Vafamehr, an Iranian filmmaker and actress, told her husband Nasser Taghvai has acknowledged the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“Prisoners of Conscience Will Not Be Transferred to Gharchak Prison, Says Sotoudeh’s Husband Reza Khandan to the campaign.”
The report has mentioned excruciating life of prisoners in Gharchak prison which has been hidden from the perspective of Human Rights activists.
Gharchak prison was originally a chicken farm, then turned into a drug rehabilitation center nearly 4 years ago. In April of 2011 transfer of female prisoners from Rajai Shahr and notorious Evin prison had been begun.
The prison consistent of ten halls build to hold prisoners which divided into two parts; the jail where monitoring by the Bureau of Prisons and counseling in the prison.
The prison section included four wards which known as hall as the worst part of the prison.
First hall of the section is placed the prisoners who are convicted to long term imprisonment which estimated more than 15 years due to drug-related crimes.
The second one is occupied by short term imprisonment of the prisoners who are suspended by the tribunal of the regime in no date for trial. “They are generally sentenced to prison less than 15 years” Shiva Ganji said.
The third one is especially for the criminals who have been convicted on the charge of murder, robbery, brothels operating, fraud, forging and adultery.
The fourth hall which is known suspension section for the inmates are suspended, and they have not been still sentenced. The hall is the worst one in the prison hold the inmates who came lately. The number of the inmates are nearly 260-270 that 90% of them are addicted. However, there are no more than 90 bed what led them to sleep on the ground.
Shiva had answered smoking and self-harm is not illegal in the halls when I asked her about the condition in the sections.
She added that the other halls are for consultation which chaired by Mohammad-Baqer qalibaf the mayor of the capital of Iran.
The women rights activist has expressed that the fifth hall is also used to keep the prisoners in suspension, although, there are significant differences as hygiene and cleanness. The prisoners are divided with the others due to their appropriate behavior affirmed by prison officials.
The sixth and seventh halls are motley hold the definitive convicts in the short term imprisonment.
The eighth one known “Mothers Ward” including ten pregnant women and 20 children who are not more than three-years-old living with their mothers. The children are fed with rice milk two times per week, on every Thursday both mothers and children are given a Danish Pastries.
Two other halls are holding the prisoners who sentenced to death on execution row including 63 inmates on the charge of murder.
All the halls are covered with poor carpet that inmates suffer the colors. Fourteen rooms form the halls which divided by bed-seated, whereas, 12 inmates are kept in a room with four three-floor bed seated, so that, there is no place to seat or to eat.
The prison has not water piping as Shiva said. Water is sterilized by a very high percentage chlorine which causes the loss of color when the inmates wash their clothes. 90% of the prisoners cannot buy mineral water due to poor financial.
There are only 12 unclean toilets for all halls; moreover, the consultation hall including 70 inmates have just four bathrooms.
“Unfortunately the nutritional condition is indescribable as the prisoners have frequently expressed concern about quality and time of the feeding division.” Shiva has mentioned about the lack of vitamins and protein in food, however, noted the food dilemma both quality-quantity as uncooked beans, no dairy, etc.
The inmates have frequently seen “cockroaches” in food which is informed from many prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
But it is not the end of the hardness of the prisoners in Ghrachak; drug dealing is the other tragedy which shocks Human Rights activists when the reports disclosed by Shiva Ganji.
Crystal Meth is used by some of the prisoners which led them sleeplessness and nervous cause the interior clashes between them that officials have blind their eyes to the events have done in the prison.
Unaccountable H.I.V and Hepatitis statistics in the prison have increased concern among the reports which received by Human Rights activists. This makes the prison situation even more unbearable.
Rape is the other norm in the prison is suffered by the feeble inmates, however, the officials have blinded their eyes on the misfortune. The head of the gang leads the rabble prisoners to stuck the victims to rape at midnight.
The prisoners who are on death row use sedative pills which led them to sleep all day in the first hall of consultation that known “the hall of the dead” as Shiva said.
The prison clinic is weak for medical treatment and moreover, the prisoners have to wait on the row for dentist and ophthalmologist more than three months on their own coast.
Gharchak prison never has appropriate temperature both winter-summer due to no heater and air-condition available there.
Many reports have been received from prisons throughout Iran about the lack of health care facilities, clean water, poor nutrition, and sanitation.
These reports have been received from Karoon, Adel Abad, Bandar Abbas, Vakil Abad and many other prisons in Iran.
By: Kaveh Taheri