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Amnesty International Condemns Iran’s Regime for Killing Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Amnesty International Condemns Iran’s Regime for Killing Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Amnesty International Condemns Iran’s Regime for Killing Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

“Around 36 prisoners in Iran are feared to have been killed by security forces after the use of lethal force to control protests over COVID-19 safety fears,” wrote Amnesty International in a report published on April 9. 

“In recent days, thousands of prisoners in at least eight prisons around the country have staged protests over fears of contracting the coronavirus, sparking deadly responses from prison officers and security forces,” Amnesty added.  

Since the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, the Iranian regime has refused to release prisoners, along with its criminal cover-up and inaction. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK) announced on Thursday that over 23,100 have lost their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran.  Yet, the regime has refused to quarantine cities, and most importantly has left prisoners as the most vulnerable sector of society to the coronavirus defenseless in facing coronavirus. This has resulted in various riots by prisoners across Iran.  

Instead of helping prisoners or releasing them, the regime resorted to brutal suppression. In this regard Amnesty International wrote: “In several prisons, live ammunition and tear gas were used to suppress protests, killing around 35 prisoners and injuring hundreds of others, according to credible sources. In at least one prison, security forces beat those taking part in the protest action, possibly leading to the death of an inmate.” 

“It is abhorrent that instead of responding to prisoners’ legitimate demands to be protected from COVID-19, Iranian authorities have yet again resorted to killing people to silence their concerns,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director of Middle East and North Africa. 

In another part of its report, Amnesty International wrote: “Independent media and human rights organizations have reported that inmates from several prisons have tested positive for the virus. Consequently, many prisoners have staged hunger strikes in protest at the authorities’ failure to respond to their demands for releases, testing in prisons, provision of adequate sanitary products and facilities, and the quarantining of prisoners suspected of infection.  

“On 30 March and 31 March, according to independent sources including prisoners’ families, security forces used excessive force to quell protests in Sepidar prison and Sheiban prison in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan province. The head of the police force in Khuzestan province admitted that members of the Revolutionary Guards and the paramilitary Basij force suppressed the protests after some inmates set rubbish bins on fire,” the report added.  

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly warned of crimes against humanity being perpetrated in the regime’s prisons and urged the United Nation’s Secretary-General, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the European Union to take immediate action to save the lives of the prisoners. She also called for the release of all prisoners, especially political prisoners. 

While the Iranian regime, through its apologists and lobbyists, depicts U.S. sanctions to be responsible for the coronavirus outbreak and its high fatality rate, killing prisoners and avoiding their immediate release debunks the regime’s claim of its willingness of helping Iranian people. It shows that as long as the mullahs are in power the coronavirus pandemic along with other crisis will continue claiming lives, since the regime pays no attention to the people’s lives and gives priority to terrorism abroad, such as funding terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen, and increasing oppression domesticallyIn addition, due to the regime’s institutionalized corruption, with its officials, particularly the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) members and commanders and the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, controlling billions of dollars yet continuing plundering national wealth, the regime is unable to help the Iranian people.  

Khamenei made no reference to the countless Coronavirus victims in his 45-minute speech on Thursday, nor did he offer condolences to the grieving people, or mention the severe problems the people are facing, or make any promises to contribute any aid from the hundreds of billions of dollars of the plundered wealth of the Iranian people by financial cartels under his control. 

“This is a minor issue compared to many other problems; we have seen many problems in the world and in our own country that were not any less problematic…We should not be negligent of the conspiracies of our enemies and foes, … Let no one think that we will not have any enemies if we end our hostilities. They cannot accept, comprehend, and tolerate the Islamic Republic,” he said.  

In this regard, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: Once again, Khamenei demonstrated the clerical regime’s deadly impasse and his regime’s disregard for people’s lives. He made it clear that he is only concerned with preserving the ruling theocracy. As always, Khamenei sought to divert people’s attention from the regime’s crimes in the Coronavirus disaster by invoking claims about the existence of enemies and foes conspiracies. This is while 80 million Iranians are living under the pressure and repression of the mullahs’ regime.