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Iran’s Regime Approach Toward Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Epidemic

Iran’s Regime Approach Toward Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Epidemic
One of the Iranian regime’s prison in Tehran

The name of another prisoner killed by the Iranian regime’s security forces during riots in Ahvaz prisons has been identified. The regime’s killing of prisoners who were rightfully protesting to be released among the coronavirus pandemic reveals the regime’s true and inhumane nature.  

Since the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, the Iranian regime has been pursuing a dual-track policy. In Iran, via cover-up and inaction and now forcing people back to work amid the coronavirus outbreakit uses the coronavirus as a lever of oppression. Outside Iran, the mullahs and their apologists shed crocodile tears for the Iranian people and depict U.S. sanctions as the reason for the COVID-19 high mortality rate.  

The handling of the coronavirus outbreak in prisons by the regime alone debunks the regime’s bogus claims that it has done everything to helpeople and that “sanctions” are hindering the mullahs’ “wholehearted” help.   

Regime’s approach towards the prisoners rejects such claims. Some of the relevant events 

  1. The Iranian regime executed Mostafa Salimi, a prisoner who had escaped during the Saqqez prison rebellion, on April 11. 
  2. There have been at least 13 riots by prisoners across Iran.  
  3. On March 30 and 31, during the prisoners’ riots in southwest Iran, the regime brutally attacked prisoners and their family members. Security forces responded to the coronavirus-related rioting late March by firing live ammunition and tear gas. According to prisoners’ relatives, dozens of prisoners were suffocated with teargas or burned to death during a prison riot over conditions, amid an outbreak of Covid-19. 
  4. Amnesty International said it feared around 36 prisoners have been killed by Iranian regime enforcers attempting to suppress uprisings in at least eight prisons around the country. 

 On April 15, 2020, Shahin Gobadi, member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “According to various reports from various prisons throughout Iran, namely through eyewitnesses, relatives of the prisoners, or internal reports of the Iranian regime obtained by the network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, inside the country, an alarming number of prisoners in Iran have been infected by the coronavirus in prisons like Evin Prison and Fashafouye prison, in the Greater Tehran prison.”  

Q&A with Shahin Ghobadi from Iran NCRI-FAC -15 April 2020

In a webinar on April 14Mr. Gobadi along with a former political prisoner who recently left Iran elaborated on how Iranian authorities have covered up the real death toll and information about the spread of the coronavirus inside prisons.  

“So critical is the situation in prisons that based on reliable and eyewitness reports, there were rebellions in at least eight prisons in protest against the virus spread and lack of minimum hygienic needs as well as the refusal to release the prisoners,” said Mr. Gobadi  

“I spent months in a 6-meter solitary confinement cell that lacked the least sanitation. First days, whenever I was taken for a long interrogation out of a 6-meter cell with a dirty carpet and a water tap that was always dripping, I didn’t know what fate awaited me. We could not see guards and corridors because wearing blindfold was a strict law. No cleaning material was available. The filthiness of the bathroom and toilet was devastating. I was deprived of the least open air of the yard during my detention,” said the political prisoner.  

“Prisoner patients who have tested positive for covid-19 are deliberately transferred to rooms where political prisoners are being held, both to instill fear and to keep the silent massacre policy going,” he added.  

In other words, this information shows how the Iranian regime and its apologists are criminally using the coronavirus outbreak as both a lever of pressure on the international community to lift sanctions and oppression to control the restive Iranian society.  

The regime desperately needs the sanctions to be lifted so it could continue its funding of terrorism and export of chaos.  Based on reports obtained by MEK sources from within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Quds Force is continuing to transfer cash to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Part of the money is sent in the form of special packages and suitcases carried by the Quds Force’s Intelligence Protection Officers in flights from Tehran to Lebanon. This action has resulted in the spread of the virus to Lebanon.  

For this reason, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s president-elect, has said: Today, regime change in Iran is indispensable not only to freedom and democracy in #Iran but also to the health of each and every individual in Iran and to the protection of their houses, cities and villages against natural disasters.”