One of the governments introducing itself as the defender of human rights is the United States of America; whereas it has got a very bad reputation for having the largest number of prisons and prisoners all over the world. Although some of the prisoners do not have notable crimes, they are still in jails.
Today human rights and women's rights have become a pretext for the big powers especially the US to pressure its opponents. This comes as violation of women's rights is carried out very widely in the US society and its prisons. The immigrant women and minorities comprise the high number of prisoners. According to reports, the US ranks first in terms of jailing minorities.
Today in US dungeons, different types of humiliating sexual abuses, rape, inquisition and intimidation of women, physical and psychological pressures, racial discrimination, use of shackles and chains and police dogs for frightening prisoners are carried out extensively. In addition, outbreak of lethal diseases like AIDS and promotion of sordid acts of homosexuality have further endangered the safety and health of prisoners. For this reason, some women who have spent part of their life in US jails try to disclose these tortures and defend women's rights.
We said that one of the instances of breaching of women's rights in US jails is sexual abuse and gender harassment. Amnesty International, in a 3 year survey studied the situation of one thousand female prisoners who were raped in 49 US states. Investigators came to the conclusion that hundreds of shameful sexual acts had been conducted against women which have never been published.
Awilda Gonzalez is the woman who had been imprisoned for 10 years in New York jail of Bedford Hills and was exposed to the jailers' sexual abuse.
She says, “The male jailors harass women under the pretext of inspection. Most of them behave female prisoners as a piece of meat or a slave.”
Awilda Gonzales has recently come out of prison. She always expresses her joy of surviving. After release from prison, Awilda realized that she has got a brain tumor due to the undesirable hygienic and remedial conditions of the prison. Now that Gonzalez has felt the evil conditions of female prisoners in the US, she works for materializing the rights of female prisoners.
Mary Barr is another woman who has several times been raped by male jailers. After her release from prison she is working for women's rights.
Marilyn Buck who had spent 8 years in US jails reveals her sufferings in jail as follows, “Let us take a glance at the conditions in cells. The male prison guards enter your cell without any reason. The daily physical inspection by male jailers causes heavy spiritual blows for female prisoners. Generally female prisoners, due to physical and spiritual pressures especially physical inspection, have become helpless and embarrassed and face nervous pressures. Fear of being contaminated by AIDS virus has made many problems for women.”
Ms. Mary Carter is a member of US academic society. Regarding the shameful condition of US jails, she says, “Now we are facing with crimes against humanity. The US is one of the few countries which permit the jailers to embark on physical inspection of female or male prisoners in a closed environment without presence of another person; the law has paved the way for different physical and sexual abuses of women.”
Sometime ago, Human Rights Watch in a report announced that the US government has violated a number of international human rights treaties due to employing men in female jails. The more regrettable is that even pregnant women in US jails are not immune from physical and spiritual tortures. In a report, the UN divulged mistreatment of women especially pregnant ones in US prisons.
Shahrzad Mirqoli Khan is an Iranian woman who has spent about 5 years of her life in US jails for hollow charges. She had been kidnapped by the US security forces in Austria and had been taken to the United States. For a long time Shahrzad was transferred to different prisons while she was unaware of her charges. The main goal of the Americans was to torture her spiritually. During her imprisonment, she has been exposed to the harshest tortures. After the case was pursued by her family and the Islamic Republic of Iran's government, Shahrzad was freed. During her imprisonment, the Iranian woman had been denied of the right of meeting her twin daughters and parents.
After returning home and meeting her family, she said, “The first 18 months were spent very hard in prison because I was physically tortured. They always chained me in a way that my skin would scale off.”
Ms. Mirqoli Khan revealed the medieval tortures in US jails and said, “At 4 a.m. I would be taken to cells with zero tempreture where I was chained and kept for 18 hours without enough food or anything. Sometimes I had so much pain that I could not bear it and I preferred death sentence.” Shahrzad added that she will lodge a complaint against Washington for illegal detention and various tortures.
The Iranian lady continued, “Whatever you see about the US from outside is a spurious image that they show to world bodies. If you go to jails and take a camera you will see that even the American citizens suffer from violation of human rights in prisons.”
The US officials, who claim defense of human rights particularly women's rights and warn other countries about rights of female prisoners, do not give a farthing to these principles for the female prisoners of their country. Shahrzad continues, “I think that the US president cares more about the dogs of his children. I can say that I sent 20 letters to Barak Obama and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton but I never received a response. Human rights have no meaning for America. I will materialize all of my violated rights. The US can not return to me the 5 years I spent at prison when my children needed me more than ever.”
What happened to Shahrzad and what take place for other female prisoners in the US is part of trampling upon women's rights and absolute neglect of human rights at US dungeons. Such evidence indicates that a country which simply claims human rights; this claiming not only does not guarantee observance of human rights but it can be a disguise for violation of such rights. The existence of several evidence and documents on neglecting of women's rights in US jails provide an opportunity for the international organizations to fulfill their duty on looking into the situation of women in US prisons.