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Inhumane and Atrocious Conditions at Mahabad Prison in the Midst of Coronavirus Pandemic; International Call for Temporary Release of Prisoners Until the End of Pandemic

The hygiene and health situation at Mahabad prison is horrific and the prisoners are extremely vulnerable to contracting the Coronavirus.

Since three months ago, authorities have dismantled washrooms and showers, claiming to be repairing them, leaving only four washrooms for 600 prisoners, which translates to one washroom for 150 people. Consequently, prisoners have to wait in line for hours to use the facility, resulting in kidney and digestive issues among the prisoners. As the winter approaches in the cold regions, lack of access to warm water has multiplied prisoners’ problems.

At its highest capacity, Mahabad prison can hold up to 150 prisoners. But, currently, there are four times more prisoners than the highest capacity. Prisoners have trouble to find a spot to sleep at as space is scarce. The high density and lack of the most basic sanitary and hygiene requirements have caused a number of prisoners to contract Coronavirus, but they are not receiving any care. Recently, a number of employees and personnel at the prison also contracted COVID-19.

There are no precise figures about the number of infections and deaths. But, one prisoner identified as Ahmad Alipour, who was service his fourth year in Mahabad prison, died as a result of Coronavirus infection in October 2020. Prison authorities said he died due to heart complications.

Complying with the orders of Ali Mehr, representative of the Prosecutor’s Office and supervising judge at the Mahabad prison, authorities are refusing to temporarily free the prisoners amidst the pandemic. As is the case in other prisons, the regime’s mafia-style networks are involved in buying, selling, and distributing drugs on a mass scale in Mahabad prison. This serves as a source of income for the clerical regime’s judiciary.

The Iranian Resistance once again calls on the UN Secretary General, High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, respective UN special rapporteurs, and international organizations advocating for human rights to act immediately to secure the temporary release of prisoners amidst the pandemic, and to set up a fact-finding mission to visit Iranian prisons and prisoners, especially political prisoners.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
November 2, 2020