It is cold here,unjust one…
Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Evin valley has one of the best climates in Tehran but when you are confined behind walls in winter and there is no fuel, the situation is slightly different, precisely what the prisoners had to endure last year. The antiquated heating system works with gasoline and due to shortages last year there were weeks of no heating. The shortages are supposedly due to subsidies augmenting the price of gasoline. The price became several times higher, rendering it out of the budget of the Prison Organization.
During the time 8,000 prisoners were enduring the cold, Evin prison officials under the Director of the prison’s Public Relations Unit denied the situation. Mohammad Pournabi who worked with the now banned newspaper Roozegar said, “There are no problems in any of the prison wards and if there were any, they have been fixed.”
He described the prison conditions as being “peaceful and normal.” He added that gasoline had been ordered and there would be no problem acquiring gasoline. But the reality was that the most famous prison in Iran, Evin, was facing obstaclesin acquiring gasoline. News shared from inside prison told of how cold it was, and how the inmates were deprived of warmth especially at nights when there were not enough blankets to keep them warm. Yet according to Mr. Pournebi, there were “enough blankets” provided to the prisoners.
The malfunction of the heating system added to the vast number of other problems in the prison facility. The overpopulation and lack of proper health care had made life behind these bars grueling. This is when Tehran’s mayor entered the picture and gave his word to the prisoners at Evin that parts of the prison would be reconstructed and renovated.
The mayor even took his comments one step further and declared his pride in this prison, adding it to an area of his accomplishments. The mayor was to build an exercise area and improve the landscaping and visiting areas. But it looks like he only implemented the improvement in the landscaping.
Due to the disclosure of the heating issue followed by the mayor’s claims of planned improvements, members of the City Council requested a report on the status of the facility. After the report was shared indicating the issues faced in the prison, the City Council decided to embark on fixing the infirmary, the water, the heating, and the showers in the prison.
The City Council made a recommendation for the proposed improvements to be placed in the year’s (1990) budget for the Prison Organizations but Mohammad BagherGhalibaf deemed it unnecessary to do so. Instead he made a promise to members of the City Council that the issues would be resolved within the city budget. Even though the speaker of Tehran’s City Council made a statement welcoming the mayor’s assurance in resolving the prison issues, in reality the mayor has accomplished nothing with the heating problem.
There are indications that the country’s officials view Evin as a facility that eventually needs to leave Tehran, therefore the appropriate urban services such as providing gasoline have been disregarded. The mayor of Tehran has reiterated this, and has discussed turning the land into a green zone.
The cold winter is not far from reaching Evin, where thousands of detainees can only hope that the Prison Organization will have enough of a budget to cover the cost of buying the necessary gasoline.