A large number of Iranian prisoners are people who have ended up in prison because they come from the margins of society. (Supplied)

July 16, 2020

From the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, human rights groups as well as the Iranian opposition, the NCRI and the PMOI/MEK had warned of a catastrophe in Iran’s prisons.

The concern was that the officials of the religious tyranny in Iran would not only do nothing to prevent the catastrophe and the spread of the disease to the prisoners but would also turn it into a service of further repression of prisoners and the spread of death among prisoners.

In the first wave of the coronavirus in March and April 2020, when the atmosphere of public sensitivity to this pandemic was very high, and because of riots in more than 11 prisons across the country, the regime’s officials were forced to release some prisoners, mostly prisoners with ordinary crimes. After the regime’s efforts to minimize the danger of the virus in the prisons, they summoned the prisoners back to prison, thus paving the way for a catastrophe in the prisons.

On 21 April, it was reported from Urmia Prison that four sick prisoners had died because of the coronavirus, so the number of prisoners who had died because of the virus in Urmia Prison had risen to seven and that more than 100 prisoners in wards 3 and 4 of the prison were infected with the coronavirus.

On 7 June, the father of a Kurdish political prisoner, Zeinab Jalalian in Qarchak Prison of Varamin, announced that Zeinab had been transferred to the prison’s medical center on 2 June due to severe shortness of breath and that she had been diagnosed with the coronavirus virus after being examined by a doctor.

On 25 June, it was reported that four prisoners in Mahabad Prison had tested positive. In this prison, about 500 prisoners are locked in 30-person rooms and sleep very close to each other due to lack of space.

But the Coronavirus was not limited to prisons in small cities. On 2 July, the guards of the Greater Tehran Prison, fearing the spread of the coronavirus, evacuated the 2nd Ward of the Greater Tehran Prison.

Another report suggested that the coronavirus is raging in prison. In a ward with 500 inmates, 200 people were suffering from high fever and dry cough, but no one cared for them. When a prisoner reached critical condition due to coronavirus symptoms, the guards transferred him, and it was not clear what would happen to him.

On 5 July, the news of the death of two prisoners in Karaj Central Prison due to coronavirus was announced. And at least 11 prisoners were infected. Many prisoners are now infected with the virus, with symptoms of dry cough, shortness of breath, anorexia, and other symptoms. But out of fear of being transferred to quarantine and facing death, they hide their illness.

On 6 July, it was announced that in Mashhad, prisoners who had been on leave from Mashhad and Birjand prisons due to the coronavirus outbreak, returned to the prisons while infected, and the wave of the coronavirus in these prisons had risen sharply.

The next day, 7 July, a prisoner in Karaj Central Prison and a prisoner in Kamyaran Prison died because of the virus. And the coronavirus did not stop in Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. On 10 July, it was reported that the coronavirus outbreak is turning into a humanitarian catastrophe in this prison.

Reports from inside the prison indicate that the gymnasiums and libraries in the prison wards are full of patients with the coronavirus who have been abandoned due to lack of medical facilities in these areas.

The source reported that the virus was transmitted by two government clerics to the prison who came to this prison to implement a prayer ceremony and said: “Aware of being infected with the coronavirus and having a positive test, the two moved in wards and halls for eight days, and they contracted a large number of the prisoners.”

Dr. Nasser Fahimi, a political prisoner in the Greater Tehran Prison, also reported that the coronavirus crisis in the Greater Tehran Prison had become a humanitarian catastrophe.

Faezeh Abdipour, the family member of a dervish member imprisoned in the Greater Tehran Prison, wrote that the price of a mask in Tehran Prison had reached 40,000 Tomans, in a prison where the prisoners have nothing to eat.

The latest news from Zanjan Prison indicates that Narges Mohammadi and 11 other women prisoners are infected and that no one is taking care of them.

These were reports that had leaked out of the prisons, but there are many horrific and forgotten prisons in the country that have become the backyards of criminals, to use disease, poverty, and misery as a tool to crush the human beings.

INU

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.