On March 20, 2020, prisoners at the Aligudarz Central Prison, who were in danger of being exposed to the Coronavirus, rebelled and disarmed some of the prison officials, and tried to escape. In a similar development on March 19, 2020, prisoners at the Parsilon Prison in Khorramabad, Lorestan province, who were at risk of being infected by the coronavirus infection, rebelled, disarmed the guards, and collectively escaped.
Rebellion in Aligodarz and Khorramabad Prisons, Several Prisoners Killed#Coronavirus in prisons, call on the international community to release hundreds of thousands of inmates to prevent a major catastrophe #Covid_19 https://t.co/3uTvGBRtNA
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 21, 2020
Despite repeated domestic and international calls for the release of the prisoners, especially political prisoners, the Iranian regime is refusing to do so.
According to reports published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has so far claimed lives of nearly 11,000 people in over 212 cities, the regime has not only failed in quarantining cities, it has further neglected quarantining prisons, causing the virus to rapidly spread across highly populated Iranian prisons. On the other hand, the regime has long delayed releasing prisoners.
Iran: #Coronavirus Fatalities Exceed 10,500 in 212 Cities
The number of victims in Isfahan province exceeds 1,262, Kashan 500, Khorasan Razavi 872, Zanjan 83, Ardebil 160, Golestan 536, Khuzestan 369, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad 41, and Semnan 40 #COVIDー19https://t.co/ds5QFmKTW6
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 23, 2020
Fox News published an interview with an Iranian prisoner, obtained via the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), last week. The prisoner, called Meqdad said: “The situation here is that really we’re all ill, we are all having dry cough. We have a fever. There is no test kit for coronavirus or any test kits available. All we can do is try to reach the clinic by pushing and shoving,” he said. “And once there, the guards tell us there is no doctor or that the doctor is not coming, return to your ward or we will use force. If by chance, we happen to find a doctor, all they do is to aim their digital thermometer at us, without even approaching us.”
“Only the prisoners who spy on other prisoners were given a furlough and their number does not exceed 10 people. The rest stay here in prisons on different pretexts,’ he continued. ‘It seems that those whom the regime was unable to kill during November uprisings are being liquidated in the prison by coronavirus. They can eliminate whoever they choose, under the guise that the prisoner has contracted coronavirus, and the prisoner is taken away without anyone knowing about his whereabouts,” Meqdad added.
The regime engulfed with crisis has been using the coronavirus crisis to oppress the Iranian people and avoid another public protest. Yet its inaction and cover-up, which has resulted in an astronomic rise in the death toll, will eventually lead to an uprising. Asra, a think-tank close to the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, wrote: “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.”
So, the regime’s refusal to release prisoners, especially political prisoners, is intentional, and if it is not prevented, it will result in a humanitarian catastrophe.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has said: “Refusing to release the prisoners under the circumstances is a major crime against humanity, for which Khamenei and other regime leaders are directly responsible.” She has called on the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner, the Human Rights Council, and the European Union and its member states to take urgent action to save the lives of prisoners. Mrs. Rajavi said: “A global intervention is more important than ever to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Numerous reports indicate #Coronavirus has spread to #Iran prisons. I urge the UN Secretary General, the High Commissioner for #HumanRights, and other relevant agencies to take urgent action to save the lives of Iranian prisoners and prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 2, 2020