On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, political prisoner Saeed Masouri, in a message from prison, addressed the horrifying and inhumane conditions of Qezel Hessar prison. He holds Hashem Hayat Al-Ghaib, the Director-General of Prisons in Tehran Province, and Ejei, the Chief of the Judiciary, responsible for this situation.
Saeed Masouri was arrested at the age of 35 and has been serving his prison sentence for 23 years without a single day of furlough.
Saeed Masouri and several others, including Loqman Aminpour, Afshin Baymani, Sepehr Emam Jomeh, Zartosht Ahmadiragheb, Mohammad Shafi’i, Saman Seyyedi (Yasin), Hamzeh Savari, Kamyar Fakour, Ahmadreza Haeri, Reza Salmanzadeh, Jafar Ebrahimi, and Masoud Reza Ebrahimi Nejad, went on a hunger strike in protest against their violent transfer from Evin Prison to Qezel Hessar Prison.
Here is a summary of the message from political prisoner Saeed Masouri:
After 23 years in prison, I believe I have witnessed and experienced the worst conditions and crimes of the government in prisons. Unaware that a black hole like Qezel Hessar existed. There is no minimum provision for nutrition, hygiene, medical care, or even a half-meter space to sit. They pack 15 to 16 people in a room of approximately 9 square meters. The prisoners have no right to even the slightest protest. There is no water, no food, and no decent human clothing. They give prisoners nothing, to the extent that even the prison staff forgo their own share of food and give it to the prisoners.
The Director-General of Prisons in Tehran Province, Heshmat Hayat Al-Ghaib, aims to eradicate the lives, dignity, and human rights of Iranian prisoners. By mistreating and degrading defenseless prisoners, whose cries go unheard, he wants to compensate for Raisi government’s budget deficit and lack of funds. (The sale of Rajai Shahr Prison was also carried out for the same reason.)
If I were to describe the atrocities that take place in this prison, it would be unbelievable for every sound mind and even for our fellow citizens who have not yet set foot in prison.
At this very moment, in the adjacent cells, young individuals await their execution behind iron doors and concrete walls. Just last night, several were badly bloodied and brutalized and transferred to the infirmary. The order was to leave them unattended, deprived even of basic treatment such as bandaging and disinfecting their wounds. They were only handcuffed and shackled and thrown into solitary confinement cells, despite bleeding.
Even if, (the death-row prisoners) attack us (the political prisoners) to delay their death until a new murder case is opened (which is customary routine), they should not be blamed. Because that is the only way to save their lives or at least postpone their execution when there is no authority to seek justice or file complaints.
Execution serves as a means of suppression and intimidation, devoid of any legal or judicial basis… no justice, no right to defense, no legal representation… Everything is barbaric.
This prison is a small example of the very thing I mentioned before: the eradication of any human and dignified existence! We are prepared to be killed in prison, just as young people are prepared to be killed on the streets. Freedom comes at a cost!
It should be noted that on September 3, 2023, at 9 AM, guards launched a raid on Ward 8 of Evin Prison. They transferred Saeed Masouri and 12 other prisoners, whose names were mentioned earlier, to Qezel Hessar Prison, with handcuffs and shackles. They then imprisoned them in extremely inhumane conditions in a ward designated for the confinement of death-row prisoners on the night before being executed.