Ali Saremi wrote this letter a few weeks before his execution.
Since his [Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei] majesty’s accession to the throne, I have been in prison and I am unaware what is happening outside. However, in the same year when he was crowned, the price of 700 grams of dates were 1,250 tomans [approximately $1.25] but right now, the same amount of dates is sold for 3,700 tomans [approximately $3.70]. Similarly, to rent a house, we then paid a deposit of two million tomans [approximately two thousand USD] and the monthly rent was 70,000 tomans [approximately 70 USD), but nowadays, the required deposit has increased to 10 million tomans [approximately 10 thousand USD], and the monthly rent is 200 thousand tomans [approximately 200 USD].
At the same time when I was arrested, an interrogator claimed that there were only a total of 80 political prisoners in the entire country. Right now, there are more than 400 political prisoners only in Evin and Gohardasht prisons. I don’t know about the rest of the country. Besides, in those years, a few party insiders were politically active. Right now, even that does not exist.
It isn’t very difficult to determine under what conditions non-political prisoners live. Once a prisoner arrives here, he has nothing but a little money in his pocket and the clothing on his back. New prisoners spend one to three days in an isolated ward where they receive a set of undergarments and a disposable bowl and cup. However, when prisoners enter the general population in the prison, they are given no clothing, dishes, cups, toothbrushes or toothpaste. Prisoners must provide all these items for themselves.
All this is happening while the majority of the prisoners have no home, have been estranged from their families, or their loved ones can’t financially support them. Some of the prisoners suffer from mental problems or have illnesses that render them incapacitated. The lives of these prisoners in need are unfortunately pitiful. These prisoners eat their food out of plastic containers cut from used milk jugs or cleaning agents.
Additionally, the number of prisoners is increasing every day due to the inability and incompetency of those managing the country. In year 2009, when I was transferred to Gohardasht prison in the city of Karaj, there were 500 prisoners in ward 4 where I am held. This year, the number of prisoners in the same ward has increased to 1,300 individuals, an increase of 2.5 times since a year ago by adding 60 prisoners to the population of captives every month.
Gohardasht prison has eight wards to which 450 prisoners have been added in the last year. Since there are ten prisons in Tehran, it can be concluded that 4,500 additional citizens are incarcerated every month. Consequently, the prison population in Iran’s ten biggest cities is increasing by 45,000 individuals every month.
The question that all of us must ask is this: If this regime manages to survive a few more years, what will happen to the Iranian people? In addition to narcotics addiction, no hot water or other amenities are found in prisons.
November 17, 2010
Translated by Laleh Gilani. First published in persian2english.com.
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