Three women went on hunger strike in Qarchak Prison to protest the deplorable conditions under which they are being held.
The prisoners, Sakineh Parvaneh, Soheila Hejab and Zeinab Jalalian have gone on hunger strike in the past days to protest the inhumane treatment of prison officials, unfair prison sentences, and failure to comply with the principle of separation of prisoners by the type and duration of their sentence.
Political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian has started a hunger strike since Saturday, June 20, to demand her transfer to the central prison of the city of Khoy, West Azerbaijan Province.
The ethnic Kurdish prisoner, who was transferred from Khoy Prison to Qarchak Prison on May 10, had recently announced that she will go on a hunger strike in the coming days if she is not transferred back to Khoy Prison.
The political prisoner was recently diagnosed with the Coronavirus but is being held in the quarantine ward of Qarchak Prison with no access to medical treatment.
On June 16, 2020, a Tehran-based human rights activist posted the news about Zeinab Jalalian’s transfer to Qarchak Prison on his Facebook page. “Despite being infected with the Coronavirus, the conditions of her imprisonment have not changed. Even when she was taken to the hospital to be tested for the Coronavirus, she was kept in handcuffs, including during the examination. She has sent letters to many authorities, but no one has paid any attention to her difficult circumstances,” he wrote.
Zainab Jalalian, who comes from a Kurdish family in Maku, northwest Iran, has been in prison for 13 years.
Soheila Hejab, another political prisoner has also started a hunger strike since June 16 to protest her detention in Qarchak prison in Varamin and the authorities’ denial to transfer her to Evin prison.
Ms. Hejab was violently arrested by the agents of the Revolutionary Guard after attending an appeals court hearing on May 23.
She was first arrested in January 2018 in Shiraz on charges of “assembly, collusion and propaganda against the system”. She was rearrested on June 6, 2019 by the Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Organization and taken to Evin Prison where she said she was so badly beaten by prison guards that she had to be taken to hospital. However, they returned her to prison before any treatment.
On March 14, Ms. Hejab was temporarily freed on heavy bail. A court presided by the notorious judge Mohammad Moghiseh on March 18 sentenced her to 18 years in prison for “propaganda against the system”, “forming a women’s rights group” and “calling for a referendum to change the Constitution”. The Court of Appeals has now upheld the sentence.
Political prisoner Sakineh Parvaneh has also been on hunger strike since May 25, to protest her five-year prison sentence and being unlawfully held with prisoners convicted of violent crimes. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran has sentenced the Kurdish political prisoner to five years in prison and a two-year ban on membership in political groups.
She was recently beaten by several criminals in prison. They targeted the prisoner after prison officials in Ward 3 of Qarchak Prison incited them.
Sakineh Parvaneh comes from a Kurdish family in Khorasan Province of northeast Iran.
She was transferred to the women’s ward of Evin Prison after the interrogation period.
In March 2020, the political prisoner was transferred to the women’s ward at Evin, where she scrawled anti-regime slogans on the walls and for which she was punished. She was later sent to Qarchak Prison.
There have been several reports of the appalling ill-treatment of prisoners at Qarchak Prison. The facility is a disused chicken farm that holds prisoners in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, without access to safe drinkable water, decent food, medicine, and fresh air.
Known for its “inhumane” living conditions, the facility was intended for imprisoning common criminals, but the judiciary has also used it to detain activists and dissidents.
There have been numerous reports of assault towards inmates both by other inmates and prison staff, as well as rampant drug use and infectious diseases.