Reports from inside Iran indicate that a wave of arrests over the past month has increased the already large number of prisoners in Qezel Hesar Prison in Karaj.
Iran Human Rights Monitor has received reports that some 2,000 detainees have been transferred to Qezel Hesar Prison over the last month. That is over 500 new admissions per week.
Ward 2 of Qezel-Hessar Prison is allocated to death-row prisoners. There are no political prisoners in Qezel Hesar Prison. Drug-related convicts with heavy sentences are imprisoned in this prison.
There are also many prisoners detained in Qezel Hesar in a state of limbo.
The number of inmates in Qezel Hesar presently stands at 14,000.
1,800 detainees are incarcerated in Ward 2. The ward is made up of four halls each of which house 500 inmates. The large rooms in this ward are 5X5 meters. The small rooms are 4X3 meters.
40 inmates are held in large rooms and 11 in the small rooms. So, the prisoners do not have much space. 15 people sleep on the extremely unsanitary floor in large rooms, and three in small rooms.
Prisoners have to buy their own beds. It takes years to provide beds for those who do not afford to buy one for themselves.
The prison’s food smells bad and is of very low quality.
Prison authorities do not attend to the prisoners’ complaints and letters.
Sick prisoners do not receive medical treatment. Despite the pandemic, sick prisoners are not taken to quarantine. New arrivals are held in the same place with 400 prisoners. They are divided in all the wards.
Every day at 9 a.m. all prisoners are compelled to study the Quran.
Despite the presence of thousands of drug-related convicts with heavy sentences and death penalty, the drug mafia still operates in this prison and is controlled by the prison’s warden and guards. Large amounts of drugs are brought inside the halls and sold to prisoners.
Widespread arrests across Iran
In fear of growing popular protests on the eve of the anniversary of the November 2019 uprising, the Iranian regime has resorted to widespread arrests in various provinces.
According to the state-run Tasnim news agency, on October 18, the head of the repressive State Security Force (SSF) in Zanjan Province (northwest Iran) announced that 1,500 people had been arrested under the pretext of “security disruptor” over the past eight months. He described the detainees as individuals who “attempt to create chaos and tension in society.” He also said: “Cyberspace has become a reality in the society, and is no longer virtual. Therefore, extending security in Cyberspace has become a complicated but necessary issue.”
On the same day, the head of the SSF in Kermanshah Province (western Iran) announced the arrest of 5,550 people under the pretext of “thieves, thugs, and hooligans” in the past six months, according to state-run ILNA news agency.
A few days earlier, on October 14, the Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Abdullah Hassani, head of the SSF for Semnan Province, announced the arrest of 3,000 people over a six month period on the pretext of thieves, 80% of whom were under 35 years old, according to the state-run news outlet Hamshahri Online.
On October 17, the head of the regime’s repressive SSF in Kuhdasht in Lorestan Province (western Iran) announced the arrest of 98 people. He told state-run ISNA, “Sustaining the SSF’s security plans to prevent irregular behavior and maintain and promote public security and calm are among the priorities that have been seriously emphasized upon in our planning.”
IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Yazdi, commander of the criminal “Mohammad Corps” in Tehran, told the state TV, today, “The Razavioun patrols, which were created to provide security, started (a series of) preparations two years ago. Last year, these preparatory activities were completed, and this year they have been fully implemented. In other words, in coordination with our SSF brothers at Tehran’s Judiciary, we have launched the Razavioun patrols across the Province to create security … and in coordination with the prosecutor and with the help of SSF, the continuation of this task will be to develop and extend our activities at all levels and in all areas of the city to confront those who want to disrupt the people’s security.”