Twenty inmates in the Urmia Central Prison in northwestern Iran attempted suicide in the past two weeks due to severe pressure and horrid prison conditions. An informed source told Javaneha human rights website that prison inmates “cannot tolerate prison conditions”.
“In response to the prisoners’ protests, prison authorities give out psychedelic pills. After a few days of using these pills, the inmates lose mental control and try to commit suicide,” the source said.
The source said most of the inmates who are in a non-stable mental state are in Section 14 and the “Consultation” section.
“The latest case was a prisoner from the minors’ section who broke a window and tried to eat the shattered glass to kill himself. He is in a critical condition,” the source added.
Before this on June 30, two inmates in the High-Security Section attempted suicide by consuming poison. The two prisoners were identified as Farzin Nouri and Hadi Rostami. They were transferred to the hospital. Another case in May, Mohammad Ghaderi, who was detained in April attempted suicide to escape the continuous torture of IRGC Intelligence agents.
Urmia Central Prison conditions
Urmia Central Prison inmates are regularly beaten and tortured under various pretenses. The hygienic conditions are not tolerable in the prison. The prisoners are not separated by crime, and political prisoners are kept in one section with criminals. Urmia Central Prison has the highest population density compared to all the prisons in West Azerbaijan province. Most of the executions in West Azerbaijan province and even Kurdistan province in western Iran are carried out in this prison.
The population density is so high that prisoners sleep in prison corridors, restrooms corridors, and even inside the restrooms next to the sinks. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the prison has become a virus hub. Reports indicate that over 70% of the inmates have been infected with the coronavirus. One of the reasons for the rapid spread is the concealment of infections by prison authorities.