Mehr News Agency reported the closure of a care center for the disabled due signs of torture and mistreatment. The parents of a large number of the patients at the facility have lodged a complaint against the center and its director.
The report mentions beatings, shackles and the use of dogs on the mentally and/or physically disabled patients as forms of torture used, according to the parents of the disabled.
The report also published an anonymous photo obtained from Alborz province medical organization showing clear signs of beatings and cuts on the body of disabled patients in the center.
Ms. Safai, foster mother of one of the disabled named Ali, stated that she had noticed signs of beatings on her step son 2 years ago but had been unable to prove the incident until the Director of Social Welfare of Alborz Province viewed the center’s surveillance footage and saw evidence of patients being beaten and shackled to beds. The center was closed shortly after due this evidence.
Ms. Safai said that her stop son although disabled has good communication abilities and memory. He told her that one night the staff at the facility released a dog on him and while he was trying to escape his shoulder was dislocated. Ali also clearly communicated that the dog was a very large, white dog named Snow whose teeth Ali still remembers well as he was terrified at the time. Ali also stated that the workers did not dare shackle him but many others were shackled to beds tightly. He remembered that one night a nurse forgot to unlock the chains and the children hands were tied to the beds until noon the next day.
The report also states that in one instance an employee of the center sat on one of the disabled children and was trying to strangle him.
Parents of the children said that they had noticed bruises on their children's bodies in the past 4 years but they could not imagine that the marks were results of beatings by the staff.
The report referred to severe cuts on the abdomen of a mentally and physically disabled 20-year old male named Sina as “undeniable signs of torture" in the center.
Vahid Abdolhosseini, Sina's father, told Mehr News Agency that he had previously seen bite marks, cuts and bruises on his son’s body in the past few years.[ Sina went into a coma 4 days after the closure of the center].
Mr. Farzin, former director of the center claims that the center had reported 139 patients at the time of its closure but in fact the number was only 125, indicating that the statistics of the deaths of patients had not been reported. Mr. Farzin also stated that the center illegally charged 500 000 Tomans monthly for each patient instead of 370 000 Tomans that they are allowed to charge.
Ms. Mohammadi, a psychologist who worked at the center for one month told the Mehr news agency:” one time the center was under repairs. The beds were removed during the repairs and the children were forced to stand all day and at night they slept with great difficulty. I complained a lot but no one did anything so I resigned.”
At the same time, a staff member known as the “helper mother " said that the children are only fed bread soaked in water and none of the donated meat ever reaches the kitchen.
Social Welfare Organization officials have not yet responded to the Mehr news agency. Private facilities such as this are licensed by the welfare organization.
According to Iran’s State Social Welfare Organization, there are 11 centers for mentally disabled people under 14 years of age and 25 centers for patients over 14 presently operating. Some disability centers in Iran, however are ran as charities; 140 centers are listed as such.