After huge social and international pressure, Iran’s regime decided to temporarily free some of the prisoners due to the coronavirus. The world blamed the regime for its negligence and cover-up regarding the coronavirus outbreak and following the anxiety of families of prisoners for the spread of the virus in prisons.
In addition, the head of the regime’s judiciary announced 90,000 prisoners are going to be freed, but no independent source confirmed the release of that many prisoners. The riots in recent weeks in various prisons across the country showed that the regime’s claim was only a maneuver, and no political prisoner is going to be released.
The international community, organizations, civil and political activist time after time demanded the regime temporarily free the prisoners so that they don’t face the spread of the deadly virus in the prisons. However, despite the demands of the international community, the regime’s judiciary rejected the release of the political prisoners, even with the assurance of heavy bail. To the contrary, they prevented any health facilities to enter the prison.
This caused numerous riots in prisons such as in Abadan where on April 3, prison guards opened fire on prisoners that resulted in 20 deaths and some 100 injuries.
Between March 27 and March 29, similar events happened in Saqqez, Tabriz and Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz where prison guards entered the prison and attacked the prisoners.
On April 4, a witness from Ahvaz said: “This prison is like warehouses. In each of the warehouses, 1000 prisoners are guarded. All in all, some 8000 prisoners are imprisoned here.”
To force the guards to open the prison gates, the prisoners set the cells on fire, but the guards refused to do this, and a 25-year-old prisoner died due to the fire.
On March 30, seven prisoners, Mohammad Tamoli, Mohammad Lafteh, Mohammad Salamat, Ali Khafaji, Majid Zobeydi, Shahin Zoheyri and Seyedreza Khorassani (Maghinami) were shot dead by the suppressive forces and the prison guards, and many others were injured. The regime has tried to cover up this horrific crime and prevent its discloser.
On Saturday March 31, the prisoners of Sheyban Prison of Ahvaz rebelled against the regime as fear of the coronavirus spread in prisons. The IRGC forces and special prison guards attacked the prisoners and for hours, gunshots were heard from inside the facility. The eyewitnesses said when it got dark the ambulances entered the prison and with military escort, they transferred the injured.
The UN human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville voiced concern about the prisoners after reports of unrest in facilities prompted by worries over a coronavirus outbreak in a virtual briefing in Geneva on Saturday, April 4.
“As you see in Iran and some other countries, we are seeing riots, prisoners who are afraid, who are distressed at the big loss of contact from family members and so on. So there are many, many issues surrounding this,” Colville said.
“We are horrified at the death of a juvenile offender after he was reportedly badly beaten by security officers,” Colville added. “Prisoners were protesting at prison conditions and the failure of the authorities to temporarily release them amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to prisoners of Evin Prison, the prison officials have taken no effective measures or assistance to prevent the coronavirus spread in prisons. There are no face masks or disinfectant gels, and some prison cells are disinfected only one time.
There are sad reports about the coronavirus outbreak in various prisons in the country such as Fashafouyeh Prison of Tehran, Gohardasht, Ghezelhesar and Central prison of Karaj but also in Urmia, Ahvaz (Sheyban prison) and Kashan.
“In the Islamic Republic, we have no real political prisoners,” said Gholamhossein Esmayili, spokesperson of the regime’s judiciary, who tried to disavow the issue of the political prisoners when he was confronted with a question about the murder of Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali in Fashafouyeh prison. The regime also keeps the political prisoners in the ordinary criminals’ ward.
Esmayili labeled the political prisoners as terrorists and foreign spies and called them “security criminals” and “sad examples.”
“They acted against our national security and are condemned to more than five years, and we cannot give them furlough,” Esmayilli said, while trying to prepare the ground for the prisoners’ massacre.
In fear of another riot, the regime handed over the security of Tehran’s Fashafouyeh prison to the IRGC forces.
The regime has never tried to help the people or free the political prisoners but uses the current situation to destroy its dissidents in prison with coronavirus or by suppression and strike a blow to the public’s potential to rise up and overthrow the regime. The regime tries to reinforce the IRGC for the Iranian people’s suppression while most of the regime’s 2020 budget is reserved for its suppressive institutions.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance urged the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and other relative international bodies to take immediate action to compel the regime to disclose the whereabouts and conditions of the detainees and wounded prisoners who have disappeared. She also called on the prisoners’ families, relatives and friends to follow up on the conditions of the captives and persevere until they are released unconditionally. The clerical regime must free all of them and this is the only way to save them from Coronavirus.
I urge the UN High Commissioner for #HumanRights and the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in #Iran to compel the regime to announce the whereabouts and conditions of the detainees and wounded prisoners who have disappeared #COVID19
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) April 2, 2020