Inside the notorious Evin Prison in Iran where travel bloggers are held and inmates are electrocuted, raped and executed – The Sun
THOUSANDS have been executed there and former inmates have told horror stories of electrocution, rape and torture – it's no wonder Iran's Evin Prison is known as one of the most brutal on earth.
Now a British travel blogger and her partner are facing 10 years in the hellhole for allegedly flying a drone near the capital, Tehran.
Jolie King was captured along with her Australian boyfriend Mark Firkin and is now caged in Evin, where the Iranians are holding her as a bargaining chip as part of a planned prisoner swap deal with the US.
The blogger is being kept in the same wing as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Brit mum who has been kept in the 15,000-strong prison since 2016.
Here, former inmates reveal the terrifying conditions inside the prison – including rapist guards, hangings in the courtyard and prisoners being driven insane from isolation and beaten so hard they vomit blood.
Inescapable death factory
Evin Prison was opened in northern Tehran in 1972, one of the final years of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign before the Shah was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution.
At the time, it was operated by his fearsome security service (SAVAK) who were famed for their ruthless torture and murder of the Shah's political opponents.
And when the Ayatollah Khomeni took control of Iran, the violence at Evin continued and even escalated.
In the 1980s, tens of thousands of dissidents from one rebel group — the People's Mujahidin of Iran — were hanged in Evin, in one of the most savage political mass killings in modern history.
Nowadays, anyone who speaks out against the regime in Iran can find themselves behind Evin's deeply fortified walls.
Bloggers, teachers and academics are arrested in the middle of the night and thrown in Evin's squalid cells after being convicted of questionable crimes without proper legal defence.
There are said to be so many intellectuals in one wing of the prison that it's earned the dark nickname "Evin University".
No prisoner has ever been known to escape.
Sadistic rapist guards
Below the surface of the jail, sadistic guards torture prisoners in underground interrogation rooms and make them sign confessions, according to Amnesty International.
Outside, in Evin's courtyard, prisoners are still hanged — Iran executes more people every year than every other in the world except China.
Guards have been said to grind prisoners' spirits down by cutting off all contact with the outside world, forbidding phone calls and visits.
The isolation has driven many inmates insane, smashing their heads against their cell walls while others have chosen to end their suffering by killing themselves, according to reports.
And several female prisoners say interrogators have used rape as a method of torture — and have done so for decades.
'Only voice is the voice of death'
Farzad Madadzadeh was locked up in Evin for nearly a year after he spoke out against the Iranian regime in 2009.
He said he was electrocuted and beaten by guards for 16 hours a day and then thrown in solitary confinement for the rest of the time.
"You are subjected to all kinds of torture — psychological and physical. Constant interrogation, constant beating around the clock.
"At any moment you wait for something to happen — a new torture session or a death sentence.
"You are totally isolated from the rest of the world. The only voice you hear is the voice of death," Farzad told MailOnline.
Farzad also said guards would forcibly get prisoners hooked on heroin, making them easier to break in interrogations during withdrawals.
Beaten till vomiting blood
Maryam Rostmapour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were detained in Evin for eight months.
The women were arrested in 2009 after they converted to Christianity and gave out copies of the New Testament.
They described Evin as "the most brutal prison in the world" and seeing "the devaluation of human and humanity" while inside.
As well as starving prisoners desperately trying to get morsels of food from dirty trays and the disgusting floor, they women claim they were made to sleep in a room with up to 40 others.
And they say the cell had a single window in it, making it stiflingly hot in summer and freezing in winter.
They also claim they spent 40 days inside the interrogation cells where they were ordered to deny their faith and name other converts as the guards threatened to "beat you till you vomit blood" if they didn't comply.
Marziyeh said international attention on their case was the only reason they survived.
She told The Times: "If a prisoner's case got attention, they stopped torturing or raping them because they knew the world was watching."
The horrific treatment they suffered in Evin has changed them forever.
Marziyeh added: "The stress is too much, we can't be the same people. We can't be as happy as before."
'I was being raped over and over again'
Marina Nemat was imprisoned in Evin when she was just 16 years old in 1986.
She'd been arrested by Iran's Revolutionary Guard accused of taking part in rallies protesting the government.
Marina says she was repeatedly raped and tortured over two excruciating years inside Evin, which she said was a "black hole of evil made by men".
She wrote on Sky News: "I was being raped over and over again in solitary confinement in Evin at the age of 17, and it was absolutely legal. I couldn't even complain about it.
"The conditions in Evin Prison have not changed a great deal since I was there in the 80s.
"Torture and sexual abuse are still widely used.
"I have campaigned for the release of many Evin prisoners. Some of them have been released, but others are still there."
Sickening filthy cells
Inmates who have survived their traumatising stints in Evin have told sickening stories of the conditions prisoners are subjected to on a daily basis.
Cells packed with prisoners bake in the unbearable 45C heat in the summer with no air conditioning, causing a horrendous stench of sweat.
And with nonexistent toilet facilities, human waste adds to the suffocating reek in every cell.
The appalling sanitary conditions also mean the drinking water is unsafe and prisoners suffer kidney problems and other sicknesses as a result.
Food is also rotten and served in tiny portions, making basic sustenance another daily struggle for those unlucky enough to end up in Evin.
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