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IHR Concerned Amid Reports of Coronavirus Deaths in Iranian Prisons

30 Mar 20
IHR Concerned Amid Reports of Coronavirus Deaths in Iranian Prisons


Iran Human Rights (IHR); March 30, 2020: At least 9 people have died so far in Iranian prisons after infecting with the Novel Coronavirus. Given the overcrowding of Iranian prisons, lack of proper medical and foodservice, more prisoners’ lives are in danger. Iranian authorities have announced that they have granted furlough to close to 100.000 prisoners in an emergency move to stop the spread of the coronavirus, reported Iranian Judiciary’s official website. However, still, thousands of prisoners are still in danger. This includes several human rights defenders who are sentenced to long term prisons, including Atena Daemi, Narges Mohammadi, Amirsalar Davoudi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Sadeghi and many more.

IHR is strongly concerned about the health of Iranian prisoners and calls for the unconditional release of prisoners of conscience and special measures to counter the spread of the disease in the prisons. 

According to IHR sources, there are several cases of Coronavirus infected people in several Iranian prisons.
“14 people In Urmia prison (West Azerbaijan province) have been infected by the Coronavirus. Two, including Hassan Javani who was jailed for drug-related crimes, are dead», a well-informed source told IHR.
HRANA website has also reported 9 deaths in Urmia prison and two other prisons located in Tehran province, namely Qarchak prison and Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (known as Fashafuyeh prison.
A prisoner currently held in the Rajai-Shahr prison, Karaj city, told IHR: “Authorities tell us no one is infected with Coronavirus. However, they called wealthy prisoners a few days ago and asked for a donation for buying temporary shelters to make a quarantine area in the yard of the prison to keep those who are infected with Coronavirus.” The prisoner has also told IHR that the special security forces are added to prison guards due to the possibility of riots.
Local sources from the northern Iranian city of Rasht told IHR that some of the city’s central prison (known as Lakan prison) detainees were transferred to a medical center for the treatment of COVID-19 a few days ago and “have not been returned to prison yet.”

Riots in Iranian prisons

There were riots in several Iranian prisons in the past few weeks. In Saqqez prison, Kurdistan province, several prisoners managed to escape from the jail on March 27. One of them has reportedly been shot dead by prison guards. The incident was initially denied by the Iranian officials but hours later, Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency confirmed the escape of 74 prisoners which resulted in the arrest of 10 prisoners. 
Another riot took place on March 26 at Tabriz prison and was repressed by the prison guards with the help of security forces. 
Riot has also happened in Khorramabad prison, Lorestan province and gunshots were heard by the locals. Citizen-reporters reported the escape of 23 people from the prison on March 19, 2020.
In the most recent incident, a riot in Shiraz city’s Adel-Abad prison was reported. Social media users have published several videos showing the special forces raid the prison.
All of the riots were initiated over the concern of mismanagement of COVID-19 spread in the prisons.