A political prisoner in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Iran, labor activist Reza Shahabi, has revealed that prison authorities have been providing inmates with livestock feed and mistreating them in the prison’s hospital, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reports.
According to a note from the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) posted on its Telegram channel on November 16, 2017, “The prison guard and soldiers who took Reza Shahabi to the hospital for an MRI on November 9  behaved in an insulting way towards him, and his colleagues and his wife, who had come to see him.”
“The prison meals are prepared with bad ingredients in unsanitary conditions and prisoners have found things like cigarette butts, Band-Aids and pieces of rocks in their food. The food is so bad that Shahabi has been forced to get his own [from the prison store] and has asked for dry rations instead,” said the union in its post.
The union added that Shahabi had complained about the incident and the poor quality of food provided by Rajaee Shahr Prison in letters to the prison’s acting director, Gholamreza Ziaei, and the head of the State Prisons Organization, Asghar Jahangir.
A UWTSBC board member, Shahabi was forced to return to prison on August 8, 2017, to serve the remainder of a six-year prison sentence issued for his peaceful activism plus another year for his alleged role in a clash between guards and prisoners in Evin Prison on April 17, 2014.
A political activist and former Rajaee Shahr Prison inmate who asked to remain anonymous told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on November 16 that he believes the kitchen staff of Rajaee Shahr Prison have been using soy beans used in livestock feed to prepare meals provided to inmates.
“The prison store rarely offers fruits and vegetables. The food rations consist of a bit of poor-quality rice with some awful-smelling soy. A few times on the way to the hospital or the courthouse, I noticed the bags of soy that had ‘livestock feed’ written on them. The man who runs the prison store said that a large amount of Iran’s imported livestock feed is used to feed the country’s prison population,” the former prisoner told CHRI.
“For dinner, they always serve lentil soup. The soup and the lunch are both full of pieces of rocks and there are a lot of prisoners with chipped or loose teeth because of it,” added the source.
Known for its harsh living conditions, Rajaee Shahr Prison, also known as Gohardasht, holds more than 50 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Many of them went on hunger strike for weeks after they were suddenly transferred to the security-enhanced and poorly-ventilated Ward 10 without their belongings at the end of July 2017.