Evin Prison is situated in northern Tehran, where in the winter months, the temperature averages 4° Celsius (39° Fahrenheit), and frequently drops be- low freezing. As such, sufficient heat in the Women’s Ward is a necessity.
One prisoner revealed the lack of heat in the ward:
We had an electric heater that had been purchased with money collected from the prisoners themselves. You couldn’t survive Evin Prison’s winter without them. This year, the authorities have given those heaters to the guards and the prisoners are shivering from the cold. The heating system is so weak that it can’t provide enough hot water for the showers, let alone the radiators. Plus, there aren’t enough radiators in the cells. Instead on average there are four closed-circuit cameras in each cell in addition to a night-vision camera.
A former prisoner released two years ago confirmed that heating issues were long-standing:
We had no limitations for clothes, except that there are regulations that forbid clothes with lining; but they were more lenient towards political prisoners and allowed it. We could pay to get warm blankets. The heating system and warm water were cut off for long periods of time.
However, another prisoner, who was released a year ago, reported she had not experienced a problem with heat in the ward, which suggests the heating in the ward may be at best inconsistent. She said:
We didn’t have problems with cooling or heating. The coolers worked fine and the central heating worked during the winter.
Even if heating problems are intermittent in the ward (although multiple prisoner reports indicated there were issues with extremely cold and unheated quarters), any period during which heat was withheld explicitly violates United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which state, “All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.”