Iran: Prisoners Used as Cheap Labor
Mullahs regime uses prisoners as chip and forced labour. Following recent public comments by mullahs officials that prisoners are being exploited as a source of cheap labour in Iran.
Cheap Labour for the Private Sector
In Iran, the so-called “private sector” mainly companies affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps together with religious institutions and organizations under the control of, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. The prisoners’ workforce is pre-sold to the private and public sectors while their wages are looted.
Prisoners in Iran are mostly people who have failed to pay their financial debts or committed other offences due to economic situation beyond their control. Prisoners are forced to work for the duration of their imprisonment.
The workplace for prisoners is in workshops or re-location to remote areas such as quarries and mines. Prisoners are forced to work for hours on end without interruption and without rest time.
Prisoners’ salary belongs to the prison administrators
Prisoners’ salary belongs to the prison administrators. For example, if a prisoner’s monthly salary is set at $200, $150 goes to the prison administrators and $50 to the individual prisoner.
Prisoners are also assigned jobs such as carpet weaving, spinning, and sewing, and the production of tools and equipment. The amount of production is determined based on market needs and profitability.
Prisoners are at the disposal of the prison administrators
Prisoners are at the disposal of the prison administrators, they put extreme pressure on them to work according to the schedules set by the administrators.
Quarries and mines and some private workshops have contracted with prisons in Isfahan Province to employ prisoners for higher profits. Previously, these factories employed Afghan workers, but, due to their lower wages, prisoners are now forced to work in these factories.
Prisoners give in to forced labour to pay their heavy fines and bail issued by regime courts. Others are forced to accept these conditions with the promise of leave and parole. Prisoners are forced to work for a small wage to pay not only for their expenses in prison but also to provide for their families.
The Head of the Iranian Prison Organizations
Mohammad Mehdi Haj Mohammadi, the head of Iran’s prisons, said that he intends to move Tabriz prison outside of the city so that it can be expanded to house more prisoners and make more use of them. Mohammadi suggested: “Prisoners are cheap labour, and the use of this workforce by the private sector gives them and the prisoners the privilege of a win-win situation.”
Working conditions for prisoners are exhaustive and their basic needs are not provided for.
Amnesty International report in August 2020
Amnesty International released a report in August 2020, stating that Iranian prisoners were catastrophically lacking the equipment needed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Amnesty International released pictures of four letters from Iran’s Prisons Organization, which operates Iran’s prisons, to the Ministry of Health warning of “severe shortages of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and key medical equipment and supplies.”
Examples of human rights violations
The exploitation and forced labour of prisoners from both the stance of human rights and prisoner’s treatment protocols are examples of human rights violations in Iran. It also amounts to a kind of modern slavery and needs to be addressed by the international community as part of the mullah regime’s wider systematic human rights violations.