Female Prisons in Iran: Epicenter of Rape, Harassment and Disease

Women’s detention centers in Iran are often linked to rape, harassment, and sexual abuse, especially when they are detained on political charges or accused of opposing the Supreme Leader. In that case, the female detainees become commonly properties for the officers in prisons, according to Iranian rights activist Mariam Zada.

Many international human rights reports issued by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations condemned the Iranian authorities’ practices against women activists, confirming they were exposed to violent sexual abuse.

Hell Pit.. Torture Hallmark

Zada, the human rights activist talked about the so-called “Hell Pit” Qorchk prison, in which Iranian authorities hold Iranian female detainees accused of political charges and held in detention along with detainees who committed violent crimes, she said.

Zadq points out that rape in that detention is the main and traditional way of torture, asserting that rape is carried out with vengeance tendency by the prison administration, and that such operations are carried out with humiliation and violation of all human rights.

Zada asserts that the jailers rape detainees like animals, they rape to satisfy their repression. “The regime has carefully picked people who enjoy sexual repression, to torture the detainees,” she adds.

According to Amnesty International, a large proportion of Iranian female detainees do not talk about being raped, because they are afraid of being socially stigmatized and then they might be murdered. She indicated that only a few of them talk about their severe experiences after leaving Iran.

Life or Death.. Weak People Do Not Survive

Rape is only part of the torture in the hell pit, according to the former prisoner Fatima, who indicates that staying in that prison is a real life battle, not only with security or the prison administration, but with all the conditions of detainees, including the conflict between them.

Fatima says that the Iranian authorities have created that prison to be a war yard in which the weak die and only the strong remain. “Female prisoners of different charges are often kept in the same cells, where conflicts between them take place, especially that many of them have criminal charges and some suffer from psychological crises and problems,” she added.

The reason of conflict between prisoners is related to the lack of services and food provided by the prison administration. They are usually fighting for beds, quantity of food provided, or even toilets.

A report issued by human rights organizations revealed that about two thousand Iranian detainees are kept in the Hell Pit, including Sahar Tabar, popularly known as Zoumbi Angelina Jolie, who was released days ago.

Fatima said that more than half of the detainees are sleeping on the floor because of lack of beds, which caused them health problems in neck, bones and joints. She pointed out that getting a bed in the cell can cause a war between women prisoners.

Infants behind Bars and Spreading Diseases

In the prison there are many infants who suffer the miserable situation and experienced poor life before they learn how to speak, Fatima mentioned, adding that many detainees were detained with their children without taking into consideration their human situation.

Fatima also asserts that many children have suffered from incurable diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, and infections due to poor health conditions, hygiene, and sterilization.

Commenting on Fatima’s testimony, a human-rights activist, Zalmay Bahrazi, quoted a former jailer as saying: “All detainees in prison are death projects for the regime. Prison authorities are adopting long-term execution through illnesses and poor health conditions of the prisoners.”

Bahrazi explains that the prison was originally set up to be a burial place for Iranian opposition activists, noting that a former jailer had confirmed in an interview that the prison’s administration was deliberately damaging the sewage system and providing all conditions for spreading disease in order to force the detainees to choose between two options, either death or ill health condition which prevents her from carrying out any activities in case of her release.

Bahrazi pointed out that the only time sterilization was used in prison was with the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, fearing that the epidemic would spread to the jailers and the prison administration. He confirms that detergents, soap, shampoo, and others were prohibited in prison.

The Iranian authorities during the last few years launched several detention campaigns against Iranian female activists, against the background of their demands to grant more rights to the Iranian woman. Judicial authorities accused them of decay, dissension and insulting the Supreme Leader.

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