Monday, 30 July 2012

Iran offers bachelor’s degree in how to be a prison warden

The four-year BA courses are due to start in the autumn at two higher educational colleges run by the Iranianprison service.

Their introduction offers an insight into the theocratic regime’s priorities at a time when large numbers of political prisoners are being held and some prisons are packed to six times their capacity, according to Iran’s prison’s chief, Gholamhossein Esmaili, who has said there are 220,000 inmates nationwide.
It follows the scandal at Kahrizak detention facility in Tehran after the bitterly disputed 2009 presidential election, when several detained protesters – including the son of a prominent government scientist – died in custody. A parliamentary inquiry subsequently concluded the deaths were due to injuries inflicted by their jailers.

The new courses coincide with the abolition of several social science degrees at prominent institutions, including Allameh Tabatabai University, which will cease to offer a journalism course in the next academic year.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered a halt to the expansion of a range of social sciences degrees, including women’s studies, human rights and law, after declaring them “founded on materialism” hostile to Islam.

By contrast, the jail warden courses – offered under the title “Judiciary Aid Work” – have the highest official blessing after senior prison officials spent three years preparing them.
Nasser Rabiei, deputy director of the Iranian prison service’s education and research centre, told the Arman newspaper that they would bring jailing practices “up to date”. He said 80% of enrolled students would be recruited from among existing wardens.

The newspaper Jam-e Jam, citing official statistics, reported that 80 new inmates are admitted to Iran’s prisons every day. It said that under the country’s penal code, Iranians could potentially be imprisoned for more than 1,640 separate offences, many of which are not considered crimes in most countries.
Drewery Dyke, Iran researcher at Amnesty International, said the courses could improve some inmates’ conditions but that prisoners of conscience may not benefit. “However much training there is, it’s not going to be allocated to the parts of prisons controlled by the intelligence services and revolutionary guards, where political prisoners are kept.


Post a Comment