Human Rights Activists in Iran
Coronavirus Crisis at Greater Tehran Prison: Hundreds Of Prisoners Denied Drinking Water
June 19, 2020
The water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5 since last night, and hundreds of prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water. Furthermore, 52 prisoners at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 1 have fallen ill with COVID-19. Additionally, a prisoner at the Prison’s Wing 5, Hall 4, has been vomiting blood and showing symptoms similar to those of the Corona virus. The return of prisoners from leave [into the general prison population] without first being quarantined is among the most significant reasons for the spread of the Corona virus in the country’s prisons, including the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
According to a report by HRANA News Agency, the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, the water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5 since last night, and hundreds of prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water.
The cutting off of hot water at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5, Ward 2, Hall 1, since nearly two weeks ago, has caused problems in cleaning and maintaining hygiene at the Hall. Furthermore, since 11 o’clock last night, the water supply has been cut off at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 5, and prisoners have been deprived of access to drinking water there. The Hall’s emergency supply of water was also depleted on the morning of June 19, and prison authorities have locked the Halls’ doors at this Wing in order to prevent prisoners from protesting.
A source close to the family of a prisoner incarcerated at the Penitentiary stated to HRANA: “Initially, the cutting off of hot water created problems for prisoners, and especially affected older individuals, who have subsequently caught colds or pneumonia due to bathing with that same [cold] water. Additionally, the drinking water supply has been depleted in Wing 5 and the conditions have gotten much worse than before for prisoners.”
Water conditions have never been that good in this Prison [to begin with]. The water supply for bathing is shut off for sometimes 17 to 18 hours a day. Based on the experience of past years, it seems that these shut-offs will become even more intense gradually and as it gets warmer. In the past week, two emergency water faucets have been installed for handwashing. Showers can only be used 4 to 6 hours a day, as a result of which, many prisoners do not get a chance to use the showers for between 2 to 5 months. Prisoners can only use hot water after 12 midnight. Water pressure is also not sufficient, and it is not possible to supply the Prison with adequate amounts of hot water due to persistent problems between the Prison authorities and the Shahriar region Municipality. As the weather has gotten warmer since last week, some days the Prison’s water supply is available for only 2 hours and the water is completely shut off most of the time.
Furthermore, the number of Prisoners infected with the Corona virus at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary is on the rise. 52 prisoners at the Greater Tehran Penitentiary’s Wing 1 have fallen ill with COVID-19. Additionally, a prisoner at the Prison’s Wing 5, Hall 4, has been vomiting blood and showing symptoms similar to those of the Corona virus.
The overcrowding in the Penitentiary has resulted in the spread of contagious illnesses like COVID-19.
The return of prisoners from leave without spending time in quarantine is among the most significant reasons for the spread of the Corona virus in prisons all across the country, and especially in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
HRANA had previously addressed the health and hygiene conditions at this Prison in a comprehensive report. There is an infirmary in each wing of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, but the prisoners are deprived of access to a doctor or a nurse most of the day, and only a single prisoner (with or without any specialty) has been selected as the person in charge of the infirmary. Every few days, three prisoners are chosen from among individuals in a twenty-person cell to go to the infirmary, and even these people, [as few in numbers as they are], get minimal examination by the doctor or the nurse and are simply given a pill by the person in charge of the infirmary before they are taken back to the ward.
Prisoners suffering from illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis are kept in a separate cell in Wards 1 and 2 of Wing 2, without being given any special privileges or facilities, especially during the spread of the Corona virus, and they use the same toilets and showers as the rest of the prison population. This can put these individuals’ lives at greater risk compared to other prisoners.