Prisoners in Varamin Khurin Prison of Tehran Province have not enjoyed access to warm water for the past month, and their cold water has also been cut off for a week now.
The prison officials argue the problem is technical and they lack resources to address it, thus shifting blame while leaving the prisoners with little recourse to address this basic need.
The prison’s powerhouse is down and the inmates are currently forced to pay 60,000 rials (equal to nearly $2) for half a liter of drinking water. This is nearly twice the cost outside the prison. In such conditions, it is impossible to shower or wash any clothing, which is crucial to maintain a proper hygiene level within such a closed environment.
Prisoners are at a higher risk of disease as a result. These conditions present a potential humanitarian crisis, as well as another human rights violation to add to Iran’s lengthy record of abuses.
Prison authorities claim the powerhouse has technical problems and the lack of adequate budget for the repairs is preventing any measures in this regard, reports indicate. Around 300 million rials (approximately $8,500) is needed, according to the authorities. No alternative measures are in place to address the issue while funds are being located.
It is crystal clear to all that this is a method used by the authorities to impose pressure on the inmates. The lack of water for the most basic of needs is evidence of continuing ill-treatment of prisoners, in violation of international treaties on their treatment, particularly political prisoners. This current crisis is threatening the lives and wellbeing of these prisoners.