At least 1,800 children of imprisoned women, were separated from their mothers and were delivered to Welfare Organization, the state-run ILNA news agency reported on January 26.
Cited by ILNA, Mohammad Nefriyeh, director general of the Children and Youth affairs in the Welfare Organization, said: “According to a memorandum between the Welfare Organization and the Prison Organisations, all children above two years of age who live with their mothers in prison, must be delivered to the Welfare Organization.”
Revealing that the Iranian regime does not consider any rights for imprisoned mothers, Nefriyeh went on and said, “We are not responsible for the establishment of a nursery in prisons. Prison conditions are special security conditions. Therefore, it is not possible to establish a nursery in prison.”
He emphasized the separation of 1,800 children from their mothers and said, “There are currently 1,800 children at welfare centers whose mothers are imprisoned, and until the mother is released and has the conditions to take care of her child, the child will be kept at the welfare center.”
Over 2,300 children live in prison in Iran with their mothers, a member of parliament said July 23, 2017.
Mohammad Javad Fathi, member of the judicial committee of the Iranian parliament, announced on July 22, 2017, that 2300 kids are in prisons along with their parents, a situation which is “very strange” and “needs to be deliberated on.”
Fathi urged the Prisons Organization to provide a “transparent statistics on the number of imprisoned mothers,” adding, “Concealing the figures do not solve any problems, although the high numbers could be really regrettable.”
It is worth noting that in 2015, the number of children living with their mothers in “horrible” conditions in Iranian prisons had been set at 200 by Shahindokht Molaverdi, Rouhani’s deputy in women and family affair. She said women’s prisons “do not have desirable conditions.”
It becomes clear that 2300 is not the final number and should be considered as minimum.
In May 2018, deputy for planning and coordinations in the Women and Family Affairs Directorate, Attahareh Nejadi, presented a report on her visit to women’s prisons.
She revealed that the number of women prisoners in Iran are twice the prisons’ capacities.
Nejadi said, “Visiting the country’s prisons, I didn’t find the situation of women as appropriate. Women with undeliberate crimes are keeping their small children in prison; their children know only of life in prison. According to the existing information, the average age of these women is between 17 and 37 years old; of course, there are older women, too.”
The presence of so many small children in prisons in Iran is tragic while international laws oblige all governments to refrain from issuing prison sentences for women who have to take care of children and their prison sentences must be replaced by alternative punishments including “suspension of detention.”