By Pooya Stone
The Central Prison of Zahedan prison is referred to as a torture chamber.
The inmates of this prison are kept in very bad conditions and with problems such as low quality of food, deprivation of proper medical services, tasteful behavior of prison officials with prisoners, lack of heating and cooling equipment, deprivation of leave, deprivation of proper sleeping space. , Incompatibility of prison capacity with the number of prisoners, mistreatment of prisoners and non-payment of salaries commensurate with the working hours of prisoners in the employment sector.
For more than a week, the inmates at the prison have been denied any water after authorities cut the supply, and the lack of water is endangering their lives. The inmates were already being kept in horrible and unhygienic conditions, especially when you take into consideration the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak there and the rapid infection of prisoners, but now they are unable to bathe, wash their clothes and bedding, cook many foods, or even get a drink.
Here are some other reasons that the coronavirus has been allowed to spread so rapidly in the Central Prison of Zahedan:
- The prison is several times over-capacity, which means that inmates cannot observe socials distancing and keep two meters (six-foot) away from each other and that there are not enough beds, so inmates are forced to sleep on the floors, in the halls, and even in the bathrooms
- Prisoners are also not able to obtain basic cleaning supplies, like body soap or disinfectant, even when they offer to pay for them themselves
- Prisoners are being denied basic medical resources, like masks and gloves, even if their families buy it and drop it off for them
Several inmates have died because of coronavirus already, including Mostafa Kamali whose death in March was recorded as a drug overdose, with many more in critical condition at Bou Ali and Khatam hospitals in Zahedan. The longer the water remains shut off and other appropriate measures are not taken, the more people will die from this disease.
The inmates who have asked about the reason for the lengthy water cut-off have not received an answer.
In separate reports about the Central Prison of Zahedan, deputy warden Malek Jamshidi, who is also a senior official from the Intelligence Department in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, has created a mafia-style gang to distribute drugs to prisoners, as well as harass, threaten, and suppress political prisoners.
Of course, this is not the only Iranian prison where unhygienic conditions and a lack of medical care has resulted in the rapid spread of coronavirus. In the latest monthly report by the Iran Human Rights Monitor, they found that prisoners were especially vulnerable to coronavirus because of the negligence of the Iranian authorities.
They said that many prisoners had staged protests and riots over their abuse at the hands of the officials at this time, but that the officials had launched a horrific crackdown.