A report about the situation in Ghezelhesar Prison in Karaj

Ghezel Hesar prison is the largest state prison in Iran. As of 2011 it was holding about 20,000 prisoners, of which 13,000 were held on drug-related charges – said to be four times its planned capacity. It is located in the city of Karaj, 20 km northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran.

The Ghezel Hesar prison is infamous for its conditions. In March 2011 it made headlines when, according to official reports, 14 people were killed and 33 wounded during a prison revolt.

The actual number of victims may have been higher. Former prisoners report torture and physical abuse by the staff, catastrophic hygiene conditions and a lack of medical care.

There are reports that clashes inside Karaj Ghezel Hesar Prison began when some prisoners protested against the execution of dozens of other prisoners. 150 people are said to have been suffering serious injuries and several dozens to have been killed. Sources close to the government have announced that 47 people have been killed or injured in this incident yet this number is dramatically different from what similar reports from independent sources indicate

The terrible prison Ghezelhesar consists of 10 sections. It may contain 20,000 to 22,000 prisoners. Most of the prisoners are drug traffickers.

There are deliberately between 200 prisoners who are released and on average of 400-500 entered.

The prisoners were on average between 20 and 40 years.

They are often brought to the traffics drugs to earn money either because of their joblessness, either because of poverty.

Often they are arrested for possession of 5 to 200 grams of drugs to a few kilos.

80 percent of these prisoners are sentenced to 15 years in prison and some of them to life imprisonment.

12 to 14 percent were sentenced to death and they are executed every week.

In section 2 , the entire 2500-3000 prisoners are sentenced to death .

In Section 3, saloon number 3 , there are 250 Afghan citizens , all sentenced to death and each week some of tjem executed .

Section 5 contains the solitary confinement.

Section 1 contains 6,000 prisoners who are drug addicts. And they are all sentenced to life impriisonment with no hope of release.

 In saloon 2, 5 and 6 of Section 1, there are up to 2500 people with AIDS , tuberculosis , gangrene , or hepatitis . They are denied of any medical treatment. On average 6 to 7 prisoners die every weeks from their disease.

Coroners say that among 6,000 prisoners there are only 400 healthy.

The best section is Section 3. Among the best saloon in this section there is the hall number 4. In his saloon there is access to water for taking a shower every day for half an hour . And deemed correct these rooms have the cells measuring 9m ², with 9 to 12 prisoners in each cell.

Every day the prisoners can call and use the phone for 2 to 3 minutes. Often the poorest prisoners sell their passage for 500 til 1000 touman (1,5 to 30 euro cents ).

There are also phone cards which are sold between prisoners. For example, a 2000 touman phone card could be bought and sold between 10000 til 30000 touman (between 3 and 9 euros).


12 April 2014