Human rights violations are prevalent in the Orumieh Central Prison in Iran’s northwestern province of West Azarbaijan while prison officials smuggle narcotics.
Sixty percent of inmates at the prison are Sunni Kurds while the other 40% are Shiite Turks. Kurd prisoners have been sent from other cities to the prison and usually, have long sentences.
According to a number of prisoners, the head of the prison is in the business of smuggling buprenorphine pills through prison elements and various drug gangs.
Political prisoners at Orumieh Prison have said that those involved in the buprenorphine trade are the head of the prison, Qareh Baghi, Farhang and Fatemi, the head of the sections, the head of the medical clinic, Dr. Behnam, and two guards identified as Ghareh Baqi and Najafi.
Reports indicate that most of the profit from the narcotics trade is pocketed by the resident prison judge and one of the representatives of the intelligence agency identified by his pseudonym as Alireza.
The prison holds more prisoners than its capacity which makes conditions unbearable for prisoners.
According to the families of prisoners, each section has a maximum capacity of 120 prisoners but currently holds more than 450. On some occasions, the number of prisoners is so high that some inmates are forced to sleep on the steps in turns while others stand around until their turn to sleep.
Notably, Orumieh holds the record in prisoners with long prison terms in Iran. Some prisoners have up to 29 years of prison.
Prisoners are routinely beaten and treated poorly.
In the summer of 2018, prison guards beat a prisoner identified as Saied Seyed Abbasi who became seriously injured.
In another case, another prisoner identified as Javad Shirzad (Arash) went into a coma after being violently beaten by the internal prisoner manager, Bairam Zadeh.
Prison guards have banned all group activities in the prison including sports.
Executions by hanging are carried out in the prison courtyard. On March 11, three prisoners identified as Naji Omarzadeh, Khalil Salehi and Hossein Ibrahimi, were hanged in Orumieh Central Prison.