Iran Press Watch, July 17
The fifth ward of the women’s prison of the central prison of Mashhad, in Vakilabad, consists of one room which is approximately 30 square meters, including medical services and a bathroom. At present six Bahai women prisoners are held there, all charged with acting against national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic under Articles 499 and 500 of the Iranian Constitution by promoting the Bahai Faith and participating in its activities. The names of the Baha’i prisoners in this ward are:
1) Rozita Vasseghi (2), sentenced to 5 years.
2) Sima Eshraghi (3), sentenced to 5 years.
3) Noura Nabilzadeh (4), sentenced to 5 years.
4) Sonia Ahmadi (5), sentenced to 5 years
5) Nika Kholousi, sentenced to 6 years
6) Nava Kholousi (6), sentenced to 4.5 years
The prison officials treat inmates in this ward with prejudice. The prisoners are given one hour in the morning for exercise in the gym and one and a half hour in the afternoon to go outside for fresh air, and are locked in their cell for the remainder of the day. They are denied the rights of other prisoners such as attending cultural classes, language learning, seminars, computer use, and other rights. They aren’t allowed access to the prison library, to meet or to communicate with other women prisoners, and during the day, when they are to use the gymnasium or spend time outdoors, the rest of the female prisoners have to be dismissed from these places first. They are kept in complete isolation so that they cannot interact or communicate with other prisoners, and their condition in the prison is kept unknown to the other prison inmates.
These prisoners are also not permitted to have leave from prison, which the other prisoners are granted. They are labeled security-risk prisoners, and are only allowed leave if the prosecutor lets them, and the prosecutor is the eyes and mouth of the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry. More than four years has passed since Rozita Vasseghi’s conviction, but she has not had a single day of prison leave because the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry is opposed to giving her leave!
At present, these six individuals are awaiting the transfer of two other Baha’i prisoners named May Kholousi and Dori Amri, who have been kept in temporary solitary confinement by order of the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry for approximately one month.
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