Numerous reports indicate that Iranian prisoners are compelled to do forced labor in Iran’s prisons. Previous reports showed that prison guards impose forced labor on prisoners in Tehran’s Evin Prison, Qarchak Prison in Varamin, Central Karaj Prison, and prisoners in the northern province of Gilan.
The report below pertains to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, also known as Fashafuyeh Prison, located 30 kilometers south of Tehran.
Several prison guards in the 5th Brigade of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary take advantage of detainees held for selling alcohol. Prisoners are told that according to the law, which stipulates that prisoners should be separated according to their crimes, they are supposed to be held at the 4th Brigade, which has horrid conditions. They are told they will not be transferred on the condition that they work without pay. The 4th Brigade has poor hygienic conditions and twice the number of prisoners. In this way, they force their own work on prisoners.
Prisoners convicted of selling alcohol are assigned to night watch, registry work, distributing methadone, transferring the sick, monitoring the section, and inspecting prisoners upon entrance and exit of the section. The prison caretaker, who receives 6 million tomans a month, (about $259), oversees the cells at night. But he forces prisoners to carry out the task instead with the threat of sending them to the 4th Brigade if they refuse.
The prisoners stay up the whole night without pay. They endure the abuse and maltreatment to prevent their transfer.
The Greater Tehran Penitentiary is located on the outskirts of the city, therefore there is no supervision on the actions of prison guards and authorities. In turn, prison authorities take advantage of the lack of oversight and force almost all their duties on prisoners.
Prison guards even force prisoners to do their personal work such as washing their clothing, cooking, and cleaning their rooms.
Some prisoners are assigned to do work in the prison workshops with little or no pay. For example in Evin Prison, prisoners in Section 7 are forced to work in the sewing workshop for only 20,000 tomans (around 80 cents) a week, doing eight hours of work a day. These prisoners are transferred from the Greater Tehran Penitentiary to Evin Prison on the condition that they work at Evin Prison. They prefer Evin Prison in northern Tehran because their families can visit them without traveling the long distance to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary.
The prison also sells goods to prisoners at high prices. They do not allow the prisoners’ families in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary to bring them clothes, forcing prisoners to purchase their needs from the prison at high prices. A shirt that costs 20,000 tomans is sold at 90,000 tomans in prison, more than four times the normal price. They also sell expired smuggled cigarettes for triple the normal prices.
There are over 1,500 prisoners detained for selling alcohol in the Greater Tehran Penitentiary, mostly workers who worked two jobs and were forced to sell alcohol as a third method of income.