Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 21, 2021: Around 120 prisoners are currently on death row for drug offences and murder in Yazd Central Prison.
Yazd Central Prison consists of 15 separate wards and houses around 3000 prisoners. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, around 120 of the prisoners are currently on death row for drug offences and murder.
Prisoners with drug-related charges are housed in Ward 4, those sentenced to murder and violent crimes are held in Ward 6, and political prisoners in Ward 9.
While prisoners with financial-related crimes make up the majority of prisoners in Wards 3 and 14, some other crimes are mixed into the wards.
“The Cultural Director at the prison is a cleric named Mohammad Mehdi Golverdi who punishes prisoners for not attending Quran classes and prayer sessions. Prisoners from Ward 3 and 14 which are generally cleaner wards, are forced to attend these sessions. They have to wake up at 4 am for morning prayers and Quran sessions. They also have to attend Quran classes after lunch. They’ve created a school in the prison called Quran School and if a prisoner doesn’t pray on time or misses a Quran class, they’ll be transferred to solitary confinement for six days and then transferred to a violent crime ward,” an informed source told Iran Human Rights.
“There were six Kermanshahi (Kurdish) prisoners in Ward 14 who were not Muslim and didn’t wish to pray or participate in the Quran classes. They were transferred to solitary confinement on the Cultural Director’s orders where they were subjected to ill-treatment, and the abuse by Golverdi continues. Several prisoners from Shiraz and Kerman also didn’t want to wake up at 4 am to pray and attend Quran classes, they were transferred to solitary confinement and upon their return, they were housed in Wards 4 and 6, where violent crime and death row prisoners are housed,” the source continued.
According to the source, “The hygiene situation in Wards 4, 6, 8 and 9 are dire and the bare minimums don’t exist. There times when there’s no soap for people to wash their hands with after using the toilet. There’s widespread bedbugs in these wards and prisoners have to stand under the sun when they’re given yard time for the bedbugs to crawl out of their clothes or they burn them with a lighter. Sometimes they even sleep in the corridors and are constantly itching themselves, the prisoners can’t sleep due to the itching.”
It should be noted that Yazd Central Prison will be moved to a new site currently under construction near the city of Yazd.