In the southern province of Fars, for example, more than 7,000 prisoners are being held in 13 prisons with a total capacity of only 1,000 prisoners. Some of these are safe-houses run by the Revolutionary Guards and the Ministry of Intelligence (secret police). The overcrowding is such that there is not enough room for prisoners to lie down and sleep at the same time. They therefore have to take turns to sleep. In addition to physical and psychological torture, inmates are afflicted with contagious diseases and severe malnutrition.
In Fars province, hundreds of political prisoners, some of whom have been in jail for several years or who have been tortured severely, are held in a special wing of Adelabad Prison in Shiraz, known as Correction Center 9 (Andarzgah Noh). The wing is run by the Intelligence Ministry and has a separate section for male and female prisoners. The prisoners held in this wing are kept in complete isolation from other prisoners and no-one is informed of their fate. Some political prisoners are also held in the Intelligence Ministry's separate jail in Shiraz.
The state of other prisons in Fars Province, including those of Marvdasht, Darab, Nayriz, and Kazerun, is even worse than Adelabad. The stench of sewage in Kazerun Prison is so strong that even prison officials are reluctant to enter the premises.
Reports from Iran say there are similar problems in other provincial prisons, including those in Isfahan and Azerbaijan, and political prisoners in particular face a grave threat to their lives. Extreme pressures and degrading, inhumane treatment of prisoners have led to a series of protests by political prisoners in the past few months. Prison guards and torturers have brutally suppressed these protests, but protests have been continuing in Tabriz prison in recent weeks.
On June 16, Prisons Organization Director Assadollah Lajevardi told a press conference in Tehran that there were 138,000 prisoners in the country and that as a result of overcrowding, the government has even converted libraries, mosques and cultural clubs into prisons.
In a meeting this week with the heads of the regime's judiciary, outgoing president Hashemi Rafsanjani admitted that the country's prisons were in a state of turmoil, and emphasized "the need to make the state of the country's prisons more desirable."
National Council of Resistance President Massoud Rajavi issued a call today drawing the attention of international human rights organizations to the atrocious prison conditions in Iran and the appaling state of political prisoners. He called on the international community to put pressure on the mullahs' regime to allow international fact-finding missions to visit Iranian prisons.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
July 2, 1997