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As Coronavirus Claims More Lives in Iran, Regime Kills Prisoners Who Demand to Be Released

Escape from Iran's regime prisons due the coronavirus outbreak
Escape from Iran’s regime prisons due the coronavirus outbreak

The Iranian regime’s oppressive forces at Sepidar and Shaiban prisons in southwest Iran have shot and killed at least seven prisoners who were protesting the regime’s inaction and leaving the prisoners vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. This happened while the coronavirus death toll continues to rise. 

There have numerous protests at different prisons across Iran against the regime’s cover-up and inaction and keeping the prisoners in highly populated prisons amid the coronavirus outbreak in Iran that has so far claimed lives of over 16,100 people, according to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) 

According to the reports published by the MEK, there have been at least 1riots in 12 days in Iranian prisons.  

These reports confirm for instance that inmates of Sheyban Prison in the city of Ahvaz, located in Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran, launched a riot on Tuesday, March 31. Similarly, inmates of wards 12 and 15 in Tabriz Central Prison, located in northwest Iran, launched a protest rally on Monday night local time, March 30. In addition, prisoners in Adel Abad Prison of Shiraz, in south-central Iran, launched a riot on Sunday night local time, March 29.   

On Saturday night, March 28, prisoners in the Mahabad Central Prison rebelled and fled in protest to the regime’s mismanagement and incapability to control the coronavirus. On the same day, inmates at the Alvand Prison rebelled, and some managed to escape. Simultaneously, On Saturday, prisoners of Alvand Prison in Hamedan protested the regime’s refusal to release them in the wake of the spread of the Coronavirus, and some managed to escape. Earlier on Friday, March 27, prisoners in the Saqqez Prison in Kurdistan province rebelled in protest to the mullahs’ refusal to release them amid the Coronavirus outbreak. The regime’s suppressive forces in all prisons, particularly the Revolutionary Guards forces, opened fire on prisoners killing and wounding dozens of them. 

In addition, again on Saturday, March 28, 2020, prisoners of Alvand Prison in Hamedan protested against the regime’s refusal to release them in the wake of the spread of the Coronavirus, and some managed to escape. 

In this regard, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly warned of a major catastrophe and a crime against humanity in Iranian prisons. To prevent the collective loss of lives, she called for urgent action by the United Nations Secretary-General, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Union to undertake an effort to secure the release of all prisoners, especially political prisoners. 

As the coronavirus continues to ravage Iranian people’s lives, the regime has refused to release prisoners. The regime’s judiciary announced earlier in March that it had released around 85,000 prisoners. Yet, no independent organization has confirmed that, and not even a single Iranian political prisoner was among those released. During the Iran protests in November, over 12,000 people were arrested but all of them have been kept in prisons. The regime’s judiciary recently sentenced Mr. Hashem Khastar, a teachers’ rights activist, to 16 years in prison, along with three other activists: Mr. Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, Mr. Mohammad Nourizad, and Ms. Fatemeh Sepehri

Mrs. Rajavi condemned these criminal verdicts, especially at a time when all prisoners should immediately be released because of the Coronavirus pandemic. She emphasized: “This is a prime example of the brutality of the Supreme Leader and his Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi.” Mrs. Rajavi called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran to intervene for the release of these prisoners who are at the risk of losing their lives due to the Corona outbreak in prisons. Mrs. Rajavi added: “These prisoners had committed no offense other than expressing their opinion. Hashem Khastar is a teacher who is being penalized for what he says and writes.” 

Parallel to its increasing oppressive measures and deadly cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, the regime has been promoting a rather criminal narrative that the United States’ sanctions, which by the way are not related to medication and humanitarian aid to Iran, are the reason behind the coronavirus outbreak in Iran and its high mortality rate. So, if the regime really cares about peoples’ lives and the U.S. sanctions prevent it from helping them, why has it not released all the prisoners and instead kills them in cold blood? Why does the regime issue lengthy harsh sentences for the activists, while it should release all prisoners? And why has it rejected the U.S. offer of help and expelled the Doctors Without Borders from Iran? 

On Friday, shocking images of 20year-old Danial Zeinol-Abedini, who was killed under torture in a western Iran prison for demanding to be released in fear of being infected by the coronavirus, were circulated online.  

The regime is unable to decrease its oppression or release the prisoners, because oppression is one of the regime’s pillars of existence. The regime’s criminal cover-up and downplaying of the coronavirus outbreak should also be seen in this frame.   

Asra-Ara think-tank, which belongs to the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, in an exclusive report on March 14 wrote: “With a severe shortage of goods and commodities, there is a possibility of a rebellion. But whether there will be national uprisings against the regime, the extent of the people’s resilience to the crisis should be mentioned. Crossing the line of resilience and the lack of a centralized crisis management mechanism can turn local and regional uprisings into nationwide uprisings. Linking the corona crisis in Iran with past developments, including November 2019, creates a rebellion process.”  

This once again confirms that the regime is the root of all the crisis in Iran, and a durable solution to all crises in Iran is regime change by the Iranian people and their organized resistance.