By Jubin Katiraie
Some 20 inmates at Urmia Central Prison, northwestern Iran, have attempted suicide in just two weeks due to the horrific conditions they are subjected to in prison.
An informed source said: “[Inmates] cannot tolerate prison conditions. In response to the prisoners’ protests, prison authorities give out psychedelic pills. After a few days of using these pills, the inmates lose mental control and try to commit suicide. The latest case was a prisoner from the minors’ section who broke a window and tried to eat the shattered glass to kill himself. He is in critical condition.”
They said that most of the inmates who are in an unstable mental state are in Section 14 and the “Consultation” section.
Prior to this recent spate of attempted suicides, Farzin Nouri and Hadi Rostami attempted suicide with poison on June 30, and in May, Mohammad Ghaderi attempted suicide to escape torture by the Intelligence agents.
The conditions are awful, unhygienic, and with no separation of prisoners based on crime.
In related news, an increased number of inmates and a severe lack of hygienic conditions at Sheiban prison of Ahvaz, southwest Iran, had led to a jump in the number of prisoners contracting the coronavirus over recent months.
After riots at Sheiban and fellow Ahvaz prison, Sepidar, in March over the lack of response by prison authorities to the coronavirus, which should have seen lower prisoner numbers and increased hygiene, the regime transferred most of the inmates at Sepidar – including all political prisoners, death row inmates, and those sentenced to less than five years – to Sheiban prison.
One source said that the number of political prisoners on ward 5 tripled from 100 to 300 in just one month with the numbers rising daily, even though the ward has just 100 beds, which means that the majority of prisoners are forced to sleep on the dirty floor, in corridors, and in front of toilets and showers.
Additionally, due to limited space, over 60 people are forced to sleep in a 25-square-meter room, which the source said means that the people are forced to sleep in cramped conditions, unable to move until the morning.
All this means that a large number of prisoners are already infected with coronavirus and prison officials are preventing reports from leaking to the outside world.
In July, Amnesty International reported that Iran’s prisons are “catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks” and that the regime has ignored repeated requests from prison officials about resources that are aimed at stopping the spread of the disease or treating prisoners who are sick. This included things like bleach, personal protective equipment, soap, and medical devices, but the regime never even responded to the letters, let alone provided any of the needed equipment.