Iran wants to improve prison conditions
August 22, 2000
Teheran (dpa) - Iran wants to improve the prison conditions, the official
news agency IRNA reported Tuesday.
``We are still far beyond the social and humane principles and the
prisons need an overhaul since a prisoner is a human who should be corrected,''
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahroudi was quoted by IRNA as
``The Islamic penal code assigns the jail term as the last resort,''
the Ayatollah said adding that ``social irregularities, insecurities and
abnormalities'' should have cultural solutions rather than jail terms.
A group of reformist MPs visited earlier this month the notorious Evin
prison in northern Teheran and prepared a detailed report said to be critical.
Although Iran says that it has no political prisoners but a number
of detained liberal journalist, including even former Vice-President Abdullah
Nuri, are considered by reformists to be the new generation of political
There are an estimated 158,000 prisoners in Iran , more than 60 per
cent of them were serving sentences on drug-related charges and are reportedly
segregated from other inmates. Other prisoners are mainly related to armed
robbery or embezzlement.
It was reported earlier this year that Iran 's prison population is
almost 15 times higher than it was before the Islamic revolution in 1979,
having increased number 10,000 in 1979 to 148,000 in 1999.
There are some 5,000 women in the Iranian prisons but the judiciary
head called on judges to ignore ``as much as legally possible'' issuing
prison sentences for women.
According to press reports, in the years 1998 and 1999, non-marital
sex among high school students in Iran has increased by 635 per cent. Also
the age of women engaged in non-marital have reportedly dropped from 27
Non-marital sex in Iran is widely considered as ``prostitution and
moral irregularity'' which is leading in urban areas ``to a decrease of